Let’s talk mint. Specifically, let’s talk about peppermint tea benefits. Not only is peppermint tea delicious and refreshing, it has a ton of health benefits! Some people say that it’s the best tea for weight loss, it fights flu symptoms, it reduces stress – and the list could go on. Peppermint in any form is good for you, but there’s something relaxing about drinking a nice cup of peppermint tea. This article will tell you all of the reasons that you should have more peppermint in your life!
A Brief History of Peppermint Tea
Interestingly, peppermint is actually a cross between spearmint and water mint, which is native to Europe. It became a global commodity (traveling to America aboard the Mayflower if not earlier!) for its many medicinal properties. Peppermint tea is also caffeine free, which is a huge bonus. In general, it’s recommended that you don’t drink more than 400mg of caffeine per day. (For context, an 8oz cup of coffee has 95mg of caffeine, and one ounce of dark chocolate has 12mg of caffeine.)
Peppermint tea is also one of the easiest teas to make since it’s just peppermint leaves steeped in hot water. You can grow some fresh peppermint in your garden (or kitchen!), pluck a few leaves, and make yourself a nice fresh cup. More on recommendations for brewing peppermint tea later – and I’ll also recommend a few of the best peppermint teas on the market in case you don’t have your own mint leaves handy!
Now, peppermint tea is certainly not the only tea that is healthy for you. Most herbal teas are really good for you, but mint takes the cake because the list of peppermint tea benefits is longer than that of almost any other tea. Why is it that peppermint is so good for you?
Health Benefits of Peppermint Tea
There is a laundry list of peppermint tea benefits, so I’ll just get into the main ones here. Some of the things that I read recommended drinking a cup of peppermint tea every day to help prevent illness and boost your immune system. If you like the taste, don’t be afraid to reach for a teabag even if you aren’t having any of the problems peppermint tea helps fix!
- Fever Reduction. You’ve probably heard that menthol is naturally cooling, but it seems a little backward that hot tea could break your fever. It actually works perfectly, though! The menthol cools your body internally, and the hot tea causes you to sweat slightly to release the heat from your body.
- Freshens Breath. This is probably an obvious one, but if you’re not a fan of mints or gum, tea is also a great way to naturally freshen your breath. Something I learned here: it doesn’t just mask the bad smells, the peppermint actually fights the odor-causing bacteria that builds up in your mouth making your breath bad in the first place!
- Fights Indigestion. There’s actually archaeological evidence that peppermint has been used this way for 10,000+ years! Menthol stimulates the movement of gas through your digestive system, reducing cramps and bloating.
- Prevents Motion Sickness. Ginger is usually touted as the go-to for this fix, but peppermint is a great choice, too! Just like ginger, peppermint tea is an antispasmodic. So it not only curbs motion sickness, it will actually decrease the likelihood of vomiting if you do feel queasy.
- Controls appetite. Drinking a cup of peppermint tea can trick your body into thinking you’re already full, so it’s a great fix if you’re trying to lose weight or count your calories. Just remember that you can’t live on peppermint tea, so get some good healthy snacks with it.
- Reduces stress. It’s not totally clear on whether or not peppermint tea literally lowers your stress level, but it can certainly make you feel less stressed. Peppermint tea naturally lowers your temperature (as mentioned above) and reduces your blood pressure, both symptoms that can increase stress levels.
- Helps you focus. You may have heard that if you chew peppermint gum while studying and then chew the same flavor during an exam, you’ll have better recall. Peppermint tea has the same effect since it’s actually the smell of peppermint that has this magical property.
- Boosts estrogen. There are a lot of side effects of an estrogen boost, but the ones that most people care about are the ones that have to do with skin conditions. Peppermint tea can help clear up acne and other skin issues. If you want the full effect, try adding some peppermint tea to your bath water.
I could go on and on about how peppermint stimulates hair growth, lowers cholesterol, and boosts your immune system, but we might be here all day! If you want a peppermint boost on steroids, you could also look into grabbing some peppermint essential oil (which is commonly used to treat irritable bowel syndrome).
The one thing to keep in mind here is that peppermint tea is an allergen for some people and can cause heartburn in others. Both of these reactions are generally mild, and really rare. But if you suddenly have odd symptoms after you start drinking peppermint tea, consider touching base with a doctor to make sure you’re not among the peppermint-averse population.
Tips for Brewing the Perfect Tea
Brewing peppermint tea is fairly straightforward (and not too different from brewing any other herbal tea). In case this is your first time trying, here’s a step by step process!
- Choose your peppermint. If you’re making tea straight from peppermint leaves, you’ll want 7-10 leaves per 8oz cup (depending on how strong you want your tea). Make sure that you crush them to release the juices from the leaves. If you’re going with a teabag, it’s one bag per cup (or one teaspoon of loose leaf tea per cup).
*Protip: If you bought a loose-leaf tea, make sure you also buy a diffuser. I literally didn’t know this the first time I bought a loose leaf tea and I was pretty disappointed that I couldn’t try my delicious pumpkin blend the day that I bought it!
- Boil water. You can use an electric kettle, a stovetop kettle, or just the pot that you boil pasta in. I’m always tempted to get hot water out of the tap to decrease the time waiting for it to boil, but it’s actually better for you to get cold water from the sink. Water that’s been sitting in your hot water heater probably has some sediment in it (and it won’t all get boiled off as it heats).
- Let the tea steep. “Steep” just means sit in hot water. Leave peppermint leaves in for 7-12 minutes, a tea bag (or loose leaf in a diffuser) for 3-10 minutes. Again, just depending on how strong you want your tea.
- Remove the leaves and enjoy! You can fish the fresh peppermint out with a spoon or strain the tea into another cup. There’s also the option of just leaving the leaves in while you enjoy the tea, but by the time you get to the bottom of the cup, it will be very strong.
That’s all there is to it! If you’re not sure about trying the fresh peppermint idea, see below for my favorite brands of peppermint tea.
Peppermint Tea Recommendations
There are so many options for peppermint tea out there, but here are a few of my favorites.
Harney & Sons Peppermint Herbal. H&S is a homegrown brand that’s headquartered in Connecticut and gets their peppermint from the Pacific Northwest. None of their teas have ever steered me wrong. They also have an organic peppermint option.
- Herbal - Naturally caffeine-free
- Each sachet holds enough loose tea to brew two cups.
- Sachets are the perfect marriage of loose tea and teabag convenience.
Twinings of London Pure Peppermint Herbal Tea. As it says in the name, Twinings is a London-based company. It has held a royal warrant from the British Monarchy since Queen Victoria was on the throne (180 years ago). That basically means that Twinings is the official tea of the British Royal Family.
- FRESH FLAVOR: Six boxes of 20 Rooibos Herbal Red tea bags. Slightly sweet with...
- ONLY THE FINEST QUALITY: Our expert blenders source only the finest leaves...
- ROOIBOS TEA: Also known as "red" tea or "bush" tea, Rooibos is a plant...
Firepot Nomadic Pacific Northwest Peppermint. Based in Nashville and St. Louis, Firepot has the added bonus of being a fair-trade focused company. They also get their peppermint leaves from the Pacific Northwest.
Stash Premium Peppermint Herbal Tea. Stash promises delicious teas with only natural ingredients, and also have US grown peppermint (though they don’t specify where.
- LIVELY AND REFRESHING: Let our Peppermint Tea rejuvenate and revive you with the...
- 20 COUNT BOX: Individually packaged bags guarantee that every cup will taste as...
- PREMIUM BAGGED TEA: All our teas, herbal, black, green, white, or oolong, are of...
In my experience, anything that says “peppermint herbal” is probably a good bet. On some level, tea has been ruined for me since I visited England five years ago, but Twinings still brings me back.
The great thing about peppermint tea is that it can easily be iced and enjoyed in the summer, too! Although you’d miss out on one half of the fever breaking benefit, the rest of these health boosts all rely on the menthol component. They’ll still serve you just fine! So what was the most surprising of the peppermint tea benefits? Do you have a favorite brand that I missed? As always, let us know in the comments. And if you have a tea brand you love that lives up to the English variety, tell me!