Today we are talking about mint tea, a tea that, with its fresh and fascinating scent, speaks of distant and exotic lands. But peppermint tea is also a healthy drink, let’s speak about its properties on the basis of scientific research.
Peppermint tea, properties
Mint leaves, scientific name Mentha piperita, are rich in essential oils and antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer and antiviral substances such as rosmarinic acid, luteolin and hesperidin. By infusing these leaves in boiling water, a very special herbal tea is obtained, the famous mint tea. With this procedure, 75% of the antioxidant substances and just over 20% of the essential oils are extracted and released in the herbal tea (Cam et al, J Food Sci Technol, 2019). Thanks to these characteristics, peppermint tea has been shown to relax the gastrointestinal tract and to have beneficial effects on digestion, it is carminative and analgesic (Begas et al, Food Chem Toxicol, 2017). Not only that, peppermint tea helps to counteract pain, abdominal swelling and diarrhea in case of irritable bowel syndrome (Prescgere Int, 2008). This drink is also soothing and relaxing, counteracts abdominal cramps, for example in the case of painful menstruation, and modulates the immune system (McKay et al, Phytother Res, 2006 - Chandrasekara et al, J Tradit Complement Med., 2018). The antispasmodic action of mint is a valuable ally to soothe cough, asthma and bronchitis (Messegue, my herbarium). Thanks to its content in rosmarinic acid, mint tea helps to counteract allergy-related symptoms, such as rhinitis and conjunctivitis (Oh et al, Exp Biol Med, 2011). Not only that, peppermint tea helps relieve headaches caused by stress, is anti-nausea and improves concentration and attention. It should not be forgotten that this drink is also a powerful diuretic, therefore useful to counteract water retention, stagnation and toxin accumulation (S.C. Taneja, Handbook of Herbs and spices, 2012). Finally, as the well-known French herbalist Messegue underlines in his book My Herbarium, mouth rinses with a concentrated mint infusion are useful for gum health as well as improving the breath.
Peppermint tea, preparation
Bring a cup of water to a boil. Remove from the heat and add a handful of fresh mint leaves or a teaspoon of dried mint leaves. Leave to infuse for ten minutes, then filter and drink. Instead, if you intend to use mint to rinse and gargle for oral health, bring a cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of dried leaves. Leave to infuse for fifteen minutes, then filter and once cooled use to rinse.
Mint tea, contraindications
Generally mint tea has no contraindications (Prescgere Int, 2008). However, be careful if you suffer from sour stomach and ulcers, as peppermint tea may make these conditions worse. Not only that, it is better to avoid taking peppermint tea before going to sleep as it could disturb sleep. If you are taking any medications always ask your doctor for advice before starting a treatment with mint, as this plant can interact with some medications. In particular, the essential oils contained in peppermint, and also in peppermint tea, can interfere with the liver's ability to metabolize some medicines, such as some antidepressants, antihistamines, antifungals, anticoagulants and antibiotics (Samojlik et al, Phytother Res, 2012 - Kobayashi et al, Biosci Biotechnol Biochem, 2019).