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Uses for Peppermint in Medieval Medicine

Fragrant and invigorating peppermint was brought to Europe by the Romans, who grew it in their gardens for medicinal purposes.

Its high menthol content made peppermint ideal for treating cold symptoms. You can add a handful of fresh leaves to a bowl of hot water and breathe in the vapors to clear nasal passages and help you breathe easier. You can also add peppermint essential oil to a chest rub to help treat congestion.

Peppermint was used as a digestive aid, drunk as a tea to calm upset stomachs. Only drink one or two glasses at a time though, or it can cause nausea.

Headaches plagued the ancients as well as us, and peppermint is effective at reducing symptoms. Dilute pure peppermint essential oil and rub into the temples and neck to ease headache pain. Be careful not to apply near the eyes or they will be irritated and begin to water.

Peppermint was also used to soothe skin irritations since it has lovely cooling qualities. Add it to bath water and soak irritated skin.

Nowadays we use toothpaste infused with peppermint. In the Middle Ages, peppermint leaves were dried and powdered and used to white teeth and keep breath fresh. They work just as effectively now.

In the Middle East, medicinal cordials called Sekanjibin were used to treat a variety of ailments. Made of water, sugar, vinegar, and herbs, such as peppermint, the cordial was diluted in hot or cold water creating a delicious drink that also eased symptoms.

As with all herbs, peppermint is powerful and affects each body differently. Experiment with small amounts to make sure your body doesn’t react negatively before progressing to full doses.

What is your favorite way to use peppermint?

For more medieval remedies, click here to order a copy of our medicine woman’s book: “herb & spice: a little book of medieval remedies.”

DISCLAIMER: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The author does not take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider. Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Again, before undertaking any course of treatment or therapeutic technique, the reader should seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

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