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Peppermint Is So Cool!

Overhead picture of a peppermint plant

On a chilly day I love a nice hot cup of tea. It warms my throat and tummy from the inside, and my hands and fingers get nice and toasty as I hold the cup. When my friends come to my house for a visit, they know they are going to be offered a cup, and they always have fun choosing from the pretty considerable variety of teas from my "Tea drawer." I always keep it well stocked with a wide choice of tea blends, varying from caffeinated to herbal, as well as medicinal herbal teas. The latter are usually not so much for my guests as they are for me. But, once in a while a friend will drop by, either needing a medicinal tea, or just wanting to step out of their Celestial Seasonings comfort zone and actually try a spot of something different, like say, valerian root tea- a stinky little herb that just so happens to be one of my favorites, and is pretty darn tasty once you get the bag in the water. It's mother Nature's chill pill, and it just makes everything feel better! But most people won't voluntarily choose valerian root because they aren't too keen on dunking something that smells like dirty socks into their tea cup. So goes with many of the medicinal herbal teas. You usually make a blend of a medicinal herb, along with a few yummy herbs, so you end up with a pleasurable enough beverage to enjoy while also reaping it's therapeutic benefits. Of all of the teas that I have had the pleasure of drinking in my lifetime, there are a few that I always have on hand, and actually grow in my herb garden, because they are a medicinal, as well as, a yummy herb. One of those herbs is peppermint.

Peppermint is a beautiful plant, and a fragrant member of the mint family, that grows well in any garden. And sometimes it will take off on you and grow a little too well- jumping into your lawn, your potted plants, the cracks of your sidewalks, and other surrounding areas. I personally don't necessarily consider that as a bad thing though. I like to have a lot growing, since I will be harvesting and drying it, to have a supply for the winter months. When I'm working out in the garden, sometimes I will chew a leaf or two to freshen my breath and cool me down. Peppermint is also great to rub on my skin to repel mosquitos, as well as to soothe their bites- those tiny, flying vampires! Used peppermint tea bags also work great topically for soothing insect bites, rashes, and bruises. It increases blood flow, so rubbing a couple of drops of the essential oil on your temples and the back of your neck is a quick way to cool yourself down, and to ease a headache.

Peppermint boasts a pretty amazing nutrition profile as well! The macronutrients are impressive in their own right, but the micronutrients take center stage! 100 grams (about 3/8 of a cup) has 53% of your daily value of vitamin C, 28% of iron, 24% calcium, and 20% magnesium. So throw some in your salads, smoothies and stir fries! Peppermint tea is caffeine free, calorie free, and relaxing to your muscles- helping you to wind down before bed. It also improves digestion as well as easing digestive issues and nausea. So, try a cup of delicious peppermint tea instead of gobbling down those antacids that aren't doing your bone density any favors! It's safe for your littles, to help ease sinus congestion, and with upset little tummies too.

Next time you're at your local plant nursery, farmer's market, or garden center, grab yourself a peppermint plant- Or Two! And give it a home in your garden, or in a pot on your patio. A pleasing little pop of green, a pleasant scent, and some potent plant medicine. You'll be glad you did!

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