When the first snowflakes of the season begin to fall, most of us are filled with a sense of holiday cheer and anticipation for what the new year will bring. Not only do our calendars fill up with festivities and time with friends, but most of us also fill shopping bags and dinner plates, doing our best to avoid the stress that comes along with the cookies and eggnog. One of the best ways to save your sanity (and keep your digestive tract happy) is with peppermint. Not only does the scent of this aromatic plant improve memory and alertness, but its benefits also will bring peace to your days and joy to your spirit.
Peppermint is an underrated remedy for a number of ailments. While it’s believed to have calming effects, it is also used to treat menstrual pains, depression-related anxiety, muscle and nerve pain, the common cold, indigestion, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.
Here are some of our favorite peppermint-infused products to enjoy as you de-stress and reassess this holiday season.
Along with a pleasant aroma, Alvita peppermint tea has a delightfully zesty flavor and is made with premium-quality, organic peppermint leaves. Peppermint tea can improve alertness and focus while reducing anxiety. Studies have shown that peppermint can kill bacteria and viruses (the menthol in peppermint also thins out mucus and phlegm), providing relief from colds, coughs and the flu.
As an energy-boosting essential oil, peppermint is most often used aromatically and topically to address health problems such as digestive discomfort and seasonal allergies. It’s a natural painkiller and muscle relaxant, helping to reduce tension headaches, as well. We like this one from Aura Cacia — place a few drops on a cotton ball and inhale for your olfactory nerves in the nostrils to send messages to the brain. Dilute with water before applying directly to the skin.
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While consuming fresh mint leaves is a great option, they also can be applied topically. Peppermint herb is used to treat skin issues such as poison oak and poison ivy. When applied, the mint’s medicinal qualities help soothe and heal. When ingested, mint has a calming effect on the stomach muscles. The associated increased bile production is critical for fat digestion. Most grocery stores will carry mint plants in the produce section, along with the herbs (or shop your local garden center).
Not only does mint toothpaste freshen your breath, but its high levels of vitamins A, C, B6, folate and riboflavin can help fortify bone mass. Its minerals strengthen bone density in your teeth, jaw and skeletal system while keeping your gums healthy, too. While the amount of mint in this toothpaste may not have the same impact as eating a mint leaf, if you’re going to fully embrace a minty mouth, this is a must-have.