I started making this tea several years ago and it has definitely become a staple in my diet as I work on healing my digestive troubles. In addition to having many gut healing properties (I’ll get into that below), it’s a super yummy drink and my go to when I’m “hungry” (read: bored, emotional, tired, etc).
Like I said, there are many reasons this combination is great for gut health. Although I tend to drink this at least once everyday, I’ve found that I get a lot of digestive relief from bumping it up to 2-3 cups after I’ve eaten something that’s not sitting well with my intestines.
I’ve included what I think the most important information is below but I’ve also included references for whoever is really interested in the science and studies behind all of this.
Peppermint calms the muscles of the stomach and improves the flow of bile which, combined, will help relieve the symptoms of indigestion.1,2 Likewise, it helps relax the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract which helps relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome like bloating, flatulence (um, and who doesn’t want to relieve this??), and crampy abdominal pain. 3,4
While peppermint won’t work to fix your leaky gut, it is very helpful in alleviating symptoms while you work on switching to a whole-food, unprocessed diet with appropriate probiotic input.
Relative contraindication to peppermint: if you have GERD (heartburn), start with peppermint cautiously. While it relaxes your stomach, it also can relax the lower esophageal sphincter which can worsen reflux symptoms. I don’t have GERD but I’ve heard from people that they can still drink peppermint tea, but they make sure they stay upright for at least an hour afterward and avoid plopping down in bed or on the couch. I also say it’s a relative contraindication because marshmallow root has been shown anecdotally to help symptoms of GERD so this combination may help…but definitely still be cautious.
Marshmallow root is amazing. When steeped in water, it releases this compound called mucilage which, as the name implies, is a slippery substance that is full of healing vitamins and minerals (vitamins A and C, selenium, and several amino acids). (For all you long-hair folks, it makes an amazing conditioner for your tresses!)
This mucilage compound is very helpful for gut health because it works as a physical barrier to protect your intestines from damage and help soothe them when they are already inflamed from something you ate (or stressed out about). In acting as a physical coating, it not only acts as a barrier but it then works to release those beneficial minerals and vitamins right where you need them.
It can really help anywhere from the mouth down so it can be used in people with mouth sores, sore throats, reflux, gastritis, leaky gut, and irritable bowel syndrome.5 Pretty impressive, huh?
You can cold brew this tea if you want something cool and it still contains all of the goodness of the hot version. It’s also pretty darn good with a little bit of raw honey if you’re in the mood for something sweet.
- Combine 1 teaspoon of each herb in a small teapot.
- Pour over with hot water.
- Let steep for 5-8 minutes.
- Pour and enjoy!
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1. Inamori M, Akiyama T, Akimoto K, Fujita K, Takahashi H, Yoneda M, Abe Y, Kubota K, Saito S, Ueno N, Nakajima A. Early effects of peppermint oil on gastric emptying: a crossover study using a continuous real-time 13C breath test (BreathID system). J Gastroenterol. 2007 Jul;42(7):539-42.
2. Madisch A, Holtmann G, Mayr G, Vinson B, Hotz J. Treatment of functional dyspepsia with a herbal preparation. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial.Digestion. 2004;69(1):45-52.
3. Cappello G, Spezzaferro M, Grossi L, Manzoli L, Marzio L. Peppermint oil (Mintoil) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Dig Liver Dis. 2007 Jun;39(6):530-6.
4. Ford AC, Talley NJ, Spiegel BM, Foxx-Orenstein AE, Schiller L, Quigley EM, Moayyedi P. Effect of fibre, antispasmodics, and peppermint oil in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2008 Nov 13;337:a2313. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a2313. Review.
5.Hage-Sleiman R, Mroueh M, Daher CF. Pharmacological evaluation of aqueous extract of Althaea officinalis flower grown in Lebanon. Pharm Biol. 2011 Mar;49(3):327-33. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2010.516754. Epub 2011 Feb 1. PubMed PMID: 21281251
PS: please make sure to read my disclaimers on anything having to do with you health 🙂