Peppermint is known for its minty flavor. It has been used in many medicinal applications for centuries for its therapeutic uses. Its most popular use is as tea. Peppermint tea is a calorie-free herbal tea with a refreshing taste. This herbal beverage is said to possess antioxidant, antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and analgesic properties. The tea may help relieve headaches, improve digestive health, aid weight loss, and freshen your breath. Since this infusion is natural and caffeine-free, physicians have been recommending it for a long time.
In this article, we will discuss the health benefits, preparation methods, and potential side effects of peppermint tea. Keep reading.
Table Of Contents
What Are The Benefits Of Peppermint Tea?
1. May Improve Digestion
Peppermint oil has been used to cure various digestive issues such as gas, heartburn, bloating, and indigestion. It is a natural carminative. It relaxes the abdominal muscles. Menthol, a bioactive component in peppermint, may soothe the colon muscles. It may induce a spasmolytic effect on the colon muscles and promote digestive health (1). A study conducted by Tufts University found that peppermint may relieve digestive symptoms such as indigestion, gas, and bloating. In another animal study, peppermint was found to relax the digestive system and ease the pain. Peppermint can also keep the smooth muscles in your gut from contracting. This may help relieve abdominal spasms (2), (3).
Similarly, peppermint tea may have a laxative effect and may help relieve digestive issues such as stomach upset, indigestion, gas, and bloating. Peppermint has carminative and antispasmodic properties. It may help relieve flatulence and abdominal spasms (4). However, more research is needed to further understand this particular benefit of peppermint tea.
2. May Help Relieve Tension Headaches And Migraines
Peppermint tea may help relieve tension headaches and migraines. The menthol in peppermint acts as a relaxant and an analgesic. Animal studies show that the tea may have analgesic (pain-relieving) and anesthetic effects on the central and peripheral nervous system (2). The tea may relieve the strain on the blood vessels in the brain. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the aroma of peppermint tea may offer relaxation and ease headaches. However, there is no supporting scientific data to prove this claim.
3. May Freshen Your Breath
Peppermint has antibacterial properties that kill plaque-causing germs and may improve your breath (5), (6). The herb may prevent the development of oral bacteria that cause bad breath. Peppermint is also known to freshen one’s breath (7). Peppermint is often used as a flavoring agent in many types of mouthwashes and toothpaste due to its pleasant taste and smell (8). The menthol in the peppermint leaves may play a role in this regard.
4. May Relieve Nasal congestion
A study investigated the effects of seven peppermint tea extracts against a respiratory tract pathogen (Chlamydia pneumoniae). The study states that the consumption of peppermint tea can potentially help treat acute respiratory tract infections (9). All the seven tea extracts inhibited the growth of the pathogen.
Consumption of peppermint tea may prevent chlamydial infections. There is limited scientific evidence to prove that drinking peppermint tea can help unclog sinuses. But anecdotal evidence suggests that a warm beverage containing menthol, such as peppermint tea, may help ease one’s breathing.
Peppermint has many anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral effects. Hence, the tea may fight against clogged sinuses caused due to common cold and allergies (10).
A study conducted by University College, Cardiff, found that L-menthol, one of the active compounds in peppermint, improves the sensation of airflow in your nasal cavity (11).
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the vapors of peppermint tea may improve the symptoms of sinus congestion. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove this claim.
5. May Improve Energy Levels
Peppermint contains antioxidants and phenols that can protect the body from free radicals (12). Peppermint tea may improve energy levels and reduce daytime fatigue. While there are no studies on peppermint tea in this regard, research demonstrates that natural compounds in peppermint may have beneficial effects on energy. In a study, 24 individuals given peppermint oil capsules showed less fatigue during a cognitive test (13).
Some anecdotal evidence also suggests that peppermint tea may boost physical energy levels.
However, more long-term studies are required to understand this benefit of peppermint tea.
6. May Help Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Peppermint is said to possess antispasmodic effects that help in relieving menstrual cramps. Drinking peppermint tea may reduce the intensity and duration of menstrual cramps, as the herb is known to have analgesic properties (2).
The compounds in peppermint may act as muscle relaxants. They work on the constricted muscles in the uterus and alleviate cramps. In a study, 127 women with menstrual cramps experienced reduced intensity and duration of pain after taking peppermint extract capsules (14). However, more research is required to understand this benefit.
7. May Have Antibacterial Properties
Peppermint effectively fights several types of bacteria, thanks to its antimicrobial properties (2). A study conducted by the Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa, found that menthol also demonstrated antibacterial activity (15).
Some studies suggest that peppermint has the ability to minimize oral bacterial infections by fighting against the corresponding pathogens (5).
8. May Improve Your Sleep
Peppermint tea is a caffeine-free beverage. Hence, taking it before bedtime may help you relax (3). It could be the ideal choice before sleep for those with sleep disorders. It could act as a muscle relaxant and help you relax. However, there is limited research to support this point.
9. May Aid Weight Loss
Peppermint tea is a calorie-free beverage that may help satisfy your sweet tooth. Taking it in place of other high-calorie beverages can also help with weight management. Peppermint is also one of the herbs used in various weight loss formulations (16). However, more research is needed to understand the weight loss effects of peppermint tea.
10. May Help Treat Seasonal Allergies
Peppermint contains rosmarinic acid, a phenolic compound that may exhibit biological activities. However, evidence on the efficacy of peppermint tea against allergy symptoms is limited. Rosmarinic acid is linked to reduced symptoms of allergic reactions, such as itchy eyes, runny nose, and asthma (17), (18), (19). In one study conducted on 29 people with seasonal allergies, those given an oral supplement containing rosmarinic acid had fewer symptoms of an itchy nose and itchy eyes (20).
Another study conducted by the Okayama University, Japan, on rats found that peppermint extract reduced allergic symptoms such as sneezing and nasal irritation (21).
11. May Improve Skin Health
The cooling effect of menthol may have a beneficial effect on oily and pimple-prone skin. Menthol, the basic element in peppermint leaves, lowers the secretion of oils from the sebaceous glands. This, in turn, may help clear your skin and reduce breakouts.
The antioxidants in the tea may also help in clearing skin pores. However, more studies in this line are needed to reach further conclusions.
12. May Improve Concentration
Anecdotal evidence suggests that peppermint tea may help increase alertness, memory, and concentration. Drinking peppermint tea may help improve one’s ability to concentrate and focus. Limited research is available in this regard, however.
These are the potential benefits of peppermint tea. In the following section, we will take a look at how to prepare the tea.
How Do You Make The Best Peppermint Tea?
You can make this herbal tea with fresh or dried peppermint leaves. Let’s take a look at the procedure in detail:
You will need
- 2 cups of water
- Handful of peppermint leaves
- Honey (for taste)
- Boil two cups of water.
- Add a handful of peppermint leaves after turning off the heat.
- Cover and steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain the tea and add honey as required.
You can also prepare peppermint tea with the tea bags available in many grocery and health stores.
How Many Cups Of Peppermint Tea Can You Drink In A Day?
Peppermint tea has zero calories and is free of caffeine. Hence, you can have 4 to 5 cups of the tea on a regular basis. You can consume the tea at any time of the day. Enjoy it as a post-meal treat to aid digestion, in the afternoon to boost your energy, or before bed to help you relax.
However, adding flavoring agents such as sugar, honey, and lemon may increase the tea’s calorific value. You may want to be wary of that.
Though peppermint tea is generally safe for consumption, it also may have some side effects. We will explore them in the following section.
What Are The Side Effects Of Peppermint Tea?
Intake of peppermint tea is generally considered safe. However, some may experience allergies, heartburn, and drug interactions following its intake.
Excess consumption of this herbal tea may also cause some toxic effects. In male rats, a high intake of peppermint tea was found to compromise reproductive function (22). Other allergies caused by peppermint included contact dermatitis and asthma (23). People who are allergic to any form of peppermint should avoid the intake of this herbal beverage. Individuals who are on Warfarin treatment should be cautious. A study showed that peppermint tea could interact with Warfarin (24).
Peppermint tea has no calories. This caffeine-free tea has medicinal properties that may benefit your health in several ways. It is said to help relieve headache, improve digestive health, aid weight loss, and freshen your breath.
While more research is still warranted, you can start taking the tea on a regular basis. Bear in mind the side effects of the tea, however.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Does peppermint tea make you urinate more?
There is no scientific evidence that peppermint tea, specifically, is a diuretic. However, excess intake of beverages can cause frequent urination.
Are mint tea and peppermint tea the same?
Yes. Mint tea is prepared from the leaves of peppermint. Both are the same.
Is peppermint tea good for kidneys?
Some anecdotal evidence suggests that drinking herbal teas in moderate amounts may reduce the risk of kidney stones. However, there is research in this regard.
Can you drink peppermint tea while you are pregnant?
Though there are no known side effects, consult your doctor before taking peppermint tea during this period.
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