My Peppermint Fix

By Karey Burek

Yesterday as I was wading through the crowds at the mall trying to finish my Christmas shopping, I decided to stop and grab a cool drink.  Of course, like many younger people, I like my Starbucks.  So there I stood in a line as long as the ones in the clothing stores.  I had my heart set on a Peppermint Mocha Frappachino but when I reached the counter, I was told that they had run out of Peppermint!  "They ran out of peppermint," I thought to myself.  "How is this possible?"  Because I wasn't allowed my fix of peppermint and chocolate during the holidays I figured it would only be fair to write about this minty treat that does so many things besides flavor my Starbucks.

Peppermint is an herb that grows in North America, it can also be found in Europe. A lot of people like to have herb gardens, but if you are a novice, be careful!  Peppermint plants can grow like a weed, and before you know it, it will have taken over your little garden.  Other people like spearmint plants as well, but only the peppermint plant has a healing power.  It contains menthol that is in a lot of our over the counter medicines, rubs and throat lozenges.

According to the journal of Pharmacy, the tradition of reaching for after-dinner mints has a basis in folk medicine. The active ingredients in peppermint help aid the digestive process, calming spasms in the digestive tract, promoting the flow of digestive juices, and relieving gas. Peppermint also fights germs and freshens your breath which is one reason why it is such a common ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash. When inhaled in steam, peppermint oil may help ease sinus congestion due to colds and flu.

This little plant is very intriguing and makes me want to grow an herb garden of my own!  You can put mint leaves in tea, on ice cream; you can make mint jelly if you are so inclined.  If you are interested in adding peppermint to your garden, you can get it at your local nursery or home maintenance store.  It is an easy plant to take care of because it can either be grown inside by using a pot, or outdoors in your garden.  The best part is the more leaves you cut off and use, the bushier the plant gets!  Enjoy!

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