The Peppermint Pig

Dr. Joel Ying, MD

Physician, Educator, Storyteller. He hosts this website for "Living the Present Moment" as a conscious journey of Body, Mind, Emotion & Spirit. Holistic and integrative, his practice includes Tai Chi and Yoga, Craniosacral Therapy, Healing From the Core, Meditation. Always exploring his edges, he shares them in the blog, newsletter, courses, and online study group.

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After the Christmas meal, the pink candy pig is passed around the dinner table with a bag and a nickel-plated hammer. Each person smashes off a piece of the pig, takes it out of the bag, and shares a story of good fortune from the past year in hopes of prosperity and good luck for the New Year. During Victorian times, the pig was considered a symbol of health, happiness, and prosperity. In Saratoga Springs, New York, the tradition began in the 1880’s when it was a thriving resort town with two of the world’s largest casinos. This new and unusual tradition was started with peppermint from an apothecary with sugar candy. In 1998, the Saratoga Sweets Candy Company revived the tradition using an original mold that someone had saved. You can order your own Peppermint Pig online.

Start your own holiday tradition of sharing stories (even if you don’t use the peppermint pig).

Peppermint is a popular flavor during the Christmas holiday season with candy canes, specialty drinks, and desserts (not just candy pigs). Peppermint comes from the plant hybrid of water mint and spearmint. From the confectionery delights to the soothing teas, this plant has been used for centuries in the kitchen and the apothecary.

Use the tea to calm the stomach. Use the essential oil on the temples or roof of the mouth to ease a headache. Place the essential oil in capsules for irritable bowel syndrome. Massage the oil into the skin for muscle pain and spasms. Add the oil to a vaporizer as a decongestant. Freshen your breath with mints. Clean your teeth with mint toothpaste. Massage it on the belly to relieve discomfort. Or just tantalize the palate with this holiday flavor and garnish your favorite desserts or drinks.

In this modern age, we sometimes forget how plants and essential oils like peppermint have become an integral part of our food and medicine (not just our candies). Discover more uses of peppermint and research the amazing properties of other essential oils.