Peppermint grows to about 3 feet tall, forming purple blossoms among green foliage. This perennial plant contains aromatic oil that has menthol. Peppermint extract is the oil extracted from the leaves of flowering peppermint plants. While this extract serves as an additive to flavor candies and other types of edible items, it also provides some useful health benefits. Some early cultures, including the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, used peppermint remedies for a variety of conditions.
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According to Harvard University, the menthol in peppermint extract inhibits nerves that react to painful stimuli. As a product in cough lozenges, this ingredient may help reduce discomfort from sore throats caused by coughing. In massage oils and muscle creams, peppermint may temporarily help to reduce the pain in aching muscles. Applied to your temples, this extract may cool the skin and soothe tight cranial muscles, helping to reduce the pain and discomfort of headaches.
Calms Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Peppermint may help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, a condition affecting the lower digestive system. This ingredient may help to ease diarrhea, constipation, bloating and abdominal cramping and pain.
The strong aroma of peppermint extract may help cover the odor of bad breath, also known as halitosis. Its antimicrobial property may also help reduce the germs that can lead to bad breath. Sucking on a peppermint candy can also help reduce the unpleasant taste in your mouth that often accompanies halitosis.
Increase Your Consumption of Antioxidants
According to Cornell University, peppermint oil contains more antioxidants than many nutritious foods, such as vegetables, cereals and fruits. Eating antioxidants may help reduce the number of free radicals in your body, harmful elements that form when your body digests food.
Ease Stomach Upset
Cornell University advises that consuming peppermint may calm stomach upset caused by stress, such as exam nerves. Drinking a tea that contains peppermint extract or sucking on a peppermint candy may help reduce feelings of nausea and abdominal stress.