Herbal and Essential Oils Education

Magical and Medicinal Herbs: Peppermint

Peppermint

Mentha piperata

The genus name for peppermint and other mints, Mentha, comes from Minthe, a nymph in Greek mythology. According to legend, the beautiful Minthe was changed into a nondescript little plant by Persephone when she discovered that her husband and lord of the underworld, Pluto, was in love with the nymph. Unable to undo Persephone’s spell, Pluto tried to improve the situation as best he could. He endowed Minthe with a sweet scent, one that became sweeter the more she was walked upon.

artist Wioletta Szczepanska, google images

Mint is mentioned often in historical texts, and even though it is the mint most of us think of today, it probably isn’t the same mint mentioned there. No, the mint referred to in Egyptian, Roman ,and Greek texts is most likely Spearmint. There isn’t actually any record of true peppermint until 1696, when a strongly aromatic plant that was a natural hybrid of spearmint (M. spicata) and water mint (M. aquatica) was discovered in an English field and subsequently cultivated. Peppermint was officially included in the London Pharmacopoeia in 1721.

Other Names: Brandy Mint, Lamb Mint, Balm Mint, Curled Mint

Family: Lamiaceae

Parts Used: Whole Plant, Leaf, Flower, Oil

Native to Europe and Asia, peppermint is a hybrid perennial that is mostly cultivated, but also grows wild in moist, rich soil environments in temperate parts of Europe and in the eastern United States. It does best in zones 5 through 9, but don’t discount it if you live in more northern regions. Peppermint has a wild and stubborn spirit that makes it a survivor in some unexpected circumstances.

It is a vigorous, aromatic perennial that grows about two feet tall and spreads by runners just under the soil surface. It has highly branched square stems and small lance-shaped, toothed leaves that are dark green but often tinged with purple. Tiny purple flowers bloom in whorls on terminal spikes in summer. It is also a sterile hybrid that does not produce viable seeds.

You can harvest just the leaves of the plant at any time during the growing season for small purposes. For larger purposes, the whole plant can also be cut at the beginning of flowering.

Medicinal Significance

Medicinal Actions

  • Alterative (mild)
  • Analgesic
  • Anodyne
  • Antacid
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-emetic
  • Antiseptic
  • Anti-spasmodic
  • Anti-viral
  • Aromatic
  • Astringent
  • Calmative
  • Carminative
  • Diaphoretic
  • Digestive
  • Febrifuge
  • Nervine
  • Rubefacient
  • Sedative
  • Stomachic
  • Tonic
  • Stimulant (gastric)
  • Sudorific

Constituents

Volatile oils (menthol and menthone), flavonoids, phenolic acid, triterpines, calcium, magnesium, potassium. Peppermint oil also contains small amounts of many additional compounds including limonene, pulegone, caryophyllene and pinene.

Organ System Affinity

The Head, Nose and Throat

The Stomach, Biliary Passages and Digestive Tract

The Skin and Pores

Therapeutics or Holistic Uses

  • headache
  • colds
  • fevers
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • gas
  • digestive headache
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • acute ailments
  • primary effect on the nervous system, stomach, and colon
  • eczema
  • neuralgia
  • constipation

Traditional Uses and Preparations

Digestive Problems: Peppermint is excellent for the digestive system, increasing the flow of digestive juices and bile and relaxing the gut muscles. It reduces nausea, colic, cramps, and gas, and soothes an irritated bowel. In soothing the lining and muscles of the colon, it helps diarrhea and relieves a spastic colon (often the case of constipation). An infusion or tincture is best for digestive issues. Capsules are often prescribed for IBS.

Pain Relief: Applied to the skin, peppermint relieves pain and reduces sensitivity. It also relieves headaches and migraines linked to digestive weakness. Diluted peppermint oil can be dabbed on the temples to ease headaches. Essential oil, creams, and lotions are best in this application.

Infection: Diluted oil is used as an inhalant and chest rub for respiratory infections. The whole herb is important for digestive infections.

Dosage

  • Standard Infusion: Particularly good for nausea with headache or gas and bloating. 1 tsp of dried herb to 4-8 ounces 1-4 times daily or after meals. For digestive headaches, drink 3 cups a day for 1 week or 2 1/2 cups per day for 2-3 weeks.
  • Tincture: Dried leaf (1:5, 50% alcohol, 10%glycerin); 1-3 ml (0.2-0.6 tsp) 3 times daily
  • Glycerite: Fresh leaf (1:8, 80% glycerin sealed simmer method); dried leaf (1:8); 10-20 ml (1-2 tsp) 3-4 times daily
  • Essential Oil: Dilute to 2% before applying to skin.
  • Herbal Wash: Particularly good for eczema. Infuse 1 tsp of dried herb to 3/4 cup water. Strain and cool. Use to wash gently over the affected skin 2-3 times daily.
  • Herbal Wash for Neuralgia: Make an infusion with 25g dried herb to 3 cups of water and bathe the affected area. Alternately, dilute 20 drops of essential oil in 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp of carrier oil and gently massage into the painful area.

Safety

No known precautions or harmful side effects. Peppermint can increase heartburn and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease in some people.

Herb/Drug Interactions

Peppermint may interact with certain medications. It should not be taken with cyclosporine, a drug taken by organ transplant patients. It may also reduce the effect of medications metabolized in the liver or drugs that reduce stomach acid. 

Some studies show that peppermint may lower your blood sugar and blood pressure as well, so it’s not recommended for people taking medication for diabetes or blood pressure issues.

Magical Significance

Associations and Correspondences

Deities and Significant Holidays: Hecate, Pluto, Hades, Persephone
Ruling Element: Air
Astrological/Zodiac Correspondence: Taurus, Virgo, or Aquarius
Planetary Ruler: Mercury, Venus
Gender: Masculine
Crystals: Peridot, Green Aventurine, Amethyst
Tarot: Knight of Athames

Just like the many varieties of mint share, to some degree, their medicinal properties, they also share their magical properties. So even though peppermint is the most often used mint in witchcraft it certainly isn’t the only one. Use what you have on hand or what is growing in your garden. Your spells will be just as potent with peppermint as they will with spearmint.

Magical Properties

  • money
  • luck
  • good fortune
  • travel
  • love
  • dreams
  • winter solstice celebrations
  • protection
  • healing
  • purification
  • breaks hexes and jinxes
  • communication
  • psychic work
  • strength
  • rituals related the dead or the underworld

Simple Spells

  • Chew on whole, fresh leaves to increase sexual stamina.
  • Drink mint tea to add strength of impact and persuasion to your words.
  • A perfume of peppermint can drive away evil spirits.
  • Grow mint in or around the house to keep away troublesome people.
  • Use as a floor wash after a break up or an argument to return the home to calm and harmonious energy and encourage normal and fruitful communication.
  • Carry mint in your shoe or your pocket to prevent bad luck and other obstacles from interfering with your goals and success.
  • Keep some mint in your wallet to keep your money flowing smoothly.
  • Combine mint with High John the Conqueror root and calamus to increase your fortitude when you’re getting ready to address whatever situation is getting in the way of your success. (Whether it be curses, crossed conditions, petty people, legal issues or red tape.)
  • Mint can be added to psychic-enhancing tea, incense, and fragrance oils.
  • Combine with Frankincense and burn over charcoal to stimulate psychic abilities.
  • Placing mint under your pillow is said to encourage prophetic dreams.

WiccaNow.com has a more complex spell to share.

Easy Money Spell Using Mint

This simple luck spell harnesses the magickal properties of mint to call prosperity and abundance to you. Cast this spell as often as you need it!

This spell uses candle magic. Always, always practice fire safety and make sure that any children, pets or billowing clothes are kept away from the flame.

Ingredients

  • A green candle
  • Mint oil
  • Dried Mint (you can leave this out if you don’t have it, or vice versa with the oil. I like to use both because I think it makes the spell more powerful.)
  • Cinnamon (use either oil or dried cinnamon, this boosts the power of your spell. You can leave it out if you want)
  • Fire-proof surface or bowl

Method

  1. Anoint your candle with the mint oil
  2. Mix your dried mint with your cinnamon powder. If you’re using cinnamon oil, anoint the candle with it during step 1.
  3. Roll your anointed candle in the dried herb mix
  4. Place your candle into your fire-proof bowl. I like to melt a little wax on the bottom of the candle and stick it to the bottom of the bowl to make sure that it doesn’t fall over.
  5. Light your candle
  6. Close your eyes and focus on your intention. Imagine that prosperity and abundance are flowing to you like a golden river. Feel as if you have already received the abundance that you seek. Remember that the more specific your intent, the more likely it is to manifest.
  7. Once you have set your intention as strongly as you can, say

” Mint let me harness your energy, you flourish with abandon so lend this power to me. Prosperity come to me. So Mote it Be.”

  1. Repeat this chant 3 times
  2. Allow the candle to safely burn down to nothing
  3. Repeat as often as needed

Dried Peppermint and Peppermint Essential Oil available now in the Apothecary.

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Disclaimer: Please note that I am a not medical professional and everything written here is a product of my own research. Don’t take any advice given here over that of a trained doctor. If you ingest any herbs, always make sure that you’re 100% sure that they’re safe. If you’re pregnant or giving to a child, always consult a doctor before ingesting herbs and plant you aren’t familiar with. Magickal instruction and spells are for personal entertainment purposes only. The desired result/outcome cannot be guaranteed as a result of using any magickal item, and should not be used as a replacement for medical/professional assistance.

Sources

Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. DK Publishing, 2016

Easly, Thomas and Steven Horne. The Modern Herbal Dispensatory. North Atlantic Books, 2016

Foster, S. And Johnson, R. National Geographic Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine. National Geographic Society, 2006

Gladstar, R. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide. Storey Publishing, 2012

Ritchason, J. The Little Herb Encyclopedia. Woodland Health Books, 1995

Osborn, D. (2020) Peppermint. http://www.greekmedicine.net/A_Greek_and_Unani_Herbal/herb.php?id=3

Nock, J. The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Magickal Herbs. Adams Media, 2019

Pollux, Amaria. The Incredible Magickal Properties of Mint Explored. https://wiccanow.com/magickal-properties-of-mint/

Rosean, L. The Encyclopedia of Magickal Ingredients. Paraview, 2005

Peppermint Tea: Is it Good for You? (2020) https://www.webmd.com/diet/peppermint-tea-good-for-you#2

Notes from my studies at Vintage Remedies: School of Natural Health.

Additional information collected from various sources including personal experience and synthesized in my personal materia medica.

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