Peppermint Tea: Is It Good for You?

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.

Nutrition Information

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. 

Continued

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:

Heartburn

Peppermint can help with digestion and stomach pain but can worsen acid reflux. If you experience indigestion due to gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD you should avoid peppermint. 

Medication Interactions

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.

Kidney Stones

Peppermint may help to promote good kidney function, but it’s not recommended for people who have kidney stones.

Pregnancy Concerns

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. 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 25, 2020

Sources

SOURCES: 

American Family Physician: “Peppermint Oil.

American Journal of Physiology: “ON THE INHIBITION OF GASTRIC SECRETION BY OIL OF PEPPERMINT.”

Archives of Clinical Microbiology: “Peppermint and Its Functionality: A Review.”

Continuing Medical Education: “Peppermint oil in the acute treatment of tension-type headache.”

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: “Peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis.”

Journal of International Society of Preventative Community Dentistry: “Essential oils, their therapeutic properties, and implication in dentistry: A review.”

Medeniyet Medical Journal: “Frequently Used Herbal Teas During Pregnancy – Short Update.”

Phytomedicine: Essential plant oils and headache mechanisms.”

Phytotherapy Research: “A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.).”

Przeglad Gastroenterologiczny: “Risk factors for gastroesophageal reflux disease: the role of diet.”

The World's Healthiest Foods: “Peppermint.”

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Effects and Safety of Menthol on Blood Pressure and Metabolic Parameters in Prehypertensive and Mild Hypertensive Patients (ESMAB).”

Nabavi, S. M., Suntar, I., Barreca, D., & Khan, H. Phytonutrients in Food: From Traditional to Rational Usage, Woodhead Publishing, 2020.

USDA FoodData Central: “Peppermint, fresh.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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