Peppermint extract is an herbal extract of peppermint (Mentha × piperita) made from the essential oils of peppermint leaves. Peppermint is a hybrid of water mint and spearmint and was indigenous to Europe and the Middle East before it became common in other regions, such as North America and Asia.
Peppermint is commonly used in cooking, as a dietary supplement, as an herbal or alternative medicine, as a pest repellent, and a flavor or fragrance agent for cleaning products, cosmetics, mouthwash, chewing gum, and candies. Its active ingredients, such as menthol, menthone, and menthyl acetate, give it its minty properties that result in a fresh and cooling sensation when used. Moreover, peppermint is also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.
History and Extraction
Peppermint and peppermint oil have been used for thousands of years in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Historical records reveal the use of peppermint in Egyptian tombs and pyramids. However, it was not until Carolus Linnaeus catalogued the plant in 1753 that the very first documentation of the plant’s characteristics was written.
Peppermint extract can be obtained through various means, the most common being steam distillation, solvent extraction, and soxhelet extraction.
Peppermint extract is commonly used as an antiseptic, anti-viral, stimulant, and a flavoring agent. Moderate levels of it can be safely mixed into food items, or it can also be applied topically, sprayed on surfaces as a household cleaner, or inhaled using aromatherapy.
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. If the food is not heated, 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, however the efficacy of most applications is only beginning to be tested in clinical trials.
Peppermint extract is commonly used to soothe symptoms of the common cold and the flu, and as a digestive aid to relieve bloating and flatulence. It is an anti-inflammatory which be used to treat arthritis and rheumatism. It may be used to aid in the relief of pain from menstrual cramps and headaches. Additionally, peppermint oil may be an effective remedy for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. It is also used as a natural remedy for toothache.
Use as a pest repellent
Peppermint oil is commonly used to repel ants, flying insects, rodents, and spiders. 
Use as a physical performance enhancer
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