|Extraction :||Steam distillation|
|Aroma and taste :||The aroma of freshly crushed peppermint leaves. Pungent, cool, and refreshing but significantly less intense than the oil. Undiluted, the flavor is very strong, but diluted it becomes softer, like a good herbal tea.|
|Stability and Shelf Life :||Unstable. Peppermint has a shelf life of around twelve months, even under perfect conditions. Although it will occasionally last longer it is quite fragile, and I always get rid of the old crop when the new distillation comes into stock. It is one of those oddities that peppermint is considered an antioxidant, yet the hydrosol oxidizes quite rapidly. Indications are that this is a function of the high pH and the high rH2 (electro-conductivity) factors in combination.|
Properties and Applications
Peppermint is most famous for its digestive, anti-inflammatory, and mind-stimulating properties. Although the essential oil must be used in low doses only, the hydrosol is problem-free, although I still consider it contraindicated for children under three years of age. A digestive par excellence, peppermint is useful for treating colic, bloat, heartburn or reflux, and indigestion of all kinds. Try it also if you suffer Crohn’s disease, colitis, or irritatable bowel syndrome, as it has provided significant relief to a number of people suffering from these conditions. Peppermint is the hydrosol to drink, combined with Roman chamomile, during a parasite cleanse. A three-week treatment of plain peppermint will do wonders for bad breath or acneic skin by detoxifying both the liver and the colon. Topically, it combats itching and burning, providing fast relief for allergic reactions, bites, and stings, and makes a good douche or wash for genital irritation or itching in men and women. Anti-inflammatory both topically and internally, peppermint can treat stiff muscles. Added to hot water, it will have a cooling effect; added to cold water, it will have a heating effect. It is recommended in France to spritz on the décolleté as a toner for the bustline, and it is even more effective combined with black spruce hydrosol. Mentally stimulating, peppermint is the wake-up water. Drink it in the morning to get your whole body going, including to the bathroom. Combine it with rosemary CT cineole to replace coffee. Spritz it on the face to revive during hot weather or when tired, or use it to soothe hot flashes. Slightly sweet, the hydrosol can be used as a sugar replacement. Try it in cooking, in ice cubes, or as a delicious beverage hot or cold. Spearmint (Mentha spicata) can be used in similar ways and has a 5.8 pH.