Peppermint is a plant with highly minty flavored oil in its leaves. It is a hybrid between the watermint and spearmint plants. It is a sterile plant, meaning that it does not produce seeds. It propagates by growing like crazy and trying to take over your garden when you’re not looking (non-scientific explanation). Because of its ability to grow most anywhere, it is often considered a weed, and an invasive species, especially in the United States and Australia. Mint leaves and oil have long been used as traditional medicine, and in more recent history as flavoring for candies, confections, and personal care products. Peppermint is recommended by some as a remedy for upset stomach, nausea or morning sickness due to pregnancy. But does it actually work?
- Better for You – natural peppermint oil is a healthier alternative than pharmaceuticals, and it’s way better than throwing up any day
- Saves Money – if you know where some peppermint is growing, you can get mint leaves for free. Otherwise it is one of the lowest cost nausea remedies available
- All natural – it’s easy to make your own peppermint oil tea
- Works pretty well – the best morning sickness remedy I found
- Freshens breath – a nice little side effect especially for 1st trimester moms who gag just by thinking about their toothbrush
- Flavor burn out can occur if used too often (you get sick and tired of it)
About six months ago I had a friend visit who I hadn’t seen in a while. She was newly pregnant, about 10 weeks along, and feeling pretty miserable. When I offered her something to drink she asked just for a cup of hot water and proceeded to brew her own cup of peppermint tea from a stash in her purse. I asked about this as I had never heard of peppermint tea for morning sickness. My friend told me this was about the only thing she could tolerate, and it really did help her feel better. I love learning new things!
Several months later, it was my turn to do the pregnancy thing again. My first trimester was a rough one. With past pregnancies I had morning sickness in the morning or in the evening, but with this one I was sick all. day. long. As I started losing weight (a first for me with any pregnancy) I knew I would have to try something different in order to get some food to stay in.
Thankfully, peppermint is abundant in my life. Peppermint tea bags are available for free in the work kitchenette. I have a small patch of peppermint (weed) that I allow to have a small corner of my flower garden. And it seems there are always peppermint candies around if I need one.
I started with the tea. I needed to keep hydrated after the regular vomiting, and liked that tea was easily available at work. (It’s also freezing in my office, and it was nice to hold onto a warm cup in those ice cold conference rooms). Most mornings I would start off with a cup of peppermint tea, slowly sipping it over the course of 30 min until it was too col to be palatable. And you know what? It actually worked! Not just while I was drinking the tea, but for at least an hour afterward. The nausea faded, and I could get in a quick snack. I even found that smelling the tea as it brewed and was still too hot to drink helped make that “urpy” feeling fade a bit.
I tried making my own peppermint tea from my collection of mint weeds in the garden and this is what I learned: 1) It takes A LOT of mint leaves to equal the amount of leaves in a tea bag. There was no way my small patch could sustain me for more than a day or two. 2) The tea worked about the same as my 100% peppermint tea bags. 3) I was in my first trimester and could barely get myself dressed and out the door to work in the morning let alone harvest, prepare, and brew some homemade mint tea. Peppermint tea clearly fell into the “Buy It” category for me on this nifty “Make it or Buy it” decision tree.
Finally – the peppermint candies. I found they worked okay, mainly I felt because they kept my mouth slightly distracted. However, I didn’t really like the sweet, sugary film coating my teeth after sucking on one of these for a while. And since pregnant women tend to have more cavity prone mouths (most of the few cavities I’ve ever gotten were while pregnant) I decided to stick with the tea.
Overall, the peppermint really worked to help curb my queasiness! I found the effects to be reasonable long lasting, and the price and time investment is quite low. It was great to have a new weapon in my fight against morning sickness, and I will definitely recommend to all new mothers-to-be. If peppermint hasn’t worked for you, check out my other reviews of papaya and ginger – maybe one of those will do the trick instead!
Have you ever tried peppermint for an upset stomach? What else works for you when you’re feeling queasy?
PS – You know I’m not a doctor, right? This information is based on my experience only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Your experience may vary, even from one pregnancy to the next. Please remember to speak with your healthcare professional about any medical concerns you have, and follow their recommended course of treatment. You can read additional fine print details here.