Ancient Japanese knew the secrets of peppermint. (The miracles of chocolate and cupcakes came to Japan a few centuries later.) Alongside their Egyptian counterparts Japanese healers were prescribing peppermint for digestive and respiratory issues. Toothaches and headaches were also cured with the perfect mint. The current interest in the natural medicines has put the restorative qualities of peppermint back in the spotlight. (Aromatherapy is huge in Santa Monica. Is it popular in your neighborhood, too?) By the way, peppermint oil is packed with omega 3 fatty acids, iron, calcium, Vitamins A and C.
Ninja Note: Japanese mint is sharper than North American mint. If using peppermint essential oil for health or baking, a drop or two can be potent. (I speak experience. Trays of goodies away have been tossed thanks to my generous dousing of essential oils.)
Chocolate, another magical elixir, was allegedly introduced to Japan by the Dutch in the late 1700s