Refreshing, comforting, and aromatic, peppermint tea is a delicious, yet often overlooked beverage to sip at any time of day. Whether you’re simply looking for something warm or specifically seeking the tea’s slightly sweet and bright flavor, peppermint tea gets the job done. Aside from its appealing taste and soothing qualities, peppermint tea is believed to have plenty of health benefits too, like helping with digestion, settling an upset stomach, and reducing bloat. Here, we outline the key benefits (both proven and purported) to drinking peppermint tea.
Peppermint May Ease the Symptoms of IBS
Peppermint tea can sometimes be helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). “Pain, bloating, and gas are also major symptoms for those with IBS,” explains Erin Judge, a registered dietitian who specializes in helping women manage IBS symptoms through their diet. “So peppermint can also ease those symptoms by reducing inflammation and releasing gas that would lead to bloating and more pain.”
While peppermint tea doesn’t necessarily have the same benefits as peppermint oil, research shows that peppermint oil brings relief to people suffering from IBS.
It Can Settle an Upset Stomach
Peppermint tea is believed to ease various forms of stomach discomfort, including pain and nausea. One possible explanation is that the menthol in peppermint may relax muscles, in turn easing stomach cramping and pain.
“Peppermint contains the monoterpene compound L-menthol, which blocks calcium channels in the smooth muscle of the small intestine to produce an antispasmodic effect on the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to relax the muscle,” Judge says, also pointing out that other properties of menthol may reduce pain and inflammation and relieve gas.
If you’re suffering from indigestion, peppermint tea may be helpful, but the research on this use is still inconclusive, explains Diana Gariglio-Clelland, a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements.
In Some Cases, Peppermint Tea Can Alleviate Allergies
If seasonal allergies have been driving you crazy, peppermint may be able to help. “Peppermint contains rosmarinic acid, which has been shown to help fight allergy symptoms such as stuffy and runny nose as well as itchy, red eyes,” Gariglio-Clelland says.
As of now, researchers don’t know if there’s enough rosmarinic acid in peppermint to relieve symptoms, so you won’t want to ditch your other allergy prevention and treatment methods just yet until the research is a bit more conclusive.
It Can Also Clear Nasal Passageways
Don’t forget about hot peppermint tea next time you’re laid up with a cold and looking for relief from a stuffy nose and congestion. When sipped in the form of warm or hot tea, the warm vapor from peppermint tea may help clear nasal passages and dilate airways to improve air flow, which can also help fight congestion, Gariglio-Clelland says.
Meanwhile, even if peppermint tea doesn’t actually clear your airways, research shows that menthol improves your perception of airflow through your nasal passages, making you at least feel like you can breathe more easily. So that’s still kind of a win, right?
It Freshens Breath
Similar to the way you chew gum to freshen-up your breath, sipping peppermint tea is another way to ditch bad breath while you’re out and about and can’t brush your teeth. Research shows that peppermint fights germs that contribute to bad breath, and peppermint tea may have a similar effect.
It Can Provide a Boost of Energy
If you normally reach for coffee or soda to fight your post-lunchtime drowsiness, you may want to try switching over to peppermint tea. Researchers have found that even simply smelling peppermint tea may help you to feel more alert and focused, which is pretty good considering most peppermint tea doesn’t even contain any caffeine.
“Menthol is the most active ingredient in peppermint and gives it invigorating and energizing qualities,” says Josh Axe, a natural medicine doctor and clinical nutritionist. “Peppermint tea makes a great study companion and can help to improve memory and alertness.”
It Can Relieve Menstrual Cramps
“Peppermint has antispasmodic properties and the ability to improve circulation, soothe the stomach area, and relax tense muscles that contribute to cramps,” Axe says.
Results from one study showed that peppermint extract was as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories in reducing pain from menstrual cramps. But this doesn’t mean you should assume peppermint tea is going to be a cure-all for your menstrual cramp pain–keep in mind this study was specifically on peppermint extract, so peppermint tea may not produce the same results.
It May Strengthen the Immune System
Peppermint may contribute to a stronger gut and immune system due to peppermint’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, Judge says. The antimicrobial properties in peppermint oil may also help promote healing in the body.