12.10.2010

Beyond the candy cane

Peppermint sticks are my favorite holiday treat during this time of year! They remind me of when I was little and my parents decorated the Christmas tree with them. I remember my mom reaching up high to grab me the ones that i could not quite reach.

The history of peppermint goes back way further than me jumping up and down trying to grab a candy cane. The ancient Greeks and Romans were actually the first to discover peppermint. They surrounded themselves with it at the dinner table and even wore it as a crown. They also had their cooks flavor sauces and wines with the taste and smells of the delicious aroma. Little did the ancient Greeks, Romans, and I know that they actually had health benefits. I probably would not of eaten them if i knew they were healthy for me! In Iceland, they found peppermint useful in pharmaceuticals around the thirteenth century. It was later commonly used as medicine in Western Europe around the eighteenth century. The benefits they found are:

-limit indigestion
-alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
-slow growth of a variety of bacteria and fungi
-relieve symptoms of asthma and allergies
-relax muscles
-reduce feeling of nausea and treat motion sickness
-treats fevers, skin complaints, migraines, and headaches

The best way to consume peppermint is by brewing it in tea. Steep one or two teaspoons of peppermint tea in hot water for ten minutes. You can find this at your local Hy-Vee store. If peppermint has been processed, then it loses its medicinal value. Organic is probably the best way to go. It can also be grown at home!!! If you grown it at home, you can place it around the house which will keep ants away!

-Guest Blogger, Mireya Del Carpio