Peppermint

Peppermint

As the holiday season is upon us, so are some of our favorite holiday treats like candy canes, peppermint patties, peppermint bark, and so much more! The common ingredient in all of these treats, peppermint, is not only deliciously flavorful, but it also happens to be very healthy. Aside from being a wintery delight, peppermint has many soothing healing properties that can be used to treat a number of ailments.

Peppermint has been a widely popular plant of choice for medicinal purposes since ancient times. This versatile plant is one of the oldest used throughout a variety of cultures around the world. Peppermint’s uses have been dated back as far as 1,000 B.C. in Egyptian culture. It was also very common in European culture, as well as ancient Chinese and Japanese Folk medicine.

If something has been around for hundreds of years, it’s probably pretty legitimate right?

Yes, and here’s why…

Peppermint naturally provides a very therapeutic and calming relief for the body, while it also holds antiseptic and antibacterial properties. You can use peppermint leaves, peppermint essential oil, or peppermint extract to reap the benefits of this amazing plant.  Here are some of the most common uses for peppermint:

  • Reduce Nausea:  Studies have been done that show peppermint can help with upset stomachs and indigestion. To use peppermint for this purpose, try adding a drop or two of peppermint oil to a small glass of water.
  • Muscle Pain Relief:  Peppermint essential oil can act as a very effective natural pain reliever as it helps relieve muscle spasms and soothes sore muscles and tension in the body. To help with muscle tension, try either rubbing peppermint oil on sore muscles or putting a few drops of the essential oil into a warm bath to soak your muscles in it.
  • Sinus Relief:  Peppermint has been known to help clear nasal congestion, as well as relieve cold and cough symptoms. Peppermint can be inhaled through a vaporizer or used as a chest rub to help clear out gunk in your nose and throat.  It’s a great natural decongestant.
  • Headache Relief:  Peppermint can be used to help diminish tension headache pain by applying peppermint oil to the temples or forehead. You can also try inhaling the peppermint aroma.
  • Indigestion & Bloating:  Peppermint oil helps relax muscles in the intestines, which in turn reduces gas and bloating. You can try drinking peppermint tea or adding a drop of peppermint oil to your water before eating.
  • Improve Memory:  Peppermint has been shown to increase memory, focus, and alertness.
  • IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) Relief: Peppermint oil in the form of a capsule has been used to help treat IBS effectively and naturally.

Make Your Own Healthy Peppermint Treats!

Here’s a recipe we found for healthier peppermint patties. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Recipe from:  http://ohsheglows.com/2013/12/08/creamy-dreamy-peppermint-patties-vegan-gf/

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soakedpeppermint patty
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3-4 tablespoons agave nectar, to taste (I used 4 tbsp)
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight, or for at least 2-3 hours. If your blender isn’t great at blending things smooth, I suggest soaking overnight for the best results.
  2. Drain and rinse the cashews after soaking.
  3. Add the cashews, melted coconut oil, agave, milk, and peppermint extract into a high-speed blender. Blend on the highest speed until completely smooth. This can take a couple minutes.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grab mini cupcake/candy liners. Add a half tablespoon of filling into each liner. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat until you don’t have any filling left (you should get about 22-25). Freeze, uncovered, for 20-35 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
  5. After freezing, quickly pop the patties out of the cupcake liners and set each on top of their respective liner. Return to the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up even more.
  6. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a small pot over the lowest heat. When half of the chips have melted, remove it from the heat and stir until all the chips are melted. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly for a few minutes before dunking the patties.
  7. Remove the patties from the freezer and dunk them into the melted chocolate with a fork. Tap the side to shake off excess chocolate and place on parchment paper. Do this step as quickly as possible so the patties don’t melt. Update: Some of you are having trouble with the chocolate thickening up as you do this step. If this happens, I suggest heating the chocolate again over low heat to thin it back out. The cold peppermint patties are probably causing it to thicken with time. Another option is to just drizzle the chocolate on top of the patties.
  8. Return the patties to the freezer until set, for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate coating is firm. Store leftover patties in the freezer/fridge until ready to enjoy!

 

Sources:

http://draxe.com/peppermint-oil-uses-benefits/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/10/14/peppermint-health-benefits.aspx