Freshly picked peppermint! There’s nothing like it. I got some at the organic farmer’s market this past Sunday because I was going to try tweaking a recipe I found for cucumber mint salad. Well, I tried it and still have some work to do, so today I’m sharing some peppermint water and tea ideas with you instead.
Tea in general – hot or cold – makes you feel good, right? Calmer, more relaxed. Is it the actual tea of the act of drinking it that’s so soothing? I can’t say for sure, but my hunch is that it’s a combination of the two. Some teas are more soothing than others, depending on what tastes better, right?
Since your digestive tract contains more nerve cells than your spine does, it’s especially important for anyone with any kind of digestive symptoms to relieve stress in any way possible. Drinking warm tea is one way!
Peppermint tea is known to offer a wide range of health benefits, including better digestion (especially of fats). (1) I drink it once every other day or so (moderation is key, even with tea), mainly as a dessert tea. My mother-in-law still can’t understand how I’m able to pass up the sweets and be satisfied with a simple cup of tea instead! I’ve tried to explain on more than one occasion that once you stop eating sugar, you don’t want it anymore. Everything tastes sickeningly sweet. That’s another topic for another day.
As with any medicinal tea, you have to be careful how much you consume, especially if you are giving it to a child, are pregnant or nursing, have certain medical conditions, or are taking certain prescription medications. It’s important to note that while peppermint tea is believed to improve digestion, it could aggravate symptoms of reflux (GERD). So, please read this article from University of Maryland before you drink it.
There are two ways I like to drink peppermint. One way is to let it soak in a pitcher of water for a few hours. You’re left with a subtly mint flavored water, which can last for up to a week (if using freshly picked mint). My sister-in-law introduced this idea to me a few months ago. This weekend I made a pitcher with fresh lemon as well, and believe it or not, the two flavors complement each other quite nicely! Lemon water’s also great for detoxification, especially when you drink it in the morning.
The other way is to drink warm peppermint tea. I like Traditional Medicinal’s brand, as I know it’s pure. Just add a little honey, and you’re good to go. Better than a peppermint candy – and a lot better for your teeth too!
And then, there’s chamomile tea, which is also believed to offer many health benefits, including strengthening the immune system (over 70% of which is in the digestive tract). (2) (3) It’s generally used to aid digestion and/or sleep. As with any medicinal tea or herb, please proceed with caution when drinking it, especially if you are pregnant or giving it to a child, are taking any medications, or have allergies to asters, daisies, chrysanthemums, or ragweed. You should also know that it may aggravate asthma symptoms.
So, there you have it! It’s not just ginger tea that can be soothing to your digestive tract.
Any coffee drinkers out there? I’ve never been one, but I do like my tea. I used to drink black tea quite often, with the occasional cup of green tea thrown in. Not anymore though, as I’m limiting my caffeine consumption. It seems to cause me to have PMS symptoms. Does anyone else have that problem?
You can find any number of articles either supporting coffee consumption or advising against it. Like peppermint tea, it can actually aggravate symptoms of reflux (GERD), but it can also speed up your digestion to the point of food moving through your digestive tract before it’s fully digested. My recommendation: if you can’t give it up, at least try to drink it less often. Eating or drinking anything every day, sometimes multiple times a day, is a recipe for developing food sensitivities. Moderation is key, no matter what you’re eating or drinking.
Small changes can make a very big difference in one’s life! Always remember to take it one sip at a time. When it comes to tea and herbs in general, a little bit goes a very long way.
Now, I have so much mint left that I have to play around with some new recipes. Do you have one you’d like to share? Or, a drink that you find especially refreshing or soothing?
Have a happy, gut healthy day!
Please note that this blog post is for informational purposes only, and should not replace the advice of a qualified medical doctor and/or nutritionist (CNS/PhD) who is familiar with your unique health concerns and situation. You can find my full disclaimer here.