Mentha piperita is also known as American mint, lamb mint, brandy mint, balm mint, and lammint. Its use has been employed for at least the last two centuries, making it one of the world’s oldest medicinal herbs. The peppermint plant is indigenous to the damp climates of the Mediterranean region and is now grown in Japan, Great Britain, Michigan, Indiana, Washington, Oregon, and California. The plant reproduces itself by using running roots, and may grow up to three feet. The stems are smooth and are typically a reddish-purple tint. The plant flowers from July to September and the blossoms are usually pink or lilac in color.
The primary component of peppermint oil, menthol, is accountable for its medicinal properties. Menthol is an antiseptic, cephalic, antifungal, cooling, anesthetic, antigalactagogue, carminative, antiphlogistic, cholagogue, cordial, decongestant, emmenagogue, expectorating, sudorific, febrifugal, hepatic, astringent, nervine, stimulating, vermicular, and vasoconstricting liquid. Peppermint oil is also a great muscle relaxant and digestive aid, for it has an antispasmodic effect on the muscles of the digestive system. It helps soothes the spastic colon muscles, thereby helping to relieve diarrhea, as well as colics, cramps, dyspepsia, gas, flatulence, nausea, and an irritated bowel. Peppermint oil has also been proven to alleviate pain in instances of aching feet, toothaches, neuralgia, rheumatism, muscular pains, and painful periods.
The oil is not only beneficial for your digestive system; it may treat skin irritations, acne, ringworms, dermatitis, pruritus, scabies, sunburns, as well as reduce skin redness, and aid in anti-inflammatory purposes. Peppermint oil also helps relieve depression and mental fatigue by stimulating mental agility and improving concentration. The oil is great for treatments of apathy, headaches, stress, migraines, shock, faintness, vertigo, and respiratory disorders such as asthma, sinus congestion, pneumonia, dry coughs, tuberculosis, bronchitis, and cholera.
Use peppermint oil with caution because it may cause skin and mucus membrane irritations.
York Peppermint Patties Recipe
1 Egg white
4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon Peppermint oil or extract
Cornstarch for dusting
1 (16-oz.) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions:In a medium bow, beat the egg white until it is stiff and forms peaks. Don't use a plastic bowl for this. Slowly add the powdered sugar while blending with an electric mixer set on medium speed.
Add the corn syrup and peppermint oil or extract and knead the mixture with your hands until it has the smooth consistency of dough. Using a flat surface and a rolling pin lightly dusted with cornstarch, roll out the peppermint dough 1/4-inch thick.
Punch out circles of peppermint dough with a biscuit cutter or a clean can with a diameter of about 2 1/2- inches. Place them on plates or cookie sheets, and let them firm up in the refrigerator, about 45 minutes.
Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave set on high for 2 minutes. Stir halfway through the heating time. Melt thoroughly, but do not overheat. Melting the chocolate chips can also be done using a double-boiler over low heat.
Drop each patty into the chocolate and coat completely. Using 2 forks, one in each hand, lift the coated patty from the chocolate. Gently tap the forks against the bowl to knock of the excess chocolate and place each patty on waxed paper. Chill the peppermint patties until firm, about 30 minutes.
This recipe for York Peppermint Patties serves/makes 20 patties