One of the most common uses for peppermint oil is as a flavoring for various types of candies, including candy canes. Ancient Egyptians used the peppermint plant as a medicinal herb. Peppermint has been cultivated for its essential oil since the 1700s, and today the United States provides 75 percent of the world's fresh peppermint. Oil from the peppermint plant contains menthol, a pharmacologically important substance with multiple heath benefits, according to Harvard Health Publications.
Gastrointestinal Benefits: After dinner mints are popular not only because of the flavor, but because peppermint consumed after a meal can reduce gas and help with digestion. The cooling menthol in peppermint oil stimulates the stomach lining and eases stomach pain, so sucking on peppermint candy may calm your upset stomach.
Respiratory Relief: The menthol in peppermint tea and candy may increase saliva production, which leads to swallowing and suppression of the reflux that causes coughs. Menthol can also act as a potent decongestant and can clear a stuffy nose and make it easier to breathe. Peppermint works as an expectorant because menthol thins mucus, loosen phlegm and breaks up coughs.
Pain Relief: Peppermint-flavored candy can be used to dull some aches and pains. It may inhibit nerves that react to painful stimuli, and although this is temporary, you may enjoy a brief respite from an irritating cough or aching muscles.
Tension Relief: Peppermint is soothing herb that contains properties to help calm muscle spasms or cramps. Peppermint candy not only tastes good, but it can have both a relaxing or invigorating effort, depending on when you use it, according to the Farmers’ Almanac.
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