The leaves and tops of Mentha piperita, Smith (Mentha X piperita L.) (Nat. Ord. Labiatae). Europe and the United States. Dose, 60 to 120 grains.
Common Names: Peppermint.
Principal Constituents.—A volatile oil (Oleum Mentha, Piperitae) and menthol. (See Menthol.)
Preparations.—1. Oleum Menthae Piperitae, Oil of Peppermint. (A clear, colorless oil having the strong odor and taste of peppermint and giving a sensation of cold when air is drawn into the mouth or water is drunk; soluble in alcohol.) Dose, 1 to 10 drops.
2. Aqua Menthae Piperitae, Peppermint Water. Dose, 1 fluidrachm to 1 fluidounce.
3. Spiritus Menthae Piperitae, Spirit of Peppermint (Essence of Peppermint—10 per cent oil). Dose, 5 to 60 drops.
Derivative.—Menthol. (See Menthol.)
Specific Indications.—Gastrodynia, flatulent colic, difficult digestion.
Action and Therapy.—External. Oil of Peppermint is rubefacient and anodyne. It is used alone or in combination with other oils for the relief of neuralgia and toothache, in both of which it is often very efficient. Its external use has been somewhat superseded by menthol, the camphoraceous body to which oil of peppermint owes most of its virtues. Still it is used largely to relieve local pain, especially that of burns and scalds.
Internal. Peppermint infusion is a very grateful agent to allay nausea and vomiting, and to break up a cold. It forms a part of the well-known Neutralizing Cordial. The essence is a common and unexcelled carminative for gastrodynia and the flatulent colic of children, and is used extensively to modify the action and mask the taste of other medicines. Applied by atomization, essence of peppermint and alcohol, equal parts, frequently eases the pain of tonsillitis and gives relief in the cough of acute bronchitis and pneumonia.