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Peppermint is a hybrid mint that combines the flavors of spearmint and watermint. The plant is native to Europe and the Middle East, but it is now extensively distributed and grown around the world. It can be encountered in the wild with its parent species on rare occasions.
Peppermint is now recommended for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), other digestive issues, the common cold, sinus infections, headaches, and a variety of other ailments. Peppermint oil is recommended for use topically (on the skin) for headaches, muscular pains, joint discomfort, and itching.
Peppermint thrives in wet, shady environments and spreads by subterranean rhizomes. Young shoots are dug into the ground about 0.5 m (1.5 ft) away from old stocks. If the ground is always moist, they develop swiftly and blanket the ground with runners. It is commonly cultivated in pots by amateur gardeners to prevent fast spread. It thrives well in regions with partial sun to shade and an adequate supply of water without becoming waterlogged.
The blooming tops and leaves are used; they are harvested as soon as the flowers open and can be dried. The plant’s wild form is less ideal for this use, while cultivated plants have been chosen for higher oil content. They can be let to wilt for a few hours before distillation, or they can be put straight to the still.
Peppermint oil is commonly used to relieve itchy and irritation on the skin, as well as to reduce redness. However, before applying it to the skin, it should always be diluted.
In 2014, the globe produced 92,296 tonnes of peppermint, with Morocco accounting for 92 percent of the total, according to the United Nations’ FAOSTAT. Argentina was responsible for 8% of the global total.
Peppermint is grown mostly in Oregon and Washington in the United States, and the leaves are processed for the essential oil, which is used to make flavorings for chewing gum and toothpaste.
Peppermint leaves, fresh or dried, are frequently used alone in peppermint tea or in herbal teas with other herbs (tisanes, infusions). Ice cream, confectionery, fruit preserves, alcoholic drinks, chewing gum, toothpaste, and several shampoos, soaps, and skin care products all include peppermint.
Menthol is the major source of the cooling feeling that follows the topical application of peppermint oil because it stimulates cold-sensitive TRPM8 receptors in the skin and mucosal tissues.