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Last Updated on August 30, 2021
How to Brew Peppermint Tea: Definitive Guide
How about relaxing with a refreshing and soothing cup of peppermint tea, while at the same time relieving gastric discomfort?
Peppermint has long been used in both folk and Western medicine for relief of digestive problems such as bloat, stomach pain, cramps, and nausea. After dinner mints are for more than just a fresher breath!
Now, with the backing of science, peppermint is becoming a popular natural treatment for IBS and SIBO. Peppermint tea is simple to brew from fresh leaves, dried leaves or tea bags.
In this article we explain all the best ways to brew peppermint tea along with a few pointers which you need to know to get the most benefit from your tea.
But you should also be aware that peppermint is not recommended if you have upper digestive system problems such as heartburn or GERD.
Brewing Peppermint Tea: A Quick Overview
Brewing Tea with Fresh Peppermint Leaves
- Collect about 10-15 peppermint leaves. If you are growing your own plants, you should ideally pick the leaves early in the morning when the essential oils are most concentrated.
- Boil the amount of water you need.
- Lightly crush the leaves and place them in the warmed-up teapot or mug.
- Pour the water over the leaves, cover the container, and steep for 8-10 minutes.
- Strain the tea or use a spoon to remove the leaves from the container.
- Pour your tea, add a sweetener of your choice, and maybe even a slice of lemon.
Brewing Peppermint Tea with Dried Loose Leaves
The only differences between brewing peppermint tea with fresh and dried loose leaves are:
- Measuring two teaspoons of dried loose leaves into a teapot. To brew your loose leaf tea in either a teapot or a mug you can use an infuser or a tea ball like the one recommended below.
- Steep the tea for around 5 minutes, or longer if you prefer a stronger flavour.
Using Peppermint Tea Bags
The steps for brewing tea with a teabag are the same except that:
- The leaves are already finely crushed, so no further crushing is recommended.
- You can place the tea bag directly into your mug and there is no straining involved.
Peppermint Tea Variations
We have explained how to brew straightforward peppermint tea and now you might want to experiment to add some variety.
Peppermint Iced Tea
What could be more cooling and refreshing than a jug of iced peppermint tea on a hot summer day? And you can keep the brewed tea in the fridge for up to four days.
Brew a stronger tea, using more tea leaves or tea bags, because the ice melting in the tea will dilute it. Add the sweetener of your choice to the warm brew so that it can dissolve. Try honey or syrup for a tasty variation.
Then pour the freshly brewed tea into a jug filled with ice cubes. You can also add a squirt of lemon or lime juice and garnish with a slice of lemon and a few fresh mint leaves.
Peppermint Tea Blends
Peppermint tea contains no caffeine so, if you need that caffeine boost, you can blend the leaves with some black or green tea.
You can also experiment making your own aromatic herbal tea blends by mixing the peppermint leaves with other herbs.
For example, ginger and cinnamon sticks are a popular addition to mint. Another variation is to infuse your peppermint tea with fruits, such as apples and berries, or edible flowers like camomile.
Tips for Brewing Herbal Teas
You will be infusing water with the oils and other nutrients in the peppermint leaves. Whether you are brewing with fresh leaves, dried leaves or tea bags, the following guidelines will help you to achieve the best possible flavour and nutrient content.
In fact, these tips apply to brewing any herbal teas.
- Lightly crush fresh or loose leaves to release the oils and other nutrient compounds.
- Leaves must be steeped in hot water and never boiled in it.
- The water must be boiling hot, that is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Some recommend, however, that the water should be cooled to slightly below boiling point.
- Warm up the teapot or mug before brewing your tea. This prevents the boiled water from cooling off too quickly.
- Place the leaves in the teapot or mug and pour the boiling water over them.
Herbal teas need to steep for longer than normal tea – for 5 minutes at least, and longer for fresh leaves. Steeping time also depends on how weak or strong you enjoy your tea.
- Cover the teapot or mug while the tea is steeping. The volatile oils do not dissolve in the water, but are distilled by and released into the air with the steam. When you put a cover on, the droplets that collect on the lid fall back into the pot or mug.
What is Peppermint Tea?
Peppermint is the most popular in the Lamiaceae, or mint, family of herbs. It originated in Europe and Asia as a mix watermint and spearmint. Today it can be found growing across the world.
The most abundant active compound in peppermint is menthol, although it contains many other plant nutrients and antioxidant polyphenols (1). You can drink peppermint tea throughout the day and at any time – it contains no caffeine, almost zero calories, and a host of healthy plant compounds.
Peppermint tea is one of the most popular herbal teas. Strictly speaking, herbal tea is not tea at all but an infusion, also known as a tisane, made by steeping the herbs in hot water to release the volatile oils and other compounds.
Benefits of Peppermint Tea
Mint has been used for centuries in folk medicine, and even by doctors, to treat a variety of ailments. However, with the growing interest in natural remedies over the last few decades, there have been an increasing number of studies into the potential benefits of peppermint.
One of the benefits most strongly supported by research is the relief of symptoms associated with IBS. It has been shown that menthol has a relaxing effect on the smooth muscles in the intestines, thus reducing the spasms which cause pain, cramping and bloating (2).
A recent comprehensive review of a number of studies of the benefits of peppermint oil for IBS concluded that it was an effective and safe treatment for the pain and other symptoms of IBS (3).
Furthermore, at the point when persons with IBS experience abdominal pain the nerve fibres in the colon are hypersensitive. In 2011 researchers found that compounds in peppermint reduce the sensitivity of these nerve endings by activating an anti-pain channel, called TRPM8 (4).
Studies have suggested other health benefits of peppermint that might provide relief to those suffering from SIBO and IBS. These include antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties; and reducing tension and migraine, menstrual cramps, and nasal congestion. Peppermint also contains many antioxidants which help to fight against inflammation (5).
Possible Risks of Peppermint Tea
As with any medicine, more is not always better. Too much peppermint oil can interfere with the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and other medicines. It could also be toxic to the kidneys.
So you need to take care not to consume too much menthol. However, this is usually only a problem when taking concentrated peppermint oil in capsule form. Herbal teas rarely contain enough of the active compounds to cause unwanted side effects, even if you drink a few cups a day.
Peppermint tea does however appear to worsen symptoms of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). So it’s best to avoid peppermint if you suffer from conditions related to the upper intestinal tract. Obviously, anyone who is allergic to peppermint should avoid peppermint tea as well.
Where to Get Peppermint Tea?
You can brew peppermint tea from fresh peppermint leaves. If you don’t have a plant in your garden yet, you can find one at your local herb nursery or even from one of your neighbours. Peppermint is easy to establish from a rooted runner and grows like a weed as long as it gets plenty of water.
Fresh leaves give you the most aroma and flavour. Furthermore, they provide the highest concentration of the plant nutrients – and thus the most health benefits.
You can also brew peppermint tea from loose dried leaves and tea bags. Loose leaf herbal teas are mostly available from health stores or online. Loose dried leaves are preferred as their quality is generally better. Being less processed than those in tea bags, loose leaves retain more of the aromatic oils and other nutrients.
Peppermint tea bags are the most widely available commercially and you will probably find them at your local grocery store.
Have a look at our recommendations for the best peppermint teas here.
After buying loose leaf tea or tea bags, always store them in airtight containers, away from light, heat and humidity, to retain the volatile oils.
Enjoy the Benefits Peppermint Tea for SIBO and IBS
Peppermint tea is a simple and cost-effective way to enjoy the benefits of this traditional medicinal herb. Research has shown that it does relieve the symptoms of IBS and SIBO and has many other potential health benefits.
But you should be careful not to consume too much peppermint, especially if you tend to experience problems associated with excessive acidity in the upper digestive tract.
Brew yourself an aromatic and refreshing cup of peppermint tea using the tips and instructions we have provided. Then sit back, relax and savour your tea.
- Masomeh, L., Narges, M., Hassan, R., & Hadi, A. 2017. Peppermint and its functionality: A review. Archives of Clinical Microbiology. Vol 8:4:54.
- Amato, A., Liotta, R., & Mulè, F. 2014. Effects of menthol on circular smooth muscle of human colon: analysis of the mechanism of action. European Journal of Pharmacology. Vol 740:295-301.
- Alammar, N., Wang, L., & Mullin, G.E. 2019. The impact of peppermint oil on the irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis of the pooled clinical data. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. Vol19:21.
- Harrington, A.M., Hughes, P.A., Martin, C.M., Yang,J., Castro, J., Isaacs, N.J., Blackshaw, A., & Brierley, S.M. 2011. A novel role for TPRM8 in visceral afferent function. Pain. Vol 152:7.
- Mahendran, G., & Rahman, L. 2020. Ethnomedicinal, phytochemical and pharmacological updates on Peppermint (Menta x piperita L.) – A review. Phytotherapy Research. Vol 34:9.