Peppermint is a plant widely spread and cultivated in many regions of the world
Although the genus Mentha comprises more than 25 species, the one in most common use is peppermint.
Peppermint has a high menthol content. The essential oil also contains menthone and carboxyl esters, particularly menthyl acetate.
Dried peppermint typically has 0.3–0.4% of volatile oil containing mentholmenthone, menthyl acetate and cineol.
Peppermint oil also contains small amounts of many additional compounds including limonene, pulegone, caryophyllene and pinene.
Fresh or dried peppermint leaves are often used alone in peppermint tea or with other herbs in herbal teas (tisanes, infusions). Peppermint is used for flavouring ice cream, candy, fruit preserves, alcoholic beverages, chewing gum, toothpaste, and some shampoos, soaps and skin care products.
Medicinal uses of peppermint have not been approved as effective or safe by the US Food and Drug Administration. With caution that the concentration of the peppermint constituent pulegone should not exceed more than 1% (140 mg), peppermint preparations are considered safe by the European Medicines Agency when used in topical formulations for adult subjects.
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