Botanical: Mentha piperita (SM.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
---Habitat---The plant is found throughout
Europe, in moist situations, along stream banks and in
waste lands, and is not unfrequent In damp places in
England, but is not a common native plant, and probably
is often an escape from cultivation. In America it is
probably even more common as an escape than Spearmint,
having long been known and grown in gardens.
Of the members of the mint family under cultivation
the most important are the several varieties of the
Peppermint (Mentha piperita), extensively
cultivated for years as the source of the well-known
volatile oil of Peppermint, used as a flavouring and
leaves of this kind of mint are shortly but distinctly
stalked, 2 inches or more in length, and 3/4 to 1 1/2
inches broad, their margins finely toothed, their
surfaces smooth, both above and beneath, or only very
slightly, hardly visibly, hairy on the principal veins
and mid-rib on the underside. The stems, 2 to 4 feet
high, are quadrangular, often purplish. The whorled
clusters of little reddish-violet flowers are in the
axils of the upper leaves, forming loose, interrupted
spikes, and rarely bear seeds. The entire plant has a
very characteristic odour, due to the volatile oil
present in all its parts, which when applied to the
tongue has a hot, aromatic taste at first, and
afterwards produces a sensation of cold in the mouth
caused by the menthol it contains.
us that the Greeks and Romans crowned themselves with
Peppermint at their feasts and adorned their tables with
its sprays, and that their cooks flavoured both their
sauces and their wines with its essence. Two species of
mint were used by the ancient Greek physicians, but some
writers doubt whether either was the modern Peppermint,
though there is evidence that M. piperita was
cultivated by the Egyptians. It is mentioned in the
Icelandic Pharmacopoeias of the thirteenth century, but
only came into general use in the medicine of Western
Europe about the middle of the eighteenth century, and
then was first used in England.
It was only recognized here as a distinct species
late in the seventeenth century, when the great
botanist, Ray, published it in the second edition of his
Synopsis stirpium britannicorum, 1696. Its
medicinal properties were speedily recognized, and it
was admitted into the London Pharmacopceia in 1721,
under M. piperitis sapore. The oldest existing
Peppermint district is in the neighbourhood of Mitcham,
in Surrey, where its cultivation from a commercial point
of view dates from about 1750, at which period only a
few acres of ground there were devoted to medicinal
plants. At the end of the eighteenth century, above 100
acres were cropped with Peppermint, but so late as 1805
there were no stills at Mitcham, and the herb had to be
carried to London for the extraction of the oil. By 1850
there were already about 500 acres under cultivation at
Mitcham, and at the present day the English Peppermint
plantations are still chiefly located in this district,
though it is grown in several other parts of England -
in Herts at Hitchin, and in Cambs at Wisbech, in
Lincolnshire at Market Deeping and also at Holbeach
(where the cultivation and distillation of English
Peppermint oil, now carried on with the most up-to-date
improvements was commenced over seventy years ago).
There is room for a further extension of its
cultivation, owing to the great superiority of the
English product in pungency and flavour.
Most of London's supplies are grown in a triangle
with its base on a line Kingston to Croydon, and its
apex at Chipstead in Surrey. This triangle includes
Mitcham, still the centre of the Peppermint-growing and
distilling industry, the district proving to be
specially suited to the crop. There are large Peppermint
farms at Banstead and Cheam.
On the Continent Peppermint was first grown in 1771
at Utrecht, but it is now grown in considerable amounts
in several countries. In France it is cultivated in the
Departments of the Yonne and du Nord, French Peppermint
Oil being distilled at Grasse and Cannes, as well as in
the Basses-Alpes, Haute-Garonne and other parts, though
the French varieties of M. piperita are not
identical with those cultivated in England. The variety
cultivated in France is known as 'Red Mint' and can grow
on certain soils where the true Peppermint does not
grow. The 'Red Mint' can be cultivated for four or five
years in the same field, but the true M. piperita
can be cultivated in the same field for two years only.
'Red Mint' gives a higher yield of oil, but is of
inferior quality. In the Siagne Valley, it is calculated
that 300 kilos of fresh plant produce 1 kilo of
essential oil, elsewhere a yield of 2 kilos to about
1,000 kilos of stems and green leaves is claimed. It has
been proved by experience that all parts of the plant do
not give the same proportion of oil, and it is more
abundant when the plants have been grown in a hot region
and have flowered to the best advantage.
The product of absolutely genuine English plants
cultivated in French soil varies according to the
district, for the soil has a very important influence
upon the flavour of the oil and also the climate:
badly-drained ground is known to give unfavourable
results both as to the quantity and quality of the oil.
An oil very similar to Mitcham oil, and of an
excellent quality, is distilled from English plants
grown in Italy, mostly in Piedmont and also in Sicily.
Next to the essential oils of lemon and orange, that
obtained from Peppermint enjoys a high reputation among
the numerous volatile oils produced by Italy. Vigone and
Pancalieri are the centres of the cultivation and
distillation of Peppermint in the province of Turin.
This district, which has been designated the 'Mitcham of
Italy,' yields annually about 11,000,000 kilograms of
Peppermint, from which 25,000 to 27,000 kilograms of
essential oil are obtained. A new variety of Peppermint,
found at Lutra on the island of Tino, in the Grecian
Archipelago, has been cultivated in the Royal Colonial
Garden at Palermo.
A small amount of Peppermint oil of good quality is
distilled from plantations in Germany, at Miltitz, in
Saxony and near Leipzig, where the little town of
Colleda, before the War, produced annually as much as
40,000 cwt. of the herb. Russia also produces some
Peppermint, in the Ukraine and the Caucasus, but most of
it is used in the country itself.
With regard to Hungarian oil of Peppermint, organized
effort to secure improvement began in 1904 and has been
greatly developed. Hungarian oil compares favourably
with American oil of Peppermint as regards percentage of
Menthol contained: Hungarian oil yielding 43 to 56 per
cent of free menthol, and 35 to 65 per cent of total
menthol; while American oil yields 40 to 45 per cent
free menthol and 60 per cent total menthol.
Peppermint oil distilled in 1914 from Mitcham plants
grown at Molo, in the highlands of British East Africa,
possesses a most excellent aroma, quite free of
bitterness, and a very high figure indeed for the
menthol contained, and there is no question that this
source of supply should be an important one in the
The United States, however, are now the most
important producers of Peppermint oil, producing -
mostly in Michigan, where its cultivation was introduced
in 1855, Indiana, the western districts of New York
State, and to a smaller extent in Ohio - rather under
half of the world's total output of the oil. The whole
of the Peppermint cultivation is confined to the
north-east portion of the United States, and the extreme
south of Canada, where some is grown in the province of
Ontario. The first small distillery was erected in Wayne
County, New York State, in the early part of last
century, and at the present day the industry has
increased to such an extent, that there are portions of
Michigan where thousands of acres are planted with
nothing else but Peppermint.
English oil is incomparably the best, but it fetches
a very high price, and the French oil, though much
inferior, is of finer quality than the American.
The problem is to obtain a strain of mint plants
which would yield larger quantities of oil in our
climate. It is possible that varieties yielding a more
abundant supply of essential oils might be secured by
persistent endeavour, without reducing our English
standard of refinement. Also economy in harvesting and
distilling should be studied. If our English oils could
be reduced in price, they would replace the foreign to a
greater or less extent depending upon the reduction in
cost of production.
There are several varieties of Peppermint. The two
chief, the so-called 'Black' and 'White' mints are the
ones extensively cultivated. Botanically there is little
difference between them, but the stems and leaves of the
'Black' mint are tinged purplish-brown, while the stems
of the 'White' variety are green, and the leaves are
more coarsely serrated in the White. The oil furnished
by the Black is of inferior quality, but more abundant
than that obtained from the White, the yield of oil from
which is generally only about four-fifths of that from
an equal area of the Black, but it has a more delicate
odour and obtains a higher price. The plant is also more
delicate, being easily destroyed by frost or drought; it
is principally grown for drying in bundles - technically
termed 'bunching,' and is the kind chiefly dried for
herbalists, the Black variety being more generally grown
for the oil on account of its greater productivity and
hardiness. The variety grown at Mitcham is classified by
some authorities as M. piperita, var. rubra.
Peppermint and Spearmint thrive best in a fairly warm,
preferably moist climate, and in deep soils rich in
humus and retentive of moisture, but fairly open in
texture and well drained, either naturally or
These conditions are frequently combined in
effectively drained swamp lands, but the plants may also
be commercially cultivated in well-prepared upland
soils, such as would produce good corn, oil or potatoes.
Though a moist situation is preferable, Peppermint will
succeed in most soils, when once started into growth and
carefully cultivated. It flourishes well in what are
known in America as muck land, that is, those broad
level areas, often several thousand acres in extent, of
deep fertile soil, the beds of ancient lakes and swamps
where the remains of ages of growths of aquatic
vegetation have accumulated. In Michigan and Indiana,
where there are large areas of such land, mint culture
has become highly specialized, a considerable part of
the acreage being controlled by a few well-equipped
growers able to handle the product in an economical
manner, who have of late years installed their own
upto-date distilling plants. The cultivation of
Peppermint is a growing industry now also on the
reclaimed lands of Louisiana.
The usual method of mint cultivation on these farms
in America is to dig runners in the early spring and lay
them in shallow trenches, 3 feet apart in well-prepared
soil. The growing crop is kept well cultivated and
absolutely free from weeds and in the summer when the
plant is in full bloom, the mint is cut by hand and
distilled in straw. A part of the exhausted herb is
dried and used for cattle food, for which it possesses
considerable value. The rest is cut and composted and
eventually ploughed into the ground as fertilizer.
The area selected for Peppermint growing should be
cropped for one or two years with some plant that
requires a frequent tillage. The tillage is also
continued as long as possible during the growth of the
mint, for successful mint-growing implies clean culture
at all stages of progress.
In one of our chief English plantations the following
mode of cultivation is adopted. A rich and friable soil,
retentive of moisture is selected, and the ground is
well tilled 8 to 10 inches deep. The plants are
propagated in the spring, usually in April and May. When
the young shoots from the crop of the previous year have
attained a height of about 4 inches, they are pulled up
and transplanted into new soil, in shallow furrows about
2 feet apart, lightly covered with about 2 inches of
soil. They grow vigorously the first year and throw out
numerous stolons and runners on the surface of the
ground. After the crop has been removed, these are
allowed to harden or become woody, and then farmyard
manure is scattered over the field and ploughed in. In
this way the stolons are divided into numerous pieces
and covered with soil before the frost sets in,
otherwise if the autumn is wet, they are liable to
become sodden and rot, and the next crop fails. In the
spring the fields are dressed with Peruvian Guano.
manuring is essential, and the quantity and nature of
the manure has a great effect on the characteristics of
the oil. Mineral salts are found to be of much value.
Nitrate of Soda, applied at the rate of 50 to 150
lb. to the acre both stimulates the growth of foliage
and improves the quality of the essence. Half the total
quantity should be applied a month before planting and
the remainder a month before the harvest. Potash,
also, is particularly useful against a form of chlorosis
or 'rust' (Puccinia menthoe) due, apparently, to
too much water in the soil, as it often appears after
moist, heavy weather in August, which causes the foliage
to drop off and leave the stems almost bare, in which
circumstances the rust is liable to attack the plants.
Some authorities have calculated that an acre of
Peppermint requires 84 lb. of Nitrogen, 37 lb. of
Phosphoric Acid and 139 lb. of Potash. Ground Bone and
Lime do not seem to be of marked benefit. The top
dressing of the running roots with fine loam either by
ploughing as above described, or otherwise, is very
essential before winter sets in.
In the south of France, sewage (1,300 lb. per acre)
is extensively used, together with Sesame seeds from
which the oil has been expressed. The latter are
especially suited for light and limey soils, and are
either worked in before planting or placed directly in
the furrows with the plants. Up to 5,000 or 6,000 lb.
per acre are applied, giving a crop of from 2,100 to
2,600 lb. per acre. The residues from the distillation
of the crop are invariably used as manure. It is found,
however, that although these manures supply sufficient
nitrogen, they are deficient in phosphoric acid and
potash. This shortage must be made up by chemical
manures, otherwise the soil will become exhausted.
Chemical manures alone are equally unsatisfactory
in soils poor in organic matter. In conjunction with
organic manures they give excellent results.
On suitable soil and with proper cultivation, yields
of from 2 to 3 tons of Peppermint herb per acre may be
expected, but large yields can only be expected from
fields that are in the best possible condition. A fair
average for well-managed commercial plantings may be
said to be 30 lb. of oil per acre,but the yield of oil
is always variable, ranging from only a few pounds to,
in extremely favourable cases, nearly 100 lb. per acre.
About 325 lb. of Peppermint, nearly 3 cwt., are required
to produce a pound of oil in commercial practice, i.e.
about 7 lb. of oil are generally obtained from 1 ton of
the herb. The price varies as widely as the yield, the
value depending upon the chemical composition.
The presence of weeds among the Peppermint,
especially other species of Mentha, is an
important cause of deterioration to the oil. M.
arvensis, the Corn Mint, if allowed to settle and
increase among the crop to such an extent as not to be
easily separated, has been known when distilled to
absolutely ruin the flavour of the latter. In new ground
the Peppermint requires handweeding two or three times,
as the hoe cannot be used without injury to the plant.
In America great detriment is occasioned by the
growth of Erigeron canadensis, and newly cleared
ground planted with Peppermint, is liable to the
intrusion of another plant of the order Compositae,
Erechtites hieracifolia, which is also highly
injurious to the quality of the oil.
requires frequent irrigation. In the south of France the
crop is irrigated on the I5th of May, and thereafter
every eight or ten days. When the plants are fully
developed they are watered at least three times a week.
It is important to keep the soil constantly moist,
although well drained. Absorption of water makes the
shoots more tender, thus facilitating cutting, and
causes a large quantity of green matter to be produced.
A plantation lasts about four years, the best output
being the second year. The fourth-year crop is rarely
good. A crop that yields a high percentage of essential
oil exhausts the ground as a rule, and after cropping
with Peppermint for four years, the land must be put to
some other purpose for at least seven years. In some
parts of France the plantations are renewed annually
with the object of obtaining vigorous plants.
Few pests trouble Peppermint, though crickets,
grasshoppers and caterpillars may always do some damage.
is cut just before flowering, from the end of July to
the end of August in England and France, according to
local conditions. Sometimes when well irrigated and
matured, a second crop can be obtained in September.
With new plantations the harvest is generally early in
Harvesting should be carried out on a dry, sunny day,
in the late morning, when all traces of dew have
disappeared. The first year's crop is always cut with
the sickle to prevent injury to the stolons. The herb of
the second and third years is cut with scythes and then
raked into loose heaps ready for carting to the stills.
In many places, the custom is to let the herb lie on
the ground for a time in these small bundles or cocks.
In other countries the herb is distilled as soon as cut.
Again, certain distillers prefer the plants to be
previously dried or steamed. The subject is much
debated, but the general opinion is that it is best to
distil as soon as cut, and the British Pharmacopceia
directs that the oil be distilled from the fresh
flowering plant. Even under the best conditions of
drying, there is a certain loss of essential oil. If the
herbs lie in heaps for any time, fermentation is bound
to occur, reducing the quality and quantity of the oil,
as laboratory experiments have proved. Should it be
impossible to treat all the crop as cut, it should be
properly dried on the same system as that adopted for
other medicinal plants. The loss is then small.
Variation in the chemical composition of the essence
should be brought about by manuring, rather than by the
system of harvesting, though in America the loss caused
by partial drying in the field is not regarded by
growers as sufficient to offset the increased cost of
handling and distilling the green herb. Exposure to
frost must, however, be avoided, as frozen mint yields
scarcely half the quantity of oil which could otherwise
At Market Deeping the harvest usually commences in
the beginning or middle of August, or as soon as the
plant begins to flower and lasts for six weeks, the
stills being kept going night and day. The herb is
carted direct from the fields to the stills, which are
made of copper and contain about 5 cwt. of the herb.
Before putting the Peppermint into the still, water is
poured in to a depth of about 2 feet, at which height a
false bottom is placed, and on this the herb is then
trodden down by men. The lid is then let down, and under
pressure the distillation is conducted by the
application of direct heat at the lowest possible
temperature, and is continued for about 4 1/2 hours. The
lid is then removed, and the false bottom with the
Peppermint resting on it is raised by a windlass, and
the Peppermint carried away in the empty carts on their
return journey to the fields, where it is placed in
heaps and allowed to rot, being subsequently mixed with
manure applied to the fields in the autumn. The usual
yield of oil, if the season be warm and dry, is 1 OZ.
from 5 lb. of the fresh flowering plant, but if wet and
unfavourable, the product is barely half that quantity.
If the cut green tops have some distance to travel to
the distillery, they should be cut late in the
afternoon, so as to be sent off by a night train to
arrive at their destination next morning, or they would
be apt to heat and ferment and lose colour.
Since the oil is the chief marketable product,
adequate distilling facilities and a market for the oil
are essential to success in the industry, and the
prospective Peppermint grower should assure himself on
these points before investing capital in plantations.
There is also a market, chiefly for herbalists, for
the dried herb, which is gathered at the same time of
year. It should be cut shortly above the base, leaving
some leafbuds, and not including the lowest shrivelled
or discoloured leaves and tied loosely into bundles by
the stalk-ends, about twenty to the bundle on the
average, and the bundles of equal length, about 6
inches, to facilitate packing, and dried over strings as
described for Spearmint. Two or three days will be
sufficient to dry.
Peppermint culture on suitable soils gives fair
average returns when intelligently conducted from year
to year. The product, however, is liable to fluctuation
in prices, and the cost of establishing the crop and the
annual expenses of cultivation are high.
essential oils, Peppermint ranks first in importance. It
is a colourless, yellowish or greenish liquid, with a
peculiar, highly penetrating odour and a burning,
camphorescent taste. It thickens and becomes reddish
with age, but improves in mellowness, even if kept as
long as ten or fourteen years.
The chief constituent of Peppermint oil is Menthol,
but it also contains menthyl acetate and isovalerate,
together with menthone, cineol, inactive pinene,
limonene and other less important bodies.
On cooling to a low temperature, separation of
Menthol occurs, especially if a few crystals of that
substance be added to start crystallization.
The value of the oil depends much upon the
composition. The principal ester constituent, menthyl
acetate, possesses a very fragrant minty odour, to which
the agreeable aroma of the oil is largely due. The
alcoholic constituent, Menthol, possesses the wellknown
penetrating minty odour and characteristic cooling
taste. The flavouring properties of the oil are due
largely to both the ester and alcoholic constituents,
while the medicinal value is attributed to the latter
only. The most important determination to be made in the
examination of Peppermint oil, is that of the total
amount of Menthol, but the Menthone value is also
frequently required. The English oil contains 60 to 70
per cent of Menthol, the Japanese oil containing 85 per
cent, and the American less than ours, only about 50 per
cent. The odour and taste afford a good indication of
the quality of the oil, and by this means it is quite
possible to distinguish between English, American and
Menthol is obtained from various species of Mentha
and is imported into England, chiefly from Japan. The
oils from which it is chiefly obtained are those from
M. arvensis, var. piperascens, in Japan,
M. arvensis, var. glabrata in China, and
M. piperita in America.
Japan, and to a certain extent China, produce large
quantities of Peppermint oil distilled from the plants
just mentioned. The oils produced from these plants are
greatly inferior to those distilled from M. piperita,
but have the advantage of containing a large proportion
of Menthol, of which they are the commercial source.
The Japanese Menthol plant is now being grown in
South Australia, having been introduced there by the
Germans from Japan.
Chinese Peppermint oil is largely distilled at
Canton, a considerable quantity being sent to Bombay,
also a large quantity of Menthol. Peppermint is chiefly
cultivated in the province of Kiang-si.
M. incana, cultivated near Bombay as a herb,
also possesses the flavour of Peppermint.
M. arvensis, var. javanesa, growing in
Ceylon, has not the flavour of Peppermint, but that of
the garden mint, while the type form of M. arvensis,
growing wild in Great Britain, has an odour so different
from Peppermint that it has to be carefully removed from
the field lest it should spoil the flavour of the
Peppermint oil when the herb is distilled.
The Japanese have long recognized the value of
Menthol, and over 200 years ago carried it about with
them in little silver boxes hanging from their girdles.
The distillation of oil of Peppermint forms a
considerable industry in Japan. The chief centre of
cultivation is the province of Uzen, in the north-east
of the island of Hondo, the largest of the Japanese
Islands, and much is grown in the northern island of
Hokkaido, but the best oil is produced in the southern
districts of Okayama and Hiroshimo, the second largest
Peppermint area in Japan, the yield of mint being yearly
on the increase. The mint crop is a favourite one for
farmers, owing to the distilling work it furnishes
during the long and otherwise unprofitable winter.
The roots are planted at the end of November and
beginning of December. The plant, which needs a light,
well-drained soil, attains its full growth during the
summer months and is cut in the latter part of July,
during August and in the early part of September, three
cuttings being made during the season. The third cutting
yields the greatest percentage of oil and menthol
crystals. The preliminary steps in the manufacture of
Menthol are carried out by the farmers themselves, with
the aid of stills of a simple design. The Peppermint
plants are first dried in sheds, or under cover from the
sun for thirty days. Then they are placed in the stills
where they undergo a process of steaming. The resulting
vapours are led off through pipes into cooling chambers,
are condensed and deposited as crude Peppermint oil.
This crude Peppermint is shipped to Yokohama and Kobe to
the Menthol factories, of which there are over seventy
in various parts of Japan, specially equipped for
obtaining the full amount of Menthol. The residue of
dementholized oil is further refined to the standard of
purity required in the trade, and is known as Japanese
Peppermint oil. The oil (known in Japan under the name
of Hakka no abura) is exported from Hiogo and
Osaka, but is frequently adulterated. The cheapest
variety of Peppermint oil available in commerce is this
partially dementholized oil imported from Japan,
containing only 50 per cent of Menthol.
Adulteration of American Peppermint oil with
dementholized Japanese oil, known as Menthene, which is
usually cheaper than American oil, is frequently
practised. The failure of the mint crop in America in
1925 and the consequent scarcity and high price of the
American oil caused this adulteration to be very
The Japanese oil, termed by the Americans Corn-Mint
oil and not recognized by the United States
Pharmacopoeia, is at best only a substitute in
confectionery and other products, such as tooth-pastes,
etc. There are other varieties of so-called Peppermint
oil on the market which are residues from
Mentholmanufacture and are inferior even to the oil
imported from Japan. These are not suitable for use in
As Japanese Peppermint oil, after being freed from
Menthol crystals, is inferior both in taste and odour to
English and American oil, experiments have been made in
Japan with the cultivation of English and American
Peppermint, but so far without success.
oil is occasionally used as an adulterant of Peppermint
oil, also Cedarwood oil and oil of African Copaiba. The
oil is also often adulterated with one-third part of
rectified spirit, which may be detected by the milkiness
produced when the oil is agitated by water. Oil of
Rosemary and oil of Turpentine are sometimes used for
the same purpose. If the oil contains turpentine it will
explode with iodine. If quite pure, it dissolves in its
own weight of rectified spirits of wine.
In the form in which Menthol is imported, it bears
some resemblance to Epsom Salts, with which it is
Before the War about half the Menthol crystals
exported from Japan were sent to Germany. During the War
the United States became the largest purchaser of these
crystals, followed in order by Great Britain, France and
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Peppermint
oil is the most extensively used of all the volatile
oils, both medicinally and commercially. The
characteristic anti-spasmodic action of the volatile oil
is more marked in this than in any other oil, and
greatly adds to its power of relieving pains arising in
the alimentary canal.
From its stimulating, stomachic and carminative
properties, it is valuable in certain forms of
dyspepsia, being mostly used for flatulence and colic.
It may also be employed for other sudden pains and for
cramp in the abdomen; wide use is made of Peppermint in
cholera and diarrhoea.
It is generally combined with other medicines when
its stomachic effects are required, being also employed
with purgatives to prevent griping. Oil of Peppermint
allays sickness and nausea, and is much used to disguise
the taste of unpalatable drugs, as it imparts its
aromatic characteristics to whatever prescription it
enters into. It is used as an infants' cordial.
The oil itself is often given on sugar and added to
pills, also a spirit made from the oil, but the
preparation in most general use is Peppermint Water,
which is the oil and water distilled together.
Peppermint Water and spirit of Peppermint are
official preparations of the British Pharmacopoeia.
In flatulent colic, spirit of Peppermint in hot water
is a good household remedy, also the oil given in doses
of one or two drops on sugar.
Peppermint is good to assist in raising internal heat
and inducing perspiration, although its strength is soon
exhausted. In slight colds or early indications of
disease, a free use of Peppermint tea will, in most
cases, effect a cure, an infusion of 1 ounce of the
dried herb to a pint of boiling water being employed,
taken in wineglassful doses; sugar and milk may be added
An infusion of equal quantities of Peppermint herb
and Elder flowers (to which either Yarrow or Boneset may
be added) will banish a cold or mild attack of influenza
within thirty-six hours, and there is no danger of an
overdose or any harmful action on the heart. Peppermint
tea is used also for palpitation of the heart.
In cases of hysteria and nervous disorders, the
usefulness of an infusion of Peppermint has been found
to be well augmented by the addition of equal quantities
of Wood Betony, its operation being hastened by the
addition to the infusion of a few drops of tincture of
extract, 1/4 to 1 drachm. Oil, 1/2 to 3 drops. Spirit,
B.P., 5 to 20 drops. Water, B.P. and U.S.P., 4 drachms.
The following simple preparation has been found
useful in insomnia:
1 OZ. Peppermint herb, cut fine, 1/2 OZ. Rue herb,
1/2 OZ. Wood Betony. Well mix and place a large
tablespoonful in a teacup, fill with boiling water, stir
and cover for twenty minutes, strain and sweeten, and
drink the warm infusion on going to bed.
- A very useful and harmless preparation for
children during teething is prepared as follows:
- 1/2 OZ. Peppermint herb, 1/2 OZ. Scullcap herb,
1/2 OZ. Pennyroyal herb. Pour on 1 pint of boiling
water, cover and let it stand in a warm place thirty
minutes. Strain and sweeten to taste, and given
frequently in teaspoonful doses, warm.
Boiled in milk and drunk hot, Peppermint herb is good
for abdominal pains. 'Aqua Mirabilis' is a term applied
on the Continent to an aromatic water which is taken for
internal pains. It is a water distilled from herbs,
sometimes used in the following form:
Cinnamon oil, Fennel oil, Lavender oil, Peppermint
oil, Rosemary oil, Sage oil, of each 1 part; Spirit, 350
parts; Distilled water, 644 parts.
Menthol is used in medicine to relieve the pain of
rheumatism, neuralgia, throat affections and toothache.
It acts also as a local anaesthetic, vascular stimulant
and disinfectant. For neuralgia, rheumatism and lumbago
it is used in plasters and rubbed on the temples; it
will frequently cure neuralgic headaches. It is inhaled
for chest complaints, and nasal catarrh, laryngitis or
bronchitis are often alleviated by it. It is also used
internally as a stimulant or carminative. On account of
its anaesthetic effect on the nerveendings of the
stomach, it is of use to prevent sea-sickness, the dose
being 1/2 to 2 grains. The bruised fresh leaves of the
plant will, if applied, relieve local pains and
headache, and in rheumatic affections the skin may be
painted beneficially with the oil.
Oil of Peppermint has been recommended in puerperal
fevers. 30 to 40 minims, in divided doses, in the
twenty-four hours, have been employed with satisfactory
results, a stimulating aperient preceding its use.
The local anaesthetic action of Peppermint oil is
exceptionally strong. It is also powerfully antiseptic,
the two properties making it valuable in the relief of
toothache and in the treatment of cavities in the teeth.
Sanitary engineers use Peppermint oil to test the
tightness of pipe joints. It has the faculty of making
its escape, and by its pungent odour betraying the
presence of leaks.
A new use for Peppermint oil has been found in
connexion with the gas-mask drill on the vessels of the
United States Navy.
Paste may be kept almost any length of time by the
use of the essential oil of Peppermint to prevent mould.
Rats dislike Peppermint, a fact that is made use of
by ratcatchers, who, when clearing a building of rats,
will block up most of their holes with rags soaked in
oil of Peppermint and drive them by ferrets through the
remaining holes into bags.