Have you been wondering if there’s any difference between peppermint and mint? Are they the same thing or not?
Well, peppermint is an herbaceous flowering plant with a strong, spicy flavor while mint is a common or family name of several related aromatic and medicinal plants of which peppermint is one of them.
Mint and peppermint have some similarities, but they also differ in several ways. Both plants have aromatic leaves that can be used to make tea and tinctures. They both grow in temperate climates, and they can be found at similar heights.
But what are the differences between them?
In this article, I’ll be revealing some key similarities and differences between peppermint and mint. In addition to that, you will also find out the benefits of using the two.
What is Mint?
Mint refers to Mentha plants belonging to the family of Lamiaceae that have been used medicinally since ancient times. The Lamiaceae family contains different plant species, including basil mint, lavender mint, and spearmint among others.
Mints are used to flavor foods like chocolate, candy, cookies, gum, tea, and even beauty products. They can be grown in gardens for their aromatic leaves and flowers. You can use mint fresh or dried in many dishes and infusions.
SEE: Does Cinnamon Go Bad and Start to Mold?
What is Peppermint?
Peppermint is a type of mint with a strong, spicy flavor. It’s used in candy and other foods, but it can also be used as an herb for tea and other recipes. Peppermint has a very strong scent that’s often used in products and foods such as chewing gum and toothpaste.
SEE: Can You Eat Tamarind Seeds?
What are the similarities between mint and Peppermint?
1. Mint and Peppermint contain menthol
Mint and Peppermint contain menthol and produce a cooling effect on the mouth. Menthol is a chemical compound that causes a cooling sensation when it touches your tongue. It can be found in many plants, including mint and peppermint.
Menthol has been used as a natural remedy for colds, stomach pains, and even headaches. The cooling sensation produced by this compound is attributed to its ability to stimulate nerve endings in the mouth that are responsible for making you feel cold.
This same mechanism can also be triggered by menthol-containing products such as chewing gum or mint candies.
SEE: Ginger vs Ginger Root: How They Are Different
2. Mint and Peppermint are used in cooking
Both mint and peppermint are used in cooking in recipes from around the world. Mint adds an aromatic scent to foods such as soups and stews; it also adds flavor to tea when added to hot water just before serving.
Peppermint adds its distinctive flavor to baked goods such as cakes and cookies; it also adds flavor to beverages like tea when added at the last minute before serving (just before pouring).
3. Mint and peppermint are medicinal
Both mint and peppermint have been used as traditional medicines for hundreds of years. Peppermint contains menthol, which helps relieve headaches and sore throats; it also has antispasmodic properties that help reduce muscle spasms.
Mint contains camphor oil, which helps relieve congestion and other respiratory problems caused by colds or flu symptoms. It may also help relieve pain caused by arthritis or toothaches.
What is the difference between Mint and Peppermint?
The main difference between peppermint and mint is the taste and flavor. Peppermint oil has a much stronger flavor than mint extract does.
Peppermint is a flavoring extract that comes from the oil of the peppermint plant. Mint, on the other hand, is used to describe various plants that are closely related to the peppermint plant.
Mint extract is often used to flavor baked goods and beverages because it does not have the same strong flavor as other spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.
SEE: Ginger vs Ginger Root: How They Are Different
What are the benefits of Mint and Peppermint?
1. Contain a lot of nutrients
Mint contains many essential nutrients such as iron, manganese, vitamins A, Folate, and more. In addition to eating fresh mint leaves or chewing on sticks of mint, and candy treats you can also drink tea made from dried mint leaves or make your fresh herbal remedies by infusing dried mint leaves in water.
2. Improves irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs and symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, etc.
Mint can improve IBS by regulating digestive enzymes as well as calming down your colon muscles so that they don’t contract and spasm when there is too much gas or stomach cramps.
3. Help in indigestion relief
Mint improves digestion because it helps to stimulate the secretion of digestive juices by increasing peristalsis (the rhythmic contractions that push food through your intestines). Mint also reduces acidity in the stomach which helps prevent heartburn (reflux) and indigestion.
4. It can help improve brain function
Mint and peppermint can improve your mental health by improving brain function. They have been shown to increase blood flow to the brain as well as reduce inflammation in the brain.
This means they may help with memory loss and neurodegenerative diseases. These herbs also have a positive effect on mood and anxiety levels.
4. Good for covering bad breath or mouth odors
Mint is also great at covering bad breath and freshening your breath after eating or drinking something that causes bad breath.
With it, you can freshen your breath, and helps eliminate bad odors from the mouth. This is why they are often used in candies, toothpaste, and mouthwashes.
5. Helps in fighting bacterial infections
The mint species is one of the most popular and beautiful herbs used in traditional medicines. These plants are widely used as antiseptic, digestive, and healing agents.
Unlike other aromatic herbs, mints have even been used to fight infections and bacteria because they contain compounds that can help prevent illness caused by bacteria like E. coli.
6. Serves as a great addition to your diet
In addition to these benefits, mint has many other uses that make it a valuable addition to your diet. The most popular variety of mint is peppermint because it has a strong flavor that can be used for flavoring food or as an ingredient in medicines.
7. They help in relieving tension headaches and migraines
Mint and peppermint are both soothing ingredients that can help relieve tension headaches and migraines.
Studies have shown that certain cannabinoids in peppermint oil specifically can help fight against an increase in blood pressure and heart rate during stressful times.
What are the Types of Mint Available?
While there are varieties of mint, the most common ones include;
- Basil mint
- Pineapple mint
- Ginger mint
- Red Raripila mint
- Chocolate mint
- Orange mint
- Lavender mint
- Grapefruit mint
- Licorice mint
- Chewing Gum mint
- Apple mint (Woolly mint)
- Watermint Corn or Field mint
What does the peppermint plant look like?
The appearance of peppermint is a square stem, stalked, smooth, dark green leaves, and blunt oblong clusters of pinkish lavender flowers. Just like every other mint, the peppermint plant can spread aggressively using stolons (underground stems).
Which type of mint is the most popular?
Peppermint is the most common type of mint and it’s widely used in foods, beverages, and medicines.
Which mint is best for tea?
While you can mix the two, spearmint and peppermint are the best varieties of mint you can add to your tea. Although you can use dried mint for tea, it doesn’t compare to the flavor of fresh herbs. You can serve it hot or iced, sweetened or unsweetened, and with or without lemon.
Conclusion: Peppermint Vs Mint
Mint and peppermint are both a part of the mint family. Both have very similar tastes, but they do have some differences. Mint is often used in foods such as tea and lemonade, while peppermint is used more commonly in sweets such as candy and gum.
Mint has a fresh, cool taste, which complements many foods. Peppermint has a more intense taste that pairs well with chocolate and other sweet foods. While these are the few differences between the two, they have more similarities since they belong to the same family.
Mint and peppermint are usually grown in gardens throughout the world where they grow best. They can also be grown indoors or outdoors as long as they get plenty of sunlight exposure. So, if you have a garden, feel free to plant some mint plants.
I hope you found this article helpful. You should also check out the Cheffist comparison category. There are plenty of helpful comparison articles to help you clear up confusion surrounding many similar cuisines, ingredients, and food items.
Thank you for reading.