What is peppermint
Peppermint is also known as Mentha piperita, brandy mint, and lamb mint.
Peppermint has been used for liver and gallbladder complaints, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, respiratory infections, menstrual cramps, toothache, the common cold, cough, and fever. Topically, peppermint has been used for muscle and nerve pain and as an antiseptic.
What is peppermint Extract
Peppermint extract is an extract that is made from the volatile oils of the peppermint plant. It has a very distinctive minty flavor and aroma. It can be used in a wide variety of ways. Some people feel that peppermint extract is great for treating certain medical conditions. You can typically find peppermint extract in any market, in health food stores and also through an herbalist who may also offer peppermint extract for skin care. There are two ways to obtain peppermint extract. Traditionally the peppermint is steeped either fresh or dried peppermint is steeped in alcohol allowing the oils from the peppermint to seep out and flavor the alcohol. Another way is to dilute pure peppermint oil in alcohol. Now pure peppermint oil is a much more volatile and powerful form of peppermint extract and is usually made by distilling or pressing the peppermint. As a general rule peppermint oil is four times stronger than peppermint extract. Traditionally peppermint extract is used in holiday baking and can be added to things such as ice cream, candy, cakes, cookies and other baked goods. Some cooks like to use it in savory dishes as well spicy dishes tend to pair well with mint. In addition to food uses peppermint can also be found in skin care as it sooths the skin. You can also find it included in soaps and lotions as peppermint extract has this delightful aroma that people find pleasurable. Peppermint extract also has antibacterial properties and can sooth a sore throat or an upset stomach. Like other members of the mint family, peppermint’s distinctive aroma is largely donated by menthol. Menthol is a substance that is often isolated as a flavoring and a medical ingredient. Although many of the benefits of peppermint appear to come from menthol, peppermint also has other compounds that may contribute as well. Menthol has been known to sooth, cool in inflamed skin, reduce itching and relieve low level pain and inflammation on the surface of the skin. If you want you can make peppermint at home simply by seeping the leaves in an alcohol like vodka or diluting pure peppermint oil and that is what peppermint extract is.
The Uses of Peppermint Extract
After dinner mints often contain peppermint flavors.
Most people come into contact with peppermint via mints, candy canes, herbal tea, and various oral hygiene products such as tooth paste and mouth wash. Peppermint extract, composed of peppermint oil mixed with alcohol, serves many purposes including cooking, baking, deterring nausea and helping keep your house clean. Add this to my Recipe Box.
Peppermint makes a delicious addition to many baked goods and beverages. Take a cue from popular casual dining establishments and add a few drops of peppermint extract to your hot chocolate or make peppermint ice cream. You can use peppermint extract in place of vanilla extract in most recipes such as cookies and cakes. Traditionally, peppermint and chocolate make a popular pair so you may want to focus on adding peppermint to your favorite chocolate desserts.
Peppermint extract serves many homeopathic purposes including soothing nausea, tooth aches, and menstrual cramps. A whiff of peppermint extract can help ward of nausea and motion sickness. Peppermint acts as a mild anesthetic and anti-inflammatory due to its high concentration of menthol. Menthol is a popular ingredient in topical pain relievers such as muscle rub. If you plan to take peppermint extract on a long term basis speak to your doctor. Peppermint is not FDA approved to treat any medical conditions.
Peppermint’s antiseptic properties make it an effective cleaner. You can add peppermint extract to home made cleaning products to gain peppermint’s anti-bacterial effects and pleasant aroma. You can even clean your home by making a mixture of 2 tsp. of peppermint extract and about 1 cup of water to use in place of commercial spray cleaners.
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