Peppermint tea is a popular herbal drink that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It is most often consumed as an iced tea but can also be enjoyed hot, or you can also combine it with other ingredients to create flavorful beverages. The soothing flavor of peppermint makes it the perfect drink to soothe frazzled nerves and enjoy during any time of day. Peppermint has many potential health benefits, which we’ll review in this article. It also has a few side effects worth noting. Below, we will tackle the things you need to know.
Peppermint Tea Health Benefits
Peppermint tea is often consumed for its flavor, but it also has several health benefits. The tea itself has rarely been studied scientifically, but peppermint extracts have.
Here are the science-backed benefits of this plant:
Eases Stomach Upsets
Sipping peppermint tea can help relieve stomach aches due to indigestion, gas, or diarrhea. As an anti-inflammatory herb, it can reduce pain and spasm caused by irritated or overstretched tissues of the digestive tract. It can also speed up the emptying of food from your stomach, which eases indigestion as well as nausea from overeating (10).
Lowers Risk Of Heart Disease
Research suggests that compounds called polyphenols in peppermint tea can decrease inflammation in arteries. This reduces heart disease risk by preventing plaque buildup in the arteries (4).
Protects Against Cancer
The antioxidants in peppermint tea have been shown to fight against liver, ovarian, breast, pancreatic, colon, and skin cancer cells (2).
Peppermint tea has mild anti-anxiety effects with no side effects. It is most likely effective because it contains linalool, a terpene that provides a calming and relaxing feeling (13).
Lowers Risk Of Diabetes
Several preliminary studies indicate that peppermint may aid in the treatment and prevention of diabetes by helping regulate blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity (3, 6).
Improves Symptoms Of Menopause
Peppermint has been used historically as an emmenagogue (an agent to induce menstrual flow), which means that it can help regulate periods. This is because its anti-inflammatory properties help decrease muscle spasms and painful uterine cramping during menstruation. It can also be effective at reducing hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, anxiety, depression, and lack of concentration linked with menopause (9).
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Helps Reduce Arthritis Pain
Research suggests that the anti-inflammatory compounds found in peppermint may reduce joint pain and muscle stiffness associated with arthritis (1).
Boosts Exercise Performance
Peppermint tea can help enhance the effects of exercise. It increases sweating, improves oxygen absorption, increases heart rate, and reduces post-exercise fatigue (16).
Relieves Tension Headaches And Migraines
One preliminary study showed that applying peppermint oil on the forehead and temples helped relieve tension headaches. Another research suggested that it may reduce migraine pain and duration if taken before a headache or migraine attack (14).
Stimulates Hair Growth
To speed up hair growth, apply peppermint essential oil on your scalp before blow-drying your hair. This can stimulate blood circulation, which helps prevent hair loss and speeds up new hair growth (15).
Helps Treat Hiccups
If you get hiccups often, try drinking some peppermint tea. It works by relaxing the diaphragm muscle that contracts during a hiccup episode which eventually stops the spasms that cause hiccups (11).
Natural Cough Suppressant
Peppermint has been used for thousands of years to treat coughing and other respiratory problems. Its menthol can numb the throat, making it an excellent choice as a natural cough suppressant (8).
Peppermint is a good choice for freshening breath. This is because it contains menthol which has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that can kill germs in the mouth and reduce bad breath (7).
Reduces Swelling And Inflammation
The muscle relaxant effects of peppermint make it useful as an anti-inflammatory herb. It reduces swelling by decreasing muscle spasms or tightness in the muscles. People with clogged sinuses from a cold or allergies benefit from this property as well (8).
A cup of peppermint tea may help you sleep better. Its mild sedative and pain relief properties calm the mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep or stay asleep (5).
Improves Concentration And Focus
Peppermint also has mild mental stimulant effects, which means it may boost brain activity and improve concentration and focus. This is because it contains rosmarinic acid, a compound found in rosemary that enhances cognition (13).
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Peppermint Tea Side Effects
As with all herbs, peppermint tea can cause side effects in some people. People who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and esophageal spasms should avoid using peppermint tea or at least consult a doctor before doing so. If you have gallstones, be careful as they can trigger bile duct spasms (12).
The menthol in peppermint may affect the liver, especially if you have pre-existing liver disease or take other medications that are processed by the same enzyme pathways as the liver. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, dizziness, restlessness, and irritability. So, again, drink peppermint tea only under a doctor’s supervision to avoid potential side effects (12).
If you’re allergic to menthols or menthol-producing plants, like mint, corn mint, and birch, it’s best to avoid peppermint tea.
Peppermint oil is also not recommended during pregnancy or lactation for the same reason. The menthol in peppermint can trigger contractions, which may lead to preterm labor and delivery if you are pregnant (12).
The Bottom Line
Peppermint tea is a tasty herbal remedy with potential health benefits. However, peppermint tea benefits are limited to minor health problems and do not work as a miracle weight loss solution. Peppermint should be used only under a doctor’s supervision, especially if you have existing liver or gallbladder disorders. Peppermint oil is not recommended during pregnancy or lactation for the same reason.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Anti-osteoarthritis potential of peppermint and rosemary essential oils in a nanoemulsion form: behavioral, biochemical, and histopathological evidence (2021, biomedcentral.com)
- A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.) (2006, wiley.com)
- Blood Sugar & Stress (n.d., ucsf.edu)
- Comparing the Effect of Aromatherapy with Peppermint and Lavender Essential Oils on Fatigue of Cardiac Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial (2021, hindawi.com)
- Comparing the effect of aromatherapy with peppermint and lavender on the sleep quality of cardiac patients: a randomized controlled trial (2020, biomedcentral.com)
- Effect Of Peppermint Essence On The Pain And Anxiety Caused By Intravenous Catheterization In Cardiac Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial (2019, nih.gov)
- Essential oils, their therapeutic properties, and implication in dentistry: A review (2015, nih.gov)
- Essential oils and Their Vapours as Potential Antibacterial Agents against Respiratory Tract Pathogens (2016, pubmed.gov)
- Evaluation of mint efficacy regarding dysmenorrhea in comparison with mefenamic acid: A double blinded randomized crossover study (2016, nih.gov)
- Herbal Medicines for Gastrointestinal Disorders (2017, pubmed.gov)
- Interventions for treating persistent and intractable hiccups in adults (2013, nih.gov)
- Is Peppermint Tea Good for You? Pros and Cons, Nutrition Information, and More (2020, webmd.com)
- Modulation of cognitive performance and mood by aromas of peppermint and ylang-ylang (2008, pubmed.gov)
- Peppermint oil in the acute treatment of tension-type headache (2016, springer.com)
- Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth Without Toxic Signs (2014, nih.gov)
- The effects of peppermint on exercise performance (2013, nih.gov)