Peppermint is a 1 foot perennial that grows in sun or partial shade. Mint spreads rapidly by runners, so many gardeners grow plants in submerged pots to prevent it from taking over their gardens.
Traditional Healing Uses: Peppermint tea has been used to soothe a wide range of digestive problems: nausea, travel sickness, morning sickness, vomiting, stomach aches, colic, indigestion, heartburn, flatulence, and ulcerative colitis. It has also been given at the onset of flu, colds, and fevers, sometimes with yarrow and elderflowers, to cut a cold overnight. It has been used to allay nervousness, insomnia, headaches, and faintness. Leaves have been applied to itches and inflammations, and chewed to alleviate nausea and bad breath.
Other Uses: Dried leaves have long-lasting fragrance in potpourris and sachets. Chilled mint water is a refreshing facial cleanser. Rosemary and peppermint in vinegar are reputed to control dandruff. Peppermint is planted near cabbages to repel aphids and flea beetles.
Harvest: Collect and dry leaves and flower heads before flowers open.
Preparation: Pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb and let steep for 10 minutes. For stomach upsets, add fresh or dried peppermint leaves to warm milk.
Caution: Oil distilled from peppermint is toxic if taken internally.