Peppermint (Mentha Piperita.) is a perennial herb (a herb that grows all year round) & belongs to the Lamiaceae family. It is known for its rapid growth and spreading nature, which can make it quite invasive if not managed properly. There are several varieties of Peppermint, with the two main one’s being referred to as “Black” and “White” Peppermint. “Black” peppermint has leaves and stems that have a purplish brown tinge to them, whereas the “White” peppermint has green stems and leaves which are green and more coarsely serrated than the “Black” peppermint. The white peppermint also yields a more superior oil, however it yields less quantity of oil and is harder to grow.
One of the most widely utilised herbs, peppermint is found in fresh or dried herb form and is also found as an essential oil.
Cultivation Of Peppermint:
Although it can tolerate a small amount of shade, peppermint prefers partial to full sun. Peppermint should be grown in well-draining, fertile, moist, and slightly acidic soil.
Propagation of peppermint is normally by division of roots in spring. When planting, space at least 6 inches apart as they will spread. Many
gardeners choose to plant peppermint in pots to keep it contained as it is a prolific spreader.
Peppermint requires regular watering, however, do not over-water. To help retain moisture and suppress weeds, a layer of mulch should be applied around the base of your plant.
Peppermint should be regularly pruned to stop it from becoming too invasive. Pinching off the tops of the stems will also encourage your mint plant to fill out and become nice and bushy, rather than scraggly.
Note: Peppermint can be invasive, so it's a good idea to plant it in containers or confined areas to prevent it from spreading into unwanted areas of your garden.
Harvesting and Drying Peppermint:
- Harvesting: Harvest peppermint leaves in the morning, after any dew has dried but before the sun is too hot. Choose healthy leaves and avoid stems that have started to flower.
- Gather several peppermint stems together and secure them with a rubber band or string.
- Hang the peppermint bundles upside down in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. A dark room with good airflow is ideal.
- It typically takes about 1-2 weeks for the leaves to dry completely. They should feel crisp and crumble easily when touched.
- Once dried, remove the leaves from the stems and store them in an airtight container away from direct sunlight. Label the container with the date to track freshness.
- You can also use a dehydrator to dry your herbs- check with your manual to see what temperature and time will be needed to dry your peppermint.
Mundane Uses of Peppermint:
Peppermint is commonly used in culinary applications around the world including:
- Tea: Peppermint leaves can be used to make a soothing and aromatic peppermint tea. Simply steep the leaves in hot water for a few minutes and sweeten with honey if desired.
- Salads: Fresh peppermint leaves can be torn or chopped and added to salads for a burst of flavour and a refreshing element.
- Desserts: Peppermint is a popular flavour in desserts. It can be used in ice creams, chocolates, cookies, and cakes. Peppermint extract or oil is often used for a strong minty flavour.
- Mint Sauces: Peppermint can be used to make mint sauces or chutneys that pair well with lamb or other meats.
- Cocktails: Mint leaves are commonly used to garnish and flavour cocktails like mojitos, mint juleps, and minty variations of other drinks.
- Sauces: Mint can be blended into various sauces, like tzatziki or yogurt-based mint sauces, which are often served with Mediterranean or Middle Eastern dishes.
- Sorbet: Peppermint makes a refreshing and flavourful sorbet when blended with sugar and water. It's a great dessert option, especially during hot weather.
- Infused Water: Add fresh peppermint leaves to a pitcher of water for a naturally flavoured and refreshing drink.
- Jellies and Preserves: Peppermint can be used to flavour homemade jellies and preserves, adding a unique twist to fruit spreads.
- Smoothies: A handful of fresh peppermint leaves can be added to fruit smoothies for a refreshing and minty twist.
- Grilled Meats: Peppermint can be used as a marinade or a rub for grilled meats, particularly lamb and pork.
- Stir-Fries: In some Asian cuisines, peppermint is used in stir-fries to add a fresh, aromatic element to the dish.
- Herb Butters: Combine minced peppermint with butter to create a flavourful herb butter that can be used on bread, vegetables, or grilled meats.
- Homemade Mint Extract: You can make your own mint extract by infusing peppermint leaves in alcohol. This extract can then be used in baking and cooking.
- Candies: Peppermint is a key flavour in various candies, including peppermint patties and candy canes.
Aromatic Uses Of Peppermint:
Peppermint is well-known for its aromatic qualities Some of the ways to use the aroma of Peppermint in your mundane life include:
- Aromatherapy: Peppermint essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation, improve mental clarity, and relieve headaches. It can be diffused in an essential oil diffuser or added to a bowl of hot water for inhalation.
- Potpourri: Dried peppermint leaves can be added to homemade potpourri blends to release a refreshing and minty fragrance into your living spaces.
- Scented Sachets: Create scented sachets by filling small cloth bags or pouches with dried peppermint leaves. Place them in drawers, closets, or under pillows to keep your linens and clothing smelling fresh.
- Room Sprays: Make a DIY room spray by mixing water and a few drops of peppermint essential oil in a spray bottle. Use it to freshen up the air in your home.
- Candles: Peppermint-scented candles can create a cozy and refreshing atmosphere. Look for candles infused with peppermint fragrance or use peppermint essential oil to make your own.
- Bath and Body Products: Peppermint is a common ingredient in bath salts, shower gels, and body lotions due to its invigorating and refreshing aroma. You can also add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your bath for a spa-like experience.
- Scented Crafts: Incorporate dried peppermint leaves into homemade crafts like scented sachet pillows, scented ornaments, or scented candles.
- Natural Air Freshener: Place a small bowl of dried peppermint leaves or cotton balls soaked in peppermint essential oil in your car or refrigerator to eliminate odours.
- Herbal Pillow: Fill a small pillow or cushion with dried peppermint leaves and place it under your regular pillow for a calming and refreshing sleep experience.
- Foot Soaks: Add peppermint leaves or a few drops of peppermint essential oil to a foot soak for a rejuvenating and aromatic foot bath.
- Insect Repellent: Peppermint's strong scent can help repel insects. You can use peppermint essential oil or plant peppermint near windows and doors to deter bugs.
- Scented Oils: Infuse carrier oils like jojoba or almond oil with peppermint leaves to create your own scented massage or body oils.
- Homemade Cleaning Products: Add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to homemade cleaning solutions to give your home a fresh, minty scent while you clean.
- Car Fresheners: Place a small container of dried peppermint leaves or a few drops of peppermint essential oil in your car to keep it smelling pleasant.
When using peppermint essential oil, it is recommended that you choose high-quality sources and follow recommended guidelines for safe usage. As a general rule of thumb, never apply the essential oils directly to the skin or take them internally. If you apply the oils diluted to the skin, always do a skin patch test first to check for any allergic reactions.
Medicinal Uses Of Peppermint:
Peppermint has many reported medicinal benefits including:
- Digestive Aid: Peppermint can help relieve indigestion, bloating, and gas. Peppermint tea or peppermint oil capsules are commonly used for this purpose.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Peppermint oil may provide relief from the symptoms of IBS, such as abdominal pain and discomfort. It is often taken in enteric-coated capsules to prevent heartburn.
- Headache Relief: Peppermint oil, when applied topically to the temples and forehead, may help alleviate tension headaches and migraines due to its soothing and analgesic properties.
- Nausea and Motion Sickness: Peppermint can help reduce nausea and motion sickness. You can sip on peppermint tea or inhale the aroma of peppermint oil to ease queasiness.
- Respiratory Health: Peppermint's menthol content can provide relief from congestion and coughs. Inhaling steam with a few drops of peppermint oil can help clear nasal passages.
- Muscle Pain and Soreness: Topical application of diluted peppermint oil may soothe muscle pain and soreness due to its cooling effect and potential analgesic properties.
- Dental Care: Peppermint oil is often used in mouthwashes, toothpaste, and gum for its antibacterial properties and ability to freshen breath. It may also help relieve toothache pain temporarily.
- Menstrual Pain: Some women find relief from menstrual cramps by drinking peppermint tea, which can help relax the muscles of the uterus.
- Skin Irritation: Peppermint oil, when diluted with a carrier oil, can be applied topically to relieve itching, insect bites, and minor skin irritations.
- Stress and Anxiety: The aroma of peppermint oil may have a calming effect and help reduce stress and anxiety when used in aromatherapy or through inhalation.
- Cognitive Function: Some studies suggest that inhaling the scent of peppermint oil may improve cognitive function, alertness, and concentration.
- Antioxidant Properties: Peppermint contains antioxidants that may help protect cells from oxidative stress and damage.
- Anti-inflammatory: Peppermint may have mild anti-inflammatory properties and can be used topically to soothe inflamed skin or joints.
- Allergy Relief: Inhaling peppermint steam or using peppermint oil in a diffuser may help provide relief from allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose and itchy eyes.
- Fever Reducer: Peppermint's cooling effect can help lower body temperature, making it a traditional remedy for reducing fever.
Caution: It's important to remember that while these potential benefits are supported by some research and traditional use, individual responses can vary. If you have specific health concerns or are taking medications, it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet or lifestyle. This blog post is not intended to be used as a medical reference guide, and the author is not a qualified medical practitioner.
The Magickal Properties Of Peppermint:
Name: Peppermint (Mentha Piperita)
Folk Names: Brandy Mint; Lammint
Parts Used: Fresh/ dried leaves & essential oil
Planet: Venus & Mercury
Zodiac Signs: Virgo & Aquarius
Daily Correspondence: Friday and Wednesday
Element: Air (some sources claim fire as the element)
Powers: Friendship, Purification, Sleep, Love, Clarity & Concentration, Healing & Psychic Powers.
- Peppermint is a cleansing and clearing herb.
- Peppermint can be used to cleanse the individual and their environment of negative/ obsessive energy.
- Inhale the scent of peppermint whilst performing a cleansing visualisation to cleanse yourself prior to spell work.
- Hang peppermint bundles in doorways or near windows where its scent will repel negative energy and cleanse the home. Use it to rub onto furniture, walls, and floorboards to cleanse the home of negativity and evil. It can also be grown near the front door for protection from negativity. In fact, growing peppermint is said to bring good luck and protection. You can also purify a space by placing vases of fresh cut peppermint in each room or by smoke cleansing by burning the dried leaves of the peppermint plant.
- Peppermint is also known for its mind clearing and boosting properties. Use it to cleanse the mind & boost mental concentration and intuitive focus. It is a fantastic study aid and can be used to help focus the mind whilst studying- place some peppermint oil in an oil burner, or sip peppermint tea whilst studying to take advantage of its properties.
- Peppermint has a long history of use in purification and cleansing spells. When performing a cleansing ritual, anoint a white candle with peppermint oil to increase the cleansing power of your spell.
- The aroma of peppermint can ward off negative thoughts.
- Peppermint can be stuffed into a dream pillow and placed under one’s pillow whilst asleep to aid in sleep and induce prophetic dreams and expand one’s intuitive abilities. It can also be used to clear negativity from your mind and increase focus on your desires and is said to improve the nature of one's dreams.
- Placing your magickal tools/ crystals etc near peppermint can aid in cleansing and recharging their energies.
- Peppermint leaves can rubbed against the head to help relieve headache or the wrists to ward off illness. It is added to healing incenses and charms.
- Inhaling the scent of freshly crushed peppermint leaves (or drinking a cup of peppermint tea whilst inhaling the aroma) can aid one in falling asleep- do not use the essential oil for this as it is too strong and may have the reverse effect.
- The presence of peppermint is said to raise the vibrations of an area, and having fresh Peppermint on your altar is said to call good spirits to be present to aid you in performing magick.
- Use it in spells to increase wealth, luck, and good fortune. Placing a few leaves of peppermint in your wallet/ purse or rubbing the oil where your money is kept is said to aid in increasing wealth.
- Peppermint is also said to excite love and can be added to love potions.
In general, common mints such as peppermint and pennyroyal are closely related and as such can be used interchangeably if you do not have access to one of the herbs required for your magickal practice.
The Magickal benefits attributed to this herb are not set in stone. These magickal benefits are from a Eurocentric viewpoint, as is my personal background and what I am familiar with.
As always, it is important prior to working with any ingredient that you do your own research. Consult sources from your own ancestral background and draw inspiration from your own intuition. What is right for me in my situation, may be completely wrong for you. If you stick to the general guidelines and look for ways to incorporate peppermint into your everyday mundane life, you will start to see the magick that this plant can offer!
Let us know what you think about this fantastic plant. Do you grow it? If so, what has been your experience with it? Do you use it for mundane purposes, magickal purposes, or both? We'd love to hear your experiences.
The information contained within this article has been sourced from a number of sources including: