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Peppermint is a familiar fragrant garden herb also widely cultivated for its oil, with dark green opposite leaves and purple stems. The whole plant is harvested. Peppermint is available in enteric-coated capsule form, in liquid tinctures, as an essential oil, and in bulk for making tea.
Peppermint is a favorite remedy for relaxing the intestinal tract and relieving gas pains. The herb is effective for easing nausea, heartburn, morning sickness, irritable bowel syndrome, and colitis. Try peppermint tea for helping to relieve symptoms of the common cold, fevers, and headaches.
The tea or oil is also useful for insomnia, measles, menstrual cramps, migraines, muscle spasms, nervous disorders, colic, dizziness, diarrhea, dysentery, heart trouble, poor appetite, rheumatism, spasms, and hysteria. It increases stomach acidity, aiding digestion, and will stop vomiting due to nervous causes.
Externally, peppermint leaves make a cooling and slightly anodyne application. They can also be made into a salve or a bath additive for itching skin conditions. Peppermint is used for toothache and to provide local anesthetic to pains and inflamed joints. For example, to open up the sinuses, put 5-10 drops into 2 quarts hot water and breathe it in through the mouth and nostrils. Cover the head with a cloth as you do this.
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