Who would have thought a peppermint stick from ol' St. Nick could actually be good for you? Well it probably isn't healthy, at least the off-the-shelf kind which come loaded with sugar and contain very little spice. Though if you made them from scratch using ample amounts of dried peppermint spice, it would be loaded with antioxidants. In fact, among the several hundred foods and beverages tested, it ranks among the top 10 for total antioxidant content.The reason peppermint spice is so much higher than the fresh herb is due to water content. Since the dried leaves have almost all of the water removed, the concentration of the antioxidants ends up being exponentially higher. So it's not that dried is healthier than fresh, but rather that a lot more nutrients can be packed in due to the spice's density.Since this testing was done in Norway, the sample used was procured from Norsk Oko-Urt AB, which is one of that country's largest suppliers. The USDA has not published test results for the dried version, but they have for the fresh peppermint herb (which is substantially lower due to the water still being intact).
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't: Carlsen MH, Halvorsen BL, Holte K, et al. Nutrition Journal NIH Jan 2010