The Power of Peppermint

Herbal tea that naturally lacks caffeine can be an excellent bedtime tradition. Warm drinks can help calm and relax your body and prepare you for sleep.  Some teas have benefits that go beyond just relaxation. Peppermint tea is one tea with a number of benefits that make it a great pre-sleep ritual.

One great sleep enhancing advantage of peppermint tea is that it assists with indigestion. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Peppermint calms the muscles of the stomach and improves the flow of bile, which the body uses to digest fats. As a result, food passes through the stomach more quickly.”  However, if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, you should avoid peppermint at night because it relaxes muscles in the stomach and esophagus and can induce reflux.  There is also some research that shows peppermint may relieve symptoms of irritable bowl syndrome (IBS).

The same muscle relaxing tendencies mentioned above can also bring relief to minor tension headaches. The article mentioned above also suggests peppermint as a cold remedy. Peppermint contains menthol, which is an effective expectorant. Holding your head over a steamy cup of peppermint tea can relieve stuffy noses and congested chests.  Doing this before going to bed can improve your sleep when you need it most.

All of these benefits can be experienced from just a few peppermint leaves steeped in hot water. You can pour hot water over fresh leaves and let it steep for awhile, or you can place dried leaves in tea ball and allow it to set in hot water. If you want your own peppermint plant, it is an herb that is very easy to grow. Transplants are commonly found at nurseries. The plants typically run rampant once planted in a garden or landscape and will quickly take over. So, if you are starting from scratch you may want to plant your peppermint in a container to prevent its spread.

If raising your own plant doesn’t excite you, peppermint tea is easily found commercially in tea bags.  Be sure to check the ingredients to ensure there is nothing caffeinated or even decaffeinated black or green teas listed as well. The best peppermint teas will have only one ingredient, peppermint.

What are your favorite bedtime teas or drinks? Have you experienced the benefits of peppermint?

Photo “coffee and peppermint tea in bristol” by Crafty Fox


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