Mentha × piperita
Indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, flatulence, stomach upset, food poisoning, motion sickness, gallstones
Can interfere with pharmaceutical drugs, (see below). Can worsen preexisting conditions (see below).
Peppermint was first described in England in the 18th century, but older versions of the plant where described by the Romans and there are some accounts that specimens where found in the pyramids of Ancient Egypt. It’s often thought of as a species, but it is now universally agreed to be a hybrid.
Peppermint is most used for digestive ailments. Brew peppermint for a refreshing, after dinner tea! Medicinally, it can alleviate irritable bowel syndrome and flatulence. It can calm queasy stomachs, easing the digestion and even aid in cases of food poisoning. If you have motion sickness or indigestion, peppermint will help deal with the symptoms. During a mild attack of gallstones, peppermint will relieve some of the painful spasms. If you have indigestion a cup of peppermint tea can help.
Do not take if you are taking the heartburn drug cisapride (also known as Propulsid) or the immunosuppressant Ciclosporin (also spelled cyclosporine and cyclosporine) as peppermint can interfere with these drugs. In addition, do not take if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, or hiatal hernia. Consult your doctor if you take diabetic medication, medication metabolised by the liver, or medication for low blood pressure. Peppermint can relax the sphincter between the stomach and oesophagus, allowing stomach acids to flow back into the oesophagus. By relaxing the sphincter, peppermint may actually worsen the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion.