Peppermint, A Friend of Focus (& A Kick To Your Coffee or Cocoa)

If you have been around the wellness sector of the internet, from websites like Greatist to the health tab of Pinterest, you have probably heard of peppermint helping with motivation and focus — but does it really help all that much?

Unlike many internet wellness tips, this one has science to back it up. In the 1990s, researchers at the University of Cincinnati put peppermint to the test, and found that just a whiff of peppermint helped test subjects focus on short term tasks and maintaining that focus when performing tasks that required consistent concentration. One of the professors who performed the research, Joel Warm, said that “Not only do you get an improvement with peppermint, you get a change in response that affects alertness in target detection.” Another study from Northumbria University found that “peppermint tea significantly improved long term memory, working memory, and alertness compared to both chamomile and hot water.” If something as diluted as tea can help that much with brain function, how much more could other, stronger peppermint products?

My earliest experiences with real peppermint was when some volunteer peppermint began growing all over our backyard — and when I say all over, know that I mean everywhere. It sprung up quicker than we could consume it, and my family and I began chewing it for fresh breath, drying it and using it for daily tea, and even using it for seasoning and garnish on everything from chicken to lemonade. While the plants eventually calmed down and became content with the section of yard given to them, it is still a plant we use regularly in addition to Peppermint and Peppermint Vitality essential oils. As much as I adore coffee for helping me hyper focus, caffeine has got nothing on the power of peppermint.

I use peppermint in tea every now and then, but my favorite way to use it is by adding Peppermint Vitality to my water bottle every morning before I exercise, and enjoying it throughout the work day to help me focus. I also sometimes apply Peppermint essential oil to my temples or wrists for an extra boost, or use peppermint tea to keep going in the evenings when I have a deadline. I also love dark chocolate peppermint bark as a focus-helping treat, and adding a few peppermint leaves in lemonade, coffee, or hot cocoa for a lighter flavor.

Have you ever used peppermint to help you focus? What are your favorite ways to use it?

 

 

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