Peppermint is a flowering plant that grows throughout Europe and North America. Peppermint is widely cultivated for its fragrant oil. Peppermint oil has been used historically for numerous health conditions, including common cold symptoms, cramps, headache, indigestion, joint pain, and nausea. Peppermint leaf has been used for stomach/intestinal disorders and for gallbladder disease. Mint plants such as peppermint and spearmint have a long history of medicinal use, dating to ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The scientific name for peppermint ( Mentha x piperita ) is derived from the name Mintha, a Greek mythological nymph who transformed herself into the plant, and from the Latin piper meaning "pepper." Peppermint is believed to be a cross (hybrid) between spearmint and water mint. Peppermint oil is available in bulk herb oil, enteric-coated capsules, soft gelatin capsules, and in liquid form. In small doses, such as in tea or chewing gum, peppermint is generally believed to be safe in healthy, non-pregnant, non-allergic adults. The United States is a principal producer of peppermint, and the largest markets for peppermint oil are manufacturers of chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwash, and pharmaceuticals.
Clove is widely cultivated in Indonesia, Sri-Lanka, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Brazil. It is used in limited amounts in food products as a fragrant, flavoring agent, and antiseptic. Clinical trials assessing monotherapy of clove are limited, although the expert panel German Commission E has approved the use of clove as a topical antiseptic and anesthetic. Other uses for clove, such as premature ejaculation, dry socket, and fever reduction, lack reliable human clinical evidence. Clove is sometimes added to tobacco in cigarettes, and clove cigarettes ("kreteks") typically contain 60% tobacco and 40% ground cloves. Eugenol, a constituent of clove, has been used for analgesic, local anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects. It is used in the form of a paste or mixture as dental cement, filler, and restorative material. Plant oils, including clove, may be used in livestock to inhibit microbial fermentation in waste products. Clove oil may be found in high concentration licorice (glycyrrhizin) products to prevent gel formation in an aqueous solution.