Are you still looking at all those candy canes you bought or received during recent weeks? Well, don’t throw them away; they could be good for you!
Cinnamon has long been known for its medicinal purposes, but did you know peppermint is also one of nature’s little health treasures? Crunch up those canes and toss sprinkles into your coffee or cocoa, whip up some peppermint bark, or just chomp on one and you may just reap some of the following great benefits:
Peppermint is great for taming tummy troubles, ranging from nausea to menstrual cramps. Recent evidence shows it’s also a powerful response to irritable bowel syndrome. In fact, an Italian study found that IBS symptoms were significantly reduced among 75 percent of patients who took peppermint oil capsules for one month.
Peppermint has also been known to curb cravings and who doesn’t want to do that after the holidays?! In one study, just smelling peppermint oil every two hours made participants less hungry, resulting in them eating 2,800 fewer calories than those who didn’t smell the sweet scent.
Holidays tend to bring on headaches caused by tension, anxiety and alcohol, but did you know that rubbing peppermint oil on your forehead and temples is just as effective as acetaminophen?
Tis the season for stuffing noses, and yes, peppermint can help here too. Peppermint is chalk-full of menthol, the compound found in over-the-counter cough and cold medicines.
The scent of peppermint can also improve concentration. The yummy scent has been linked to greater alertness, motivation, and even performance. One Maryland middle school has gone so far as to provide peppermint candies for students during state-wide testing periods.
Now, about those candy canes. They too have an interesting story behind them. Think about it: the shepherd’s crook was at the first worshipping of Christ as the shepherds paid homage to the newborn savior and a candy cane looks just like one of their crooks. The colors of the candy cane, red and white, are also significant as they represent our Lord’s sacrifice and purity. And finally, turn a candy cane upside down and what do you get? The letter “J” for Jesus!
So enjoy one of the season’s most popular treats, feel their healing power, and don’t forget what they stand for.