PEPPERMINT Guide: All you Need to Know

Today, people are looking for more and more foods to naturally give their meals a unique flavor in order to avoid consuming products with many chemical components.

In this blog, you’ll learn everything about peppermint. You’ll find out: what is peppermint, what are its morphological characteristics, what is done with this plant, its benefits, where it originated, how is the global industry of peppermint, and what must be taken into account for its cultivation.

What is peppermint and what are its characteristics? 

The peppermint plant is part of the Lamiaceaceaceae family, characterized by herbs, shrubs, and trees. In this case, the Mentha genus has more than 25 species, but the most important is peppermint (Mentha Sativa). Below, you can see the main morphological characteristics of this plant.

Scientific nameMentha Sativa  
Common namePeppermint, mint.
Place of originEurope
HabitatTemperate and humid climates.
FruitPeppermint leaves

Morphological characteristics of spearmint

This plant has the following physical characteristics:

  • Peppermint is a perennial plant, that is, it lives more than two years, compared to annual plants that complete their life cycle in one year.
  • It can grow up to 80 cm tall and its stem is dark purple.
  • Its leaves are green with shiny shades, rough textured to the touch, and have a rather unique and exquisite minty aroma.
  • The herb blooms 3 mm long small flowers either purple, pink, or white.  

What is peppermint used for? 

Mint, believe it or not, has several uses; in gastronomy, it is used for its unique aroma and flavor. For example, it is included in different drinks, such as cold drinks like the mojito -a cocktail made with water, ice, lemon, mint, and rum- or in hot beverages like tea. One product that stands out the most is peppermint essential oil, used in gastronomy or as an important component in products such as toothpaste.

It is also used to flavor or aromatize different products marketed around the world:

  • Ice cream
  • Chewing gums
  • Mints
  • Juices
  • Waters
  • Tea
  • Soft drinks
  • Mouth fresheners
  • Soaps
  • Tonics, among others.

Does peppermint have health benefits? 

Nutritional table of peppermint 

Although peppermint doesn’t provide many calories, here is a nutritional table taken from the United States Department of Agriculture (2019) for you to know what its major components are.

Nutritional information about peppermint 
Serving: 2 spoons of peppermint (11,4g) 
Water9,76 grams
Energy5,02 calories
Protein0,375 grams
Total lipids (fats)0,083 grams
Carbohydrates0,959 grams
Fiber0,775 grams
Calcium22,7 milligrams
Iron1,36 milligrams
Magnesium7,18 milligrams
Phosphorus6,84 milligrams
Potassium52,2 milligrams
Sodium3,42 milligrams
Zinc0,124 milligrams
Copper0,027 milligrams
Manganese0,128 milligrams
Vitamin C1,52 milligrams
Thiamine0,009 milligrams
Riboflavin0,02 milligrams
Niacin0,108 milligrams
Pantothenic acid0,028 milligrams
Vitamin B60,018 milligrams
Folate12 micrograms
Vitamin B120 micrograms
Vitamin A23,1 micrograms
Retinol0 micrograms
Total saturated fatty acids0,022 grams
Total monounsaturated fatty acids0,003 grams
Total polyunsaturated fatty acids0,045 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Tryptophan0,006 grams
Threonine0,015 grams
Isoleucine0,015 grams
Leucine0,028 grams
Lysine0,016 grams
Methionine0,005 grams
Cystine0,004 grams
Phenylalanine0,019 grams
Tyrosine0,011 grams
Valina0,019 grams
Arginine0,017 grams
Histidine0,008 grams
Alanine0,019 grams
Aspartic acid0,044 grams
Glutamic acid0,041 grams
Glycine0,018 grams
Proline0,015 grams
Serina0,015 grams

3 health benefits of peppermint 

According to the scientific journal Molecules (2021) peppermint has the following properties:

1. Antioxidant capacity

It’s no secret that every day people are looking for new natural products with numerous benefits. Well, in the case of this plant, peppermint essential oil is an antioxidant, what does this mean? Let me explain, the body generates molecules called free radicals that are dangerous when they accumulate in cells and other molecules. This, in turn, produces something called oxidative stress, a process in which there are many free radicals and few antioxidants that can fight them, thus producing different negative effects in the body such as the possible generation of diseases. Now, the magazine states that this essential oil can eliminate free radicals thanks to its antioxidant capacity, as it prevents oxidative stress.

2. Antibacterial capacity 

Diseases and infections are a daily concern, they are caused by bacteria and fungi and as I mentioned before, people seek natural products that can help fight different issues, avoiding the use of drugs that may have side effects. The scientific journal says that peppermint and other Mentha species have antibacterial capacity, which can greatly impact the future production of new drugs with plants in their components.

3. Antiviral capacity 

Many infections are caused by viruses and extremely small germs. An example of this is the common cold that we know all over the world. The scientific journal asserts that peppermint essential oil can act as an antiviral agent because it contains substances such as rosmarinic acid, luteolin, and phytol, which have antiviral and antimicrobial action in the human body.


To be noted, the magazine also states that some people may have allergic reactions to Mentha Spicata or other Mentha species.

Traditional medical uses of Peppermint 

Peppermint has been used for centuries to treat different ailments through a traditional medicinal method, for example:

  • It has been used to treat respiratory diseases such as the common cold, bronchitis, sinusitis, and tuberculosis.
  • In Iranian traditional medicine, peppermint is believed to strengthen the stomach and is effective against indigestion, nausea, belching or bloating.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used to help the liver function properly.
  • In traditional Indian medicine, it is used to treat skin problems, to promote good digestive health, and to soothe headaches.

Where did peppermint originate?

Peppermint is said to have originated in Europe, but there is no specific country or place. It is also believed to be one of the oldest known species of the genus Mentha, as it has had a wide variety of uses and applications for many years. In ancient Greece, mint was used to whiten teeth, cure mouth ulcers or better known as sores and also as a bath with this plant to treat sexually transmitted diseases.

It used to be also common to use this herb in corpse embalming, a practice that continued until the Middle Ages, and even in Europe it was used to embalm people who belonged to the elite, in fact, in the body of Richard the Lionheart (King of England 1189-1199), remains of this plant were found. This was done for the preservation of the body and also to give it a good aroma that was unique.

Peppermint Industry in the World 

The industry of peppermint is not so big worldwide, but in this section we want you to know a little about the production, export and import of this herb. The information was taken from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, 2020).

Top 3 countries that produce more peppermint 

Here, you can see a table with the 3 countries that produced the most mint in 2020, according to FAO.

PositionCountryQuantity in tons produced in 2020Cultivated area in hectares in 2020
Argentina6.991No data

Top 3 countries that export the most mint 

Now, the export of this plant had the following performance in 2020:

  1. Myanmar or Burma was the country that exported the most. they exported a total amount of 30,175 tons.
  2. Morocco, besides being the largest producer, also stands out in export, with a total of 757 tons exported.
  3. Mali, although not as high as the first 2 places, it exported 57 tons.

Top 3 countries that import the most peppermint 

PositionCountry 2019Imports in tons (2019)Countries 2020Imports in tons (2020)

Finally, in the following table, you can compare the import of peppermint between 2019 and 2020, so you can know if there was any significant change.

How is peppermint cultivated? 

In this section, you’ll learn about the main characteristics to keep in mind when growing peppermint. Let’s continue!

Climate and soil for mint 

This plant is best planted in areas with temperate and humid climates, but it should be borne in mind that it doesn’t resist cold well and is sensitive to frost. As for the soil, it can be said that this herb is not demanding, soils that are rich in organic matter and moist are preferred because they have a better yield.

Propagation and harvesting of spearmint 

Mint is usually propagated by sprouting shoots taken from mature plants, which are sown independently and immediately watered with water. Harvesting is done before the plant enters flowering, then when the plant is 20 to 25 cm high, it is cut at ground level and harvested. It should be noted that the plant does not die, on the contrary, it grows stronger.


As you could see, peppermint has been used since ancient times and yet its worldwide industry is not so big if we compare it with other foodstuffs. Now that you know more about peppermint, would you like to include it more in your diet?