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Peppermint Tea

Wikipedia: Peppermint 
Last Updated: Oct. 4, 2018 

About Peppermint Tea

Dense but leggy growth of peppermint stems, topped by clusters of small lavender flowersA peppermint plant in bloom. Photo © Lazaregagnidze (Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 4.0.
Peppermint is a type of mint, a hybrid or cross between spearmint (Mentha spicata) and watermint (Mentha aquatica). Besides its use in herbal tea, it is a common flavoring in candy, often paired with chocolate.

Peppermint is the most widely-available mint in herbal tea, although it is not necessarily the "typical" or "default" mint; because of its distinctive aroma it is usually called by its full name rather than referred to generically as "mint", which usually references spearmint.

Aroma and Flavor

The aroma of peppermint is familiar to most people in the U.S., as it is the flavoring of candy canes and other peppermint candy. The aroma is usually described as fresh and invigorating, and peppermint also creates a powerful cooling sensation, stronger than other mints. Peppermint has one of the most intense aromas of all the herbs commonly used in teas. Even a small amount of peppermint leaf added to an herbal blend can drown out other ingredients.

Use in Herbal Teas and Tea Blends

Because of its dominating nature, peppermint is less versatile than other mints in blends, and it is thus either used on its own, or in very small quantities. Common blending ingredients include chamomile and hibiscus. Peppermint does not blend with true tea (green or black tea) as other mints, although it is sometimes used in such blends.

Health effects, benefits, and cautions

Peppermint tea is traditionally used for a variety of purposes, the most common of which is to treat digestive upset. A 2006 meta analysis of peppermint concluded that in vitro, peppermint has strong antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant, and antitumor activity, and that there is some evidence that peppermint relaxes the digestive tract. Peppermint oil has also been studied for treating irritable bowel syndrome(IBS), but there was a lack of clinical trials of peppermint tea and limited studies of peppermint leaf. A 2014 review found that peppermint oil was safe and effective for treating IBS, but again this study was on thei oil, not the herbal tea.

Owing to its antioxidants, peppermint tea is one of many herbal teas that has been studied with promising results for its potential to lower breast cancer risk.

The plant and its essential oil have also been used as an antiseptic due to its antimicrobial properties.

Dangers, side-effects, and toxicity

High doses of peppermint are toxic. The plant can be hepatotoxic (damaging to the liver) and nephrotoxic (damaging to the kidneys), perhaps due to the chemical pulegone, which is also a neurotoxin and can induce a coma. There is even one case of a woman nearly killed by ingesting peppermint oil. An herbal infusion of the plant, though, is much safer than the pure oil.

At lower doses, possible side effects include heartburn, digestive upset, and headache. When used as a treatment for IBS, heartburn was a relatively common side-effect.

The Peppermint Plant

Peppermint is a sterile hybrid, meaning that it cannot reproduce by seeds. It can persist in the wild in vegetative colonies, spreading by underground runners. Wild populations in Eurasia can be the result of natural hybridization where the range of spearmint and watermint overlap, but most populations are escapes or populations of formerly cultivated plants.
Peppermint plant, showing opposite, oval-shaped leaves with slight points, and dark purple-red stemsThis peppermint plant has slightly rounder leaves, but still shows the characteristic reddish stems. Photo © Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0.

Identification

Most peppermint is easily identified by its distinctive smell, although a few unusual cultivars like 'Orange Mint' or 'Chocolate Mint' smell very different.

Like all true mints (Mentha sp.), peppermint has square stems, opposite leaves, and a neat, symmetrical growth habit, with many stems rising from underground runners. The shape of the leaves, however, is more variable across the different peppermint cultivars than the natural variation that exists within most pure species of mint. Many, but not all varieties of peppermint have reddish-purple stems, and sometimes the leaves have a reddish-purple tinge, usually strongest along the veins and around the edges. Many peppermint plants have long, narrow leaves like spearmint, but some have shorter, more rounded leaves.

Gardening and Cultivation

The growing requirements of peppermint are similar to spearmint, and it shares that plant's aggressive growth habit. Peppermint thrives in moist temperate climates, where it does best in part shade and moist soil rich in organic matter.

Peppermint is an aggressive plant, but when grown together, spearmint sometimes out-competes peppermint; this is especially true of some of the peppermint cultivars selected for their particular aromas. But more vigorous varieties of peppermint still outcompete many garden plants, and are safest to grow in containers for this reason.

New peppermint cultivars can be created by cross-pollinating spearmint and watermint, but propagation that preserves the distinct aromatic profile of a given plant must be done by cutting. Like other mints, peppermint is easy to grow from stem cuttings. Cuttings can be placed in a glass of water and allowed to root in water, then later planted, or they can be buried horizontally in soil.

Recent Peppermint Reviews — RSS rss icon

50 / 100
Picture of Peppermint Herbal Tea

I'm still looking for what I'd consider a perfect peppermint tea, but of the Stash mint varieties I've tried, I will say that this was the best. The aroma doesn't quite fit, it seems a bit on the weak side, but the flavor is definitely peppermint. It's not overpowering, maybe not even full-bodied, but definitely pepper...

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53 / 100
Picture of Peppermint

Peppermint from Trader Joe's

Style: Peppermint Tea – Region: ?????
Sep. 24th, 2018

Come on, Trader Joe's! What's the deal here? It's fantastically difficult to mess up peppermint and you came closer to doing so than any I've tried yet. The very low price (beaten in my experience only by Wal-Mart's store brand and Carrington, both noticeably higher-quality) is the only thing that saves this rating ...

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77 / 100
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Peppermint from Great Value

Style: Peppermint Tea – Region: ?????
Jun. 25th, 2018

As I've noted with other peppermint-tea reviews, this is one of my very favorite herbs, one that's generally consistent and hard to mess up (though it can happen!). As such, I'll generally give peppermint teas high marks unless they are stale, overly stem-laden, exorbitantly costly, somehow wrongly advertised, or the ...

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65 / 100
Picture of Peppermint Herbal Tea

I'm a little disappointed in this tea. I've only had one other brand of peppermint tea, and thought t was incredible. I assumed all peppermint teas would be the same, but this one is a little disappointing. Its not bad, just kind of weak compared to the other brand I've tried.

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87 / 100
Picture of Peppermint Herbal Tea

For peppermint, it's hard to top CS' version. As noted in some of my other peppermint tea reviews, this is an herb that is difficult to ruin anyway, and I love the flavor, whether stand-alone or mixed with other products (teas, candies, cookies, etc.). Some tea companies do use stems as cheap filler, or unadvertised ...

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Most-Rated Peppermint

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Peppermint Herbal Tea

Brand:Celestial Seasonings
Style:Peppermint Tea
Region:United States of America
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Teabag
84
10 Ratings
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Peppermint Herbal Tea

Brand:Bigelow Tea
Style:Peppermint Tea
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Teabag
74
5 Ratings
No image of this tea

Peppermint Herbal Tea

Brand:Stash Tea
Style:Peppermint Tea
Region:United States of America
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Teabag
7
4 Ratings
No image of this tea

Pure Peppermint

Brand:Twinings
Style:Peppermint Tea
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Teabag
62
3 Ratings
Picture of Peppermint

Peppermint

Brand:Two Leaves Tea
Style:Peppermint Tea
Region:Europe
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Sachet
57
3 Ratings

Top-Rated Peppermint

No image of this tea

Peppermint Herbal Tea

Brand:Celestial Seasonings
Style:Peppermint Tea
Region:United States of America
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Teabag
84
10 Ratings
No image of this tea

Peppermint Herbal Tea

Brand:Bigelow Tea
Style:Peppermint Tea
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Teabag
74
5 Ratings
No image of this tea

Pure Peppermint

Brand:Twinings
Style:Peppermint Tea
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Teabag
62
3 Ratings
Picture of Peppermint

Peppermint

Brand:Two Leaves Tea
Style:Peppermint Tea
Region:Europe
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Sachet
57
3 Ratings
No image of this tea

Peppermint Herbal Tea

Brand:Stash Tea
Style:Peppermint Tea
Region:United States of America
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Teabag
7
4 Ratings

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