From candy canes to peppermint bark, peppermint is a flavor we see a lot of around the holiday season, but did you know that peppermint is more than just a great flavor for holiday treats? Peppermint’s cooling sensation and calming effect lends itself to a number of health benefits. Here are four ways peppermint can have a healing effect on you this holiday season.

Settle an angry stomach
Winter comes with lots of treats and surprises like cooler weather and snow, the holidays, and lots of food. Don’t worry about that second helping of Mom’s stuffing or that piece of fudge from your work break room. Peppermint can help to relax your stomach muscles, allowing bile to flow easily and assisting in digestion. The relaxing quality of peppermint can also help to relieve flatulence by relaxing the muscles that allow gas to pass. Studies have also indicated that peppermint can help treat symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Calm a tension headache
As the holidays are approaching, many people find their stress levels increasing. The additional stress can lead to the dreaded pressure of tension headaches. Try applying peppermint oil to your temples to help alleviate the tension headache you may get from stressful holiday travel planning and battling the crowded mall this season.

Soothe itchy, dry skin
Skiing, sledding, snowman building! It’s all part of the excitement of winter but can lead to dry, itchy skin. Peppermint’s soothing affect can help to relieve your itchy skin from the cold winter weather exposure. Apply a peppermint cream to dry skin for its analgesic affects and ditch the itch. Just be prepared to smell like a candy cane. Yum!

Relieve a cold
Winter’s cooler weather and exposure to more people while at holiday gatherings or out shopping leads to increased susceptibility to the cold virus. Get relief the natural way with peppermint. The menthol in peppermint acts as a decongestant and expectorant which can help to relieve stuffiness and loosen phlegm to make coughing more productive.

So go ahead and enjoy that peppermint latte, but remember, there’s more than just a cool burst of flavor in the minty herb. You can use it for flavoring food and drinks, but you can also use it for your health.