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Peppermint – Health Benefits

Essential oils are a primary focus when it comes to mint compositions. They are colorless, pale yellow or greenish yellow and the primary ingredients in Mentha species include alcohols, ketones, esters, ethers, and oxides. The perennial blooming plant known as peppermint is native to both North America and Europe.

About Peppermint

  • Peppermint (Mentha species), a type of medicinal plant, has many health-promoting qualities. These include the ability to prevent the development of cancer and to have anti-obesity, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and cardioprotective benefits.
  • The Lamiaceae family includes the genus Mentha, whose plants are among the most aromatic and widely distributed around the world. They have straightforward, distinctive leaves that have a nice perfume.
  • The taxonomy of mentha is extremely complex, with roughly 42 species, 15 hybrids, and hundreds of subspecies and cultivars. Among them, Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is mostly used.
  • Perennial plants in this genus tend to produce essential oils, mostly in the USA, India, China, and Iran. Mentha species’ fresh and dried plant materials are frequently used in industry as ingredients in confections, flavorings, medicines, cosmetics, and other products.
  • A mix of Water mint (Mentha aquatica) and Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a hybrid mint that is typically sterile.
  • Mint plants have a long history of therapeutic use, including as a stomach relaxant in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

Chemical constituents

Mentha species contain caffeic acid and its derivatives caftaric acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, and oleanolic acid in addition to being high in polyphenols and other phytochemicals. These plants also include flavanols like catechin, epicatechin, and coumarins, including esculetin and scopoletin, as well as flavonoids such as luteolin and its derivatives apigenin, acacetin, diosmin, and thymine, which together make up about 10–70 compounds out of the total phenolics.

Methofuran, menthol, methyl petroselinate, menthyl acetate, isopulegol, pulegone, carvone, menthone, cineole, oxygenated monoterpenes, iso menthone, limonene, β-pinene, β-myrcene, α-pinene, α-thujene, linalool are the main chemical constituents of peppermint. It also contains some other phenolic compounds such as rosmarinic acid cis-carvone oxide, caffeic acid, p-cumaric acid, ferulic acid, riboflavin, caftaric acid, chlorogenic acid, m-coumaric acid, o-coumaric acid.

  • Antimicrobial activity – Catechins, menthone, iso menthone, hexadecanoic acid, cis-carveol, carvone, limonene, rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, gallocatechin, epigallocatechin gallate, hexadecanoic acid, cis-carveol, carvone, and limonene are chemical constituents responsible for antimicrobial activity.
  • Antiviral activity– Hesperidin, luteolin 7-O-rutinoside, eriocitrin, rosmarinic acid, and phytol are responsible for antiviral activity.
  • Antioxidant activity– Ascorbic acid, carvone, cis-carveol, rosmarinic acid, cynaroside, crypto chlorogenic acid, δ-terpinene, p-cymene, 1,8-cineole, and α -terpinene are responsible for antioxidant activity.
  • Antifungal activity– Citronellal, caffeic acid, naringin, crypto chlorogenic acid, rosmarinic acid, menthol, piperitenone oxide, menthone, carvone, cis-carveol, and piperitone are responsible for antifungal activity.
  • Anticancer activity– Rosmarinic acid, eugenol, caryophyllene, t-cadinol, menthone, menthol crotonate, naringin, and crypto chlorogenic acid are responsible for anticancer action.

Health Benefits of Peppermint

  • Gastrointestinal disorders: Peppermint oil’s antispasmodic properties are principally responsible for its therapeutic effects in functional gastrointestinal diseases including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Menthol, a component of peppermint oil, can inhibit calcium channels which results in the relaxation of smooth muscles.
  • Antiviral activity: Infectious diseases that depend on viruses are a problem for medical science.  Natural products are the greatest source for isolating novel lead compounds. Menthol, the primary constituent of peppermint oil, work as a natural antiviral agent and protected Herpes simplex.
  • Analgesic effects: Although peppermint oil (through menthol) is a popular topical analgesic, rodent studies reveal that peppermint oil can also lessen visceral discomfort when given orally or intraperitoneally.
  • Inflammation-Related Effects: Research shows that the menthol in peppermint oil has an anti-inflammatory effect. Oral administration of peppermint oil can prevent both xylene and acetic acid-induced inflammations. Menthol inhibits human monocytes’ synthesis of inflammatory mediators.
  • Antioxidant Activity: Peppermint antioxidant activity is assessed by evaluating its antioxidant capacity, DPPH free radical scavenging activity, and reducing power. Human studies show that the fragrance of peppermint enhances attention, although it is uncertain whether it also elevates mood. Dopamine pathways are usually involved in studies on mice that suggest menthol has dose-dependent anxiolytic effects.

Other Health Benefits of Peppermint

  • Antifungal and Anti-Yeast Activities: Menthone, menthol, piperitenone oxide, and carvone are among the key chemical components that give their potent antifungal properties.
  • Anticancer activity: Cancer is a persistent health issue in the medical sciences worldwide. Since multiple studies have confirmed the cytotoxicity effect of Mentha species.  The Labiatae family comprises some of the most recognized and famous therapeutic herbs. Many bioactive components found in Mentha species have anticancer activity.  Making them potential lead molecules for the development of novel anticancer medications. Mentha piperita had high cytotoxicity against a human breast cancer cell line MCF-7.
    Peppermint leaves contain a phytonutrient that inhibits the growth of malignant tumors in the pancreas, liver, and mammary glands. Hence guarding against lung, colon, and skin cancer. They also include menthol, which may suppress the growth of prostate cancer.
  • Menstrual cramp relief: Due to Peppermint, women’s period discomfort can be less intense and last fewer times.
  • Treat Headaches and migraines: Menthol is peppermint’s primary active component. It can lower the pain of migraine headaches, according to certain modest studies. I can treat other symptoms including light sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting. According to several studies, using peppermint oil on your forehead and temples may also relieve tension headaches.
Diksha Rajwar is a licensed pharmacist and loves to write. She has experience in the cosmetic industry as a Research and Development Associate. Diksha is passionate about driving positive change through research and outreach. She earned her master’s degree in pharmacy (Pharmaceutics) from the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University of Lucknow. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in pharmacy from Sardar Bhagwan Singh Post Graduate Institute of Biomedical Science, Dehradun, Uttarakhand. She is especially passionate about educating people on the traditional system of medicine i.e, Ayurveda, and on the use of natural herbal plants in daily life to keep away from diseases.


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