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Peppermint tea in pregnancy is a double-edged sword. It drives away the nausea in the first few weeks, relieves cramps in the stomach and intestine, but also leads to contractions of the uterus in excess and can thus cause premature labor. Here are the most important facts:
- Up to two cups of mint tea are not a problem during pregnancy.
- A lot of mint tea stimulates the metabolism and in extreme cases can even cause contractions and lead to premature births and miscarriages.
- Do not drink mint tea if you suffer from heartburn.
- Avoid mint oil during pregnancy.
Getting pregnant is not easy for many reasons. One of them is: You have to drink far more than usual, because the liquid transports the nutrients that the baby needs. The more fluid you take in, the more blood you have, the more water you use - and that's good for the fetus. At the same time, you have to pay more attention than usual to what you drink: alcohol is of course taboo, caffeine is only in small doses, but some healthy drinks can also have undesired consequences in large quantities.
Peppermint tea is popular worldwide. No wonder: it helps against indigestion, flatulence and gastritis. Peppermint helps when the gallbladder cramps, the tea boosts the production of the bile juices and ensures that they can flow. The same applies to the stomach, where it promotes the discharge of gastric juice and helps to empty the stomach and stimulate the appetite. It drives flatulence in the intestine and thus ensures that abdominal pain caused by flatulence disappears.
It also helps against the symptoms of flu and a cold. The tea fights germs in the mouth and throat and works against cough as well as against sore throat and clears the airways. In short: Peppermint tea is a home remedy for various ailments, which can also be purchased anywhere and also tastes good.
Peppermint is not a "natural" plant, but a hybrid of creek mint and spearmint, which the biologist John Ray discovered in a garden in 1696. Today there are countless shapes that differ in appearance, potency and taste. Black mint denotes dark green, white mint light green variants.
Peppermint loves a temperate climate and overgrows here, in southern Germany as in England. Breeding cultures exist, among others, in the Balkans, in Spain, in the northeast of the USA and in South America. In Germany, the cultivation centers are located near Munich, in Franconia, Lower and Upper Bavaria, in the Upper Palatinate and in Thuringia.
The leaves of peppermint contain the essential peppermint oil and can therefore be used for tea and as a spice, for example for lamb dishes and desserts. The older the leaves are, the more menthol they contain. It is harvested once in summer before flowering and once in autumn. Most of the leaves are commercially available dried or processed into peppermint oil.
Peppermint is very popular as a medicinal plant, but the leaves have too little active ingredient to be considered a regular medicine. They only get this quality when they contain 1.2 percent or more essential oil. In addition to the oil, peppermint also contains tannins and flavonoids.
On the one hand, the oil serves as a flavor carrier, on the other hand it is also inhaled for colds or applied to the skin in the case of infections. Rubbing your temples helps against migraines and other headaches. A cold is a subjective effect, because the cooling effect is perceived as pleasant by the sick, the mint does not help with the swelling. The active ingredients also have a calming effect, which is why peppermint tea also helps you fall asleep, against nervousness, anxiety and stress.
Good for pregnant women?
In small quantities, i.e. up to two cups a day, there are no negative effects of the tea to fear for pregnant women. The tea mainly helps against the symptoms of the first phase of pregnancy, especially against nausea and vomiting. Pregnant women can also drink peppermint tea against inconveniences caused by pregnancy: flatulence, diarrhea, colds or problems falling asleep.
The dose makes it
The menthol in peppermint oil warms the body and stimulates the metabolism. Like plants with similar effects - cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, chilli and basil - it accelerates the contractions. In the worst case, the uterus is stimulated so that miscarriage occurs.
But there is no scaremongering. The oil is present in the dried leaves in such a small amount that with two cups of tea a day there are no unwanted effects. However, pregnant women should completely avoid peppermint oil. Under no circumstances should you take mint tea if you suffer from heartburn, because it stimulates the production of stomach acid.
Which combinations are suitable?
Under no circumstances should you take mint tea with other circulatory agents during pregnancy. Anise stimulates the uterus in large quantities, under no circumstances may you use anise oil. The same applies to verbena, angelica and fennel. All of these herbs are harmless in small doses and as a kitchen spice for pregnant women.
However, if you use the herbs together, their effects on the uterus increase: a small dose of peppermint plus a small dose of verbena and a small dose is quite a large dose. So use all these herbs sparingly.
A tip: If you like to drink a lot of peppermint tea and are two cups a day short of it, then mix the mint tea with other teas that are good for the pregnant body. Rooibos tea is very suitable. First, it is mild and, secondly, it contains a lot of iron, which you need to an increased extent during pregnancy. Black tea, on the other hand, should only be consumed to a small extent like pure mint tea, since too much caffeine is not good during pregnancy. Chamomile tea is also suitable for mixing, which also prevents inflammation.
For pregnancy teas, you can mix peppermint with a lady's mantle (regulates hormones, helps against nausea), lemon balm (for tension and stress), sea buckthorn, St. John's wort and lemongrass. Lavender flowers have a calming effect.
Peppermint tea (cooled) goes well with banana milk and peach juice. You can mix dried peppermint leaves in yoghurt or prepare a smoothie with peppermint tea, carrots and lemon.
And while breastfeeding?
While you can consume moderate amounts of peppermint during pregnancy, you should avoid it during the breastfeeding phase. Mint tea slows down milk production (tip: to increase this, you can use fenugreek instead). In addition, the steam of the mint tea can trigger allergic reactions in the baby and even lead to shortness of breath. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Pia Dahlem, Gabi Freiburg: "The Great Book of Tea", Moewig, 2000
- Helga Ell-Beiser: "Medicinal Plants in Pregnancy", DHZ - German alternative practitioner magazine, 2017; 2: 42-46