Peppermint extract is an herbal extract of peppermint (Mentha x piperita) made from the essential oils of peppermint leaves. It is commonly used in cooking, as a dietary supplement, as an herbal or alternative medicine, and as a pest repellant. The liquid is obtained by extracting the oils from dried or fresh leaves and the flowering tops of the plant using alcohol and is commonly sold in 1 oz. or 4 oz. bottles.
Uses in cooking
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Peppermint extract can be used to add a peppermint flavor to baked goods, desserts, and candy, particularly candy canes, mints, and peppermint patties. Extracts for cooking may be labeled as pure, natural, imitation, or artificial. While pure and natural extracts contain peppermint oil specifically, imitation and artificial extracts generally use a mix of ingredients to achieve a flavor resembling peppermint.
Peppermint extract can be substituted in recipes with peppermint oil (a stronger ingredient primarily used in candy-making), crème de menthe, or peppermint schnapps. Please note: if the recipe does not call for heating, the alcoholic properties of liqueurs may remain present in the finished product.
Peppermint extract may also be added to hot water to create peppermint tea.
Medicinal uses of peppermint extract are well documented (see main peppermint article). For example, Peppermint extract is commonly used to soothe symptoms of the common cold and the flu. It is also a digestive aid which may relieve bloating and flatulence. Moreover, it may be used to aid in the relief of pain from menstrual cramps and tension headaches, and because of its cooling properties, it may relieve itching when applied topically. Additionally, peppermint oil has been shown to be an effective remedy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) with constipation, particularly in capsule form, which bypasses the stomach in order to act in the small intestine. Additionally, peppermint extract is believed to have antiviral and medicinal properties which may help in the treatment of herpes and the disintegration of gallstones.
Use as a pest repellant
- "Effect of fibre, antispasmodics, and peppermint oil in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis.". British Medical Journal.
- "Peppermint oil (Mintoil®) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: A prospective double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial". Digestive and Liver Disease.
- "Peppermint oil in irritable bowel syndrome". Phytomedicine.
- "How to Use Peppermint Oil for Pest Control". GardenGuides.com.
- Bounds, Gwendolyn (July 30, 2009). "Death by Mint Oil: Natural Pesticides". Wall Street Journal.
- "Does Peppermint Oil Really Get Rid of Mice?". EarthKind.
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