Whether it’s summertime and I’ve just devoured a delicious BBQ meal, or the middle of winter and my roast dinner went down a treat, I always follow the meal up with a cup of peppermint tea.
Drinking peppermint tea in the evening is a wonderful habit to get into. It has some amazing health benefits that you can enjoy, as well as a fresh and rejuvenating flavour. In this guide, I’ll take you through what to expect from a cup of peppermint tea, and a few of my favourite brands to try.
What is Peppermint Tea?
This tea is actually an infusion, as it doesn’t contain any tea from the Camellia sinensis plant (although you can find green tea and peppermint blends that are quite delicious). It’s made by infusing pieces of peppermint leaves in hot water, and then straining out the leaves and consuming the water.
You can make peppermint infusions from fresh peppermint, even the kind you grow in your garden, or using more convenient tea bags that are filled with dried peppermint leaves.
There are numerous types of mints, so avoid any vaguely labelled “mint tea” types and focus on those called “peppermint”. Otherwise, you may end up drinking spearmint, wild mint, fieldmint, or a blend of them all. There are over 25 different varieties from the mint (Mentha) genus, and peppermint (Piperita) is just one of them. See mint types below for more info.
What it Tastes Like
It’s minty, that’s for sure! Peppermint is a common flavouring for toothpastes, chewing gum, and hard sweets, like candy canes. But these mint flavours are usually sweetened. Real peppermint has less sweetness and more menthol.
Menthol is that bright cold flavour that clears your nose and freshens in your throat. Peppermint has a lot of menthol in it, along with subtle sweetness, and slight green leafy-ness (if you know what I mean).
You should brew lightly, to reduce the menthol and create a subtle flavour… or you can be brew strongly to really clear a cold and freshen your mouth.
That’s part of the beauty of this! With chewing gum and toothpaste, it’s all or nothing. But with this infusion, you can control how strong the flavour becomes. I prefer my peppermint tisane quite light.
How This Herbal Infusion Makes You Feel
Tea has calming vibes. Sitting down with a hot cup in your hands is a wonderful, relaxing and soothing feeling. But peppermint tea is a little different. It can be either relaxing or invigorating. A really strong cup of peppermint tea in the mornings may make you feel awake, bright and ready for the day.
Whereas in the evenings, it may relax you and get you in the mood for sleep. Not unlike brushing your teeth, it can quickly become a significant minty moment in your daily sleep and wake routines.
Peppermint Tea Health Benefits
Drinking this can have some mild benefits for your health. Don’t expect miracles, but a cup or two of peppermint tea may soothe your stomach and relieve other minor ailments. As always, I recommend you seek a doctor for professional medical advice if you are considering taking peppermint supplements or drinking peppermint tea to treat a specific illness!
Freshen Your Breath
Not only is mint tea a really nice way to freshen your breath, the anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties of peppermint (outlined in this summary study) can keep your mouth clean too. Along with cheese and onion crisps, bacteria can actually cause bad odours in your mouth, so it’s an excellent choice.
According to this study about peppermint extract and rats, peppermint can significantly and adversely impact male hormones. It reduced testosterone levels. While that’s bad news for men’s reproductive health, I can’t help but wonder if reducing testosterone levels could be beneficial for other people and other medical conditions? It’s something that could be explored further, at least.
Improve Memory and Alertness
The Journal of Plant Medicines reports that peppermint tea can improve short-term and long-term memory quite quickly after you finish consuming a cup. Maybe even as soon as 20 minutes after. They also found that it boosted alertness. So, a cup of peppermint tea before an exam or at work could boost your performance.
Spearmint Tea for Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Technically, this health benefit is for spearmint rather than peppermint. But as you can buy many mint mixed teas, especially in supermarkets, I thought it would be good to include this. One study found that spearmint could be helpful as a natural treatment for hirsutism, common with PCOS.
Several studies have found peppermint to be a promising remedy for IBS symptoms. To be specific, peppermint oils were found effective at relieving abdominal pain in diarrhoea from IBS. So, that’s another good reason to try peppermint when you’re having trouble digesting!
My 3 Favourite Peppermint Tea Bags (UK)
Twinings – if you want a classic, you can’t go wrong with Twinings’ Pure Peppermint. But they also have some other blends including Peppermint and Strawberry, and one of my favourites, Medley of Mint.
Teapigs – I’ve not had the chance to write many reviews of Teapigs, but they’re always best sellers and I’ve come to trust their tea quality. Teapigs Peppermint is simple but delicious and comes in pyramid sachets.
Whittard – one of my favourite tea brands, Whittard offer a lovely loose leaf Peppermint tea that I adore. They also include peppermint in their popular Marrakech Mint blend, which has green tea in it too. All their teas are available as loose leaf or in teabag format.
Peppermint Leaves vs Other Mint Tea Types
When it comes to mint, there are a few types to know about.
- Peppermint – bright, strong menthol flavour, quite sweet but mostly refreshing.
- Spearmint – less menthol, smoother and sweeter flavour, nice with green tea.
- Wild mint – the flavour depends on the type. Water mint, for example, has a smoother flavour, and chocolate mint (yes, it’s a real plant), can sometimes give a chocolate-like aroma.
Although they’re all similar, peppermint has distinct menthol flavours and different health benefits, so make sure you always read the label to work out which mint tea you are buying.
Summary – Why Peppermint Tea is My Go-To Evening Drink
It’s refreshing, tasty and does a lot of good for your body. And if that wasn’t enough, peppermint tea is usually quite cheap. I like to make it using fresh peppermint when I have some available, but a high-quality peppermint teabag will work just as well.
In the evening, a hot (or even iced) cup of peppermint provides balance, calm, and relaxation.
Still got a burning question? You might find the answers here, or in one of the many reviews on the blog.
How many cups of peppermint tea should you drink a day?
One or two is a good number of cups to drink per day, to experience the digestion benefits. Although, it’s not essential that you drink it each and every day. I like to switch things up and drink a variety of herbal teas on and off.
What are the side effects of peppermint tea?
Drinking too much peppermint tea may give you a headache or irritate your throat. Too much of the cooling menthol in peppermint leaves can irritate the mucous membranes in your throat, making it feel sore. Consuming too much herbal tea is rarely life-threatening!
How long does it take to work?
Personally, I find peppermint tea helps my digestion within an hour of drinking a strong cup of it. Other health benefits like settling your stomach and freshening your breath, happen immediately after drinking it.
What is a good peppermint tea?
A good peppermint tea contains high-quality peppermint leaves, preferably organic ones. It shouldn’t contain any additional flavouring, and it won’t need any additional ingredients like anise or liquorice. It should also be fresh and before the best-before date.
Which brand of peppermint tea is best?
I prefer Twinings and Teapigs in the UK. They provide the best flavour and use high-quality peppermint leaves in their infusions.