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Can Peppermint Improve Athletic Performance?

When researchers found that spraying whiffs of peppermint in night clubs seemed to perk people up, making them feel more cheerful and wanting to dance more, they decided to go a step further to see if the herb could help in other areas. In the business community, secretaries exposed to peppermint aroma typed faster. And, when the same was tried with college athletes on treadmills, they too seemed to do better, NutritionFacts.org reports.

While more intensive follow-up studies failed to replicate these findings, another study did find that eating peppermint, or drinking water with a single drop of essential oil of peppermint in it, did help, Nutrition Facts adds. So what is it about peppermint that makes you feel so peppy?

Peppermint and peppermint oil have been used for hundreds of years in both aromatherapy and as an internal elixir for a number of things including improving memory and raising alertness. It’s believed that the menthol and menthone in peppermint are the active ingredients that make you feel refreshed — which is probably why peppermint is so widely used in lozenges, toothpastes and balms.

Some of the other health benefits of peppermint include easing irritable bowel syndrome and other gastric disorders such as upset stomach and indigestion, inhibiting histamine release for relief of allergic rhinitis (hay fever), and easing muscle spasms and pain. As a dental therapeutic, it’s reported to be good for inhibiting the formation of biofilm linked to dental cavities, as well as a simple breath freshener.

As an aromatherapy, it is reported to be good for reducing anxiety and headaches, and addressing respiratory problems such as asthma, colds and flu.
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