As of this moment, I’ve decided that peppermint hot chocolate, the kind made with real peppermint, the most delicious raw cacao, and a spoonful of soothing ashwagandha, is perhaps THE most perfect afternoon pick-me-up. It’s smooth and sweet, calming, but also energizing, and simultaneously indulgent and nourishing.
Move over Starbucks, this peppermint hot chocolate is so much better for you.
the medicine of peppermint
Peppermint, the quintessential flavor of winter and the key element of many a breath mint and tube of toothpaste, is so much more than a flavoring. It’s perhaps the most well-known of the many plants than can answer to the name mint. It also has a long history of use in both food and medicine.
Today, the most common medicinal use of peppermint is in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS and Chron’s disease, as well as plain ol’ indigestion, gas and bloating, painful stomach cramping, and a whole slew of other digestive ailments.
And as a gently stimulating nervine, it makes a perfect afternoon pick-me-up as a less jolting alternative to coffee for those sensitive to caffeine.
Whether you enjoy it as a warm cup of peppermint tea or in a smooth and creamy cup of hot chocolate, peppermint is a great addition to our everyday.
what is ashwaganda?
This peppermint hot chocolate includes a spoonful of ashwagandha for so much more than just good measure. Ashwagandha is a traditional Ayurvedic herb that has been used for thousands of years to support vitality and healthy libido. In Sanskrit, ashwagandha literally translates to the smell and strength of a horse!
It’s a small evergreen shrub with beautiful velvety leaves and small white bell-shaped flowers, although the root is the part used in medicine.
Medicinally, ashwagandha is considered to be an adaptogen, a class of non-toxic medicinal plants that help to reduce and regulate stress so as to ultimately benefit our overall well-being by bringing balance.
And while the exact physiological mechanism of adaptogens is not totally understood, I think their long history of use in some of the oldest forms of medicine speaks volumes.
the medicine of ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a great herb to help with stress and anxiety, insomnia and general exhaustion, as well as immune support. Being that our immune systems become incredibly vulnerable when when our stress levels are high, ashwagandha can be a great addition to your everyday wellness routine.
The medicinal uses of ashwagandha include:
- mild sedative
- helps to regulate the immune system
>>> Stressed, anxious, & BFFs with burnout?! You might enjoy learning about other plants, like ashwagandha, that can help! >> Meet 11 Herbs to Help You Better Cope with Stress & Anxiety
PEPPERMINT HOT CHOCOLATE WITH ASHWAGANDHA
the healthy peppermint hot chocolate
This peppermint hot chocolate is a superb healthy sweet treat perfect for an afternoon pick-me. The peppermint is subtle and refreshing, while the cacao and ashwagandha provide the most excellent dose of nourishment to keep you going through the day in the most cool-calm-and-collected of ways.
Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 8-10 minutes
- 2 cups non-dairy milk (I prefer 1 cup full-fat coconut milk, plus 1 cup oat or almond milk for ultra creaminess.)
- 2 heaping tablespoons fresh peppermint leaves, loosely packed (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
- 1 teaspoon powdered ashwagandha
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or to taste)
- Add non-dairy milk to a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat just to a boil.
- Remove from heat and add peppermint (fresh or dried), cover, and let steep for 7-10 minutes.
- Remove peppermint leaves from the milk. You can use a fork if it’s easy to do so, otherwise, pour the milk through a fine mesh strainer into another small saucepan or a glass measuring cup.
- After peppermint leaves are removed, add in the remaining ingredients and whisk until thoroughly combined. It may take a some vigorous whisking to get rid of any lumps.
- Taste and add more sweetener if desired, then divide the mixture equally into 2 mugs. Sip, relax, and enjoy.
This peppermint hot chocolate is just another delicious way to include the food and medicine of the plants into your every day. It doesn’t have to be complicated and by including more herbs, spices, and medicinal plants into our lives, we’re only making ourselves more resilient and better capable in mind and body to handle whatever the world may bring.
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Go on… make yourself a mug of this nourishing treat. You deserve it!
DISCLAIMER: The information given in this article is intended for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns at all, it’s always a good idea to check with your health practitioner before consuming certain herbs & medicinal foods, especially if taking any prescription medications.