The plants in your gardens make your landscape beautiful, but many common garden species also have additional benefits. One of the most common herbs is quite powerful for many reasons, and it can be grown right in your own garden. Here is the information you need to know about this versatile plant – peppermint.
History of Peppermint
For thousands of years, humans have been using peppermint to help relieve a number of ailments. Mint was found in pyramids and mentioned in papyrus texts from ancient Egypt, then used in rituals in ancient Greece and Rome before making its way into herbal remedies in Europe and eventually to gardens in North America.
Benefits of Fresh Leaves
In modern culture, the scent of peppermint is heavily associated with cleanliness. There’s a reason it’s used in dental hygiene products like toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, and gum–its cool, sweet scent is refreshing after all, and the menthol it contains acts as an antiseptic. The root of this practice actually stems from its early remedy uses: chewing mint leaves or rubbing a mint paste on the teeth was found to ease pain from toothaches. Chewing the leaves has also been found to have relaxing properties that can soothe indigestion, muscle pain, and anxiety. Plus, it’s always impressive to harvest fresh leaves from your garden for garnishing iced teas or alcoholic beverages when entertaining guests!
Benefits of Peppermint Oil
To make peppermint oil, gather fresh mint leaves, then wash them and pat them dry. Crush the leaves with a mortar and pestle (a spoon in a shallow bowl works well too), then add the leaves to a jar and pour in enough carrier oil (such as coconut, almond, or olive oil) to just cover the leaves. Let it sit for 72 hours before straining the leaves out and storing the oil.
This oil is both antiseptic as well as an anesthetic (aka a slight numbing agent) and can be rubbed onto wrists or temples to help dispel headaches. When applied to the upper lip, the menthol can help clear your sinuses while invigorating you and spurring concentration.
Benefits of Herbal Tea
After harvesting your peppermint leaves, you can dry and store them instead of using them fresh. To do this, you can either hang the springs upside down in a dark, well-ventilated area, or lay them in a brown paper bag to dry for about a week. You’ll know they’re properly dried when the leaves are crisp and crumbly, but still retain their green color. From the dried leaves you can make delicious peppermint tea.
Drinking some peppermint tea may help reduce nausea and flatulence. It can also bring relief when you are suffering from an achy cold or flu. It’s recommended that you avoid drinking peppermint tea at night however, because it often causes insomnia.
Growing and Care
Mint is a prolific grower that can quickly take over an area. For that reason, it’s best grown in a pot so that they can be easily contained. While it’s a hardy plant that can grow in both sun and part shade as well as many soil types, put your mint pot in an area with partial shade and keep the soil moist for maximum growth. They’re a great plant to use in areas where most others may not grow well, since they enjoy the low, wet spots that often kill landscaping plants.
If you are interested in growing a most lush and beautiful garden, visit Big Earth Landscape Supply. We have all you need – and spring is the perfect time to explore your landscaping options.