Drinking Peppermint Tea Boosts Memory

research confirms peppermint tea increases memory

Photo by Juan Carlos Martins

Next time you head into an important meeting or you are giving a speech, you might consider drinking a cup of peppermint tea. Why, you ask? Because peppermint tea can increase short-term and long-term memory – within twenty minutes.

Peppermint tea tested against for memory and cognition

In a release from the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Nottingham, researchers have found that peppermint tea can immediately increase short- and long-term memory.

The researchers, Dr Mark Moss, Robert Jones and Lucy Moss from the UK’s Northumbria University, tested 180 healthy people. They were randomly selected to drink peppermint tea, chamomile tea or hot water. Before they consumed the tea, the researchers gave all the subjects questionnaires that rated their moods. Then twenty minutes after drinking the teas or water, they were tested with another questionnaire that measured their short and long term memories and other cognitive functions.

The researchers found that the peppermint tea significantly improved long term memory of the subjects. Peppermint tea also increased working memory and alertness compared to the other drinks.

Contrasting the peppermint tea, those who drank the chamomile tea showed a reduction of attention and memory compared to the peppermint tea and the hot water group.

Dr. Moss of Northumbria University commented on the research:

“It’s interesting to see the contrasting effects on mood and cognition of the two different herbal teas. The enhancing and arousing effects of peppermint and the calming/sedative effects of chamomile observed in this study are in keeping with the claimed properties of these herbs and suggest beneficial effects can be drawn from their use.”

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Not the first study to link peppermint with memory

This is not the first time that peppermint has been linked to memory. Researchers tested 144 people who were exposed to the aromas of the essential oils of ylang-ylang, peppermint or no aroma (control). The researchers tested their cognitive performance using the Cognitive Drug Research computerized assessment test.

The research found that the peppermint oil aroma significantly increased memory, while the ylang-ylang oil aroma inhibited memory and slowed processing speeds. The researchers also found the peppermint aroma resulted in increased alertness.

Like the chamomile tea, the ylang-ylang aromatherapy decreased alertness, but also increased calmness.

In a study from The Netherlands’ Leiden University, researchers tested peppermint aromatherapy again lavender and other odors. They found peppermint aromatherapy to stimulate “a more focused, exclusive state.”

What’s in peppermint that increases memory?

Peppermint – or Mentha piperita AKA Mentha balsamea Willd is a hybrid plant. A natural crossbreed between spearmint and watermint, most true peppermint plants do not produce seeds. Rather, they must be cultivated by planting shoots.

After being cultivated for centuries in different parts of the world, peppermint is now growing wild in many areas. Some regions now consider it a weed.

Peppermint’s main medicinal constituents include menthol, menthone, menthyl acetate, menthofuran and cineaol. It also contains pulegone, pinene, caryophyllene and limonene. Each of these constituents contribute to its ability to help the body in a number of ways.

These include its ability to reduce nerve pain and muscle pain. It is also antibiotic and to some degree, antifungal. It also helps digestion and helps reduce inflammation of the mucosal membranes of the oral cavity and upper digestive tract.

Within the digestive tract, peppermint can help reduce gas (carminative) and helps stimulate the production of bile within the intestines. This helps digestion even further.

We discussed peppermint’s ability to help treat intestinal spasms and irritable bowel syndrome here.

This bile secretion benefit was studied specifically, and peppermint’s menthol, menthol and limonene constituents were shown to promote bile secretion. The researchers noted that these should then help significantly decrease total cholesterol levels.

Some reports have mentioned that peppermint may not be so good for those who have excessive heartburn, however.

Peppermint has also been shown to help treat tension headaches. A German study recently investigated using a 10 percent peppermint solution to treat tension headaches in children and adults with positive results.

German Commission E has approved the use of peppermint as a treatment for most of the above.

Peppermint tea is also one of the most commercially available herbal teas in most of the Western world. It is also a good alternative to coffee and black tea in that it not only stimulates memory, but is itself a decent stimulant.

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REFERENCES:

British Psychological Society. Peppermint tea can help improve your memory. Public Eureka Alert. Release: 28-APR-2016.

Moss M, Hewitt S, Moss L, Wesnes K. Modulation of cognitive performance and mood by aromas of peppermint and ylang-ylang. Int J Neurosci. 2008 Jan;118(1):59-77.

Sellaro R, Hommel B, Rossi Paccani C, Colzato LS. With peppermints you’re not my prince: aroma modulates self-other integration. Atten Percept Psychophys. 2015 Nov;77(8):2817-25. doi: 10.3758/s13414-015-0955-9.

Hu G, Yuan X, Zhang S, Wang R, Yang M, Wu C, Wu Z, Ke X. Research on choleretic effect of menthol, menthone, pluegone, isomenthone, and limonene in DanShu capsule. Int Immunopharmacol. 2015 Feb;24(2):191-7. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2014.12.001.

Radaelli M, da Silva BP, Weidlich L, Hoehne L, Flach A, da Costa LA, Ethur EM. Antimicrobial activities of six essential oils commonly used as condiments in Brazil against Clostridium perfringens. Braz J Microbiol. 2016 Apr-Jun;47(2):424-30. doi: 10.1016/j.bjm.2015.10.001.

Göbel H, Heinze A, Heinze-Kuhn K, Göbel A, Göbel C. Peppermint oil in the acute treatment of tension-type headache. Schmerz. 2016 Apr 22.

Case Adams is a California Naturopath with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn ones health around. As I drove home that night, I realized I needed to get this knowledge out to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.”

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