Mentha piperata

Linn. emend. Huds.

Family ► Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat ► Native to Europe; cultivated in Maharashtra, Kashmir and Punjab.

English ► Peppermint, Brandy Mint.

Ayurvedic ► Vilaayati Pudinaa.

Action ► Oil—digestive, carminative, chloretic, antispasmodic, diuretic, antiemetic, mild sedative, diaphoretic, antiseptic, antiviral, used in many mixtures of indigestion and colic and cough and cold remedies.

Key application ► Leaf—internally for spastic complaints of the gastrointestinal tract, gallbladder and bile ducts. (German Commission E, ESCOP.) The British Herbal Compendium indicates peppermint leaf for dyspepsia, flatulence, intestinal colic, and biliary disorders.

Key application ► Oil—as a carminative. (The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.) In spastic discomfort fo the upper gastrointestinal tract and bile ducts, irritable colon, the respiratory tract and inflammation of the oral mucosa. Externally, for myalgia and neuralgia. (German Commission E.) ESCOP indicates its use for irritable bowel syndrome, coughs and colds. Externally, for coughs and colds, rheumatic complaints, pruritus, urticaria, and pain in irritable skin conditions. (ESCOP.)

The essential oil has both antibacterial and antifungal properties.

The major constituents of the essential oil are: menthol, menthone, pulegone, menthofuran, 1,8-cineole, men-thyl acetate, isomenthone. The leaves contain flavonoid glycosides, erioc-itrin, luteolin 7-O-rutinoside, hesperi-din, isorhoifolin, diosmin, eriodictyol 7-O-glucoside and narirutin, besides rosmarinic acid, azulenes, cholene, carotenes.

Peppermint oil relaxed carvachol-contracted guinea-pig tenia coli, and inhibited spontaneous activity in guinea-pig colon and rabbit jejunum. It relaxes gastrointestinal smooth muscle by reducing calcium influx. Peppermint oil reduced gastric emptying time in dyspeptics.

The aqueous and ethanolic extracts exhibited antiviral activity against RPV (rinder pest virus), a highly contagious viral disease of cattle.

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