Native to south-eastern Australia, peppermint gum grows to about 30 metres and has peppermint flavoured leaves which are glossy grey to grey brown. Indigenous peoples used peppermint gum as tonics for gastro-intestinal symptoms, the gum when mixed with water was taken internally to calm the stomach and used as a health tonic. It can be used as an anaesthetic and a cough suppressant, as a decongestant and expectorant and even to fight bad breath. Eucalyptol, the essential oil present in the leaves, has also been used as an antiseptic, to treat parasitic worms and even to reduce blood pressure. The oil within the leaves also makes a beautifully aromatic essential oil. The dried leaves can be used in baking and desserts as well as in meat dishes, pies and sauces, and more recently as a flavouring in gin.
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