|Danger of Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
| The danger of Mint
Mint comes from the Greek legend of the nymph Minthe. Throughout history different
species of mint have been used across the globe for their varying properties, both
medicinal and culinary. Peppermint and spearmint are popular species in kitchen.
Spearmint and peppermint leaves are deep green, long, pointed and crinkled. Spearmint
is sweet with a cool sensation to the mouth while peppermint has a stronger menthol taste.
In Middle East, spearmint is used fresh and dried with grilled meats, stuffed vegetables and
rice. In desserts, peppermint is commonly added flavor to fruits, ices and sherberts.
Peppermint is also a popular ingredient in toothpaste, chewing gum and liqueurs.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is usually taken after a meal for its ability to reduce
indigestion and colonic spasms by reducing the gastrocolic reflex. It is a naturally occurring
hybrid cross between water mint (M. aquatica) and spearmint (M. spicata) and is best
known for its role as a popular flavoring agent. 
Dyspepsia is common in France. A few randomised controlled clinical trials suggest that
peppermint essential oil is effective in reducing abdominal pain, flatulence and diarrhea in
patients with "irritable bowel syndrome". Peppermint tea, containing essential oil, has no
known adverse effects. 
In Germany, researchers from University of Heidelberg found extracts from lemon balm,
peppermint, and sage exhibited a high and concentration-dependent activity against the
infection of HIV-1 in T-cell lines, primary macrophages, and in ex vivo tonsil histocultures
with 50% inhibitory concentrations as low as 0.004%. 
Possible Side Effects
Complaints are reported about the adverse effects of peppermint and spearmint on male
reproductive function. In a study of 48 male rats, drinking peppermint and spearmint teas
was found to affect the follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone levels and total
testosterone levels.  There is also a report that excessive peppermint consumption
caused stomatitis in England. 
 Spirling LI, Daniels IR. Botanical perspectives on health peppermint: more than just an after-dinner mint. J R
Soc Health. 2001 Mar;121(1):62-3.  Herbal remedies for dyspepsia: peppermint seems effective Prescrire Int.
2008 Jun;17(95):121-3.  Geuenich S, Goffinet C, Venzke S, Nolkemper S, Baumann I, Plinkert P, Reichling
J, Keppler OT. Aqueous extracts from peppermint, sage and lemon balm leaves display potent anti-HIV-1 activity by
increasing the virion density. Retrovirology. 2008 Mar 20;5:27.  Akdogan M, Ozguner M, Kocak A, Oncu M, Cicek E.
Effects of peppermint teas on plasma testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone levels
and testicular tissue in rats. Urology. 2004 Aug;64(2):394-8.  Rogers SN, Pahor AL. A form of stomatitis induced
by excessive peppermint consumption. Dent Update. 1995 Jan-Feb;22(1):36-7.
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