Peppermint is a staple of modern life. The herb’s signature minty taste adds flavor to breath mints, candies, and toothpaste. Dried or fresh leaves steeped in water make caffeine-free peppermint tea that’s widely consumed all over the world.
Native to the Middle East and Europe, peppermint is now cultivated around the world. Ancient civilizations like the Greeks and Egyptians used peppermint as medicine. Chewing peppermint leaves is a Persian folk remedy for toothaches. In India, herbal mixtures containing peppermint treat indigestion, coughs, colds, and other ailments.
Peppermint tea is still used for medicinal purposes today. Every cup of peppermint tea gives you a range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Two tablespoons of fresh peppermint contain:
- Calories: 2.52
- Protein: 0.12 grams
- Fat: 0.03 grams
- Carbohydrates: 0.48 grams
- Fiber: 0.26 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
Peppermint is a good source of:
Peppermint also contains several antioxidants called flavonoids. These antioxidants work to protect your body from cell damage caused by free radicals, which may lower your risk of premature aging and chronic diseases.
Potential Health Benefits of Peppermint Tea
Essential oils are released when you steep peppermint leaves in hot water. This process is what gives the herbal tea its refreshing flavor and potential health benefits.
These essential oils are also antiviral and antimicrobial, which can benefit your immune system and help your body fight infection.
Additional health benefits from drinking peppermint tea may include:
Improved Digestive Function
Peppermint has been used for centuries as a remedy for digestive issues like nausea, gas, and bloating. There’s a lack of research specific to peppermint tea leaves, but studies have found that peppermint oil improves the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Studies also show that peppermint has a relaxation effect on the gastrointestinal system, which can help relieve cramps and menstrual pain.
Cold and Allergy Symptoms Relief
Menthol, one of the essential oils in peppermint leaves, is known as an effective decongestant. It can help to relieve stuffy noses, coughs, and sore throats caused by colds or allergies.
Potential Risks of Peppermint Tea
The menthol in peppermint can cause adverse side effects in large amounts. While it’s difficult to consume too much menthol by drinking peppermint tea, it’s not recommended for people with certain health conditions.
Before adding peppermint tea to your diet, talk to your doctor about these considerations:
Peppermint may interact with certain medications. It should not be taken with cyclosporine, a drug taken by organ transplant patients. It may also reduce the effect of medications metabolized in the liver or drugs that reduce stomach acid.
Some studies show that peppermint may lower your blood sugar and blood pressure as well, so it’s not recommended for people taking medication for diabetes or blood pressure issues.
Research has not found any harmful effects from pregnant women drinking peppermint tea. This has not been well-studied, however, so speak to your doctor before drinking the herbal beverage while pregnant.