Peppermint? Some studies suggest peppermint can calm your nerves, increase your concentration and might aid in diminishing test anxiety.

In the 1990s, Joel Warm and William Dember, at University of Cincinnati found that a whiff of peppermint or muguet, a scent similar to lily of the valley, helped test subjects concentrate and do better on tasks that required sustained concentration, according to an article in The Washington Post.

"Not only do you get an improvement (in focus) with peppermint, you get a change in response that affects alertness in target detection," Warm said in the article.

In 2006, Bryan Raudenbush, at Wheeling Jesuit University found both cinnamon and peppermint odors led to increased ratings of alertness and lowered frustration, according to an article at WJU's Web site.

"There are a multitude of anecdotal references to a wide variety of uses and effects for peppermint in folklore and aromatherapy literature. We wanted to see how many of these claims have been substantiated solid scientific research," said Theresa Molnar, executive of the Sense of Smell Institute, in a 2004 press release.

The SOSI commissioned Bryan Raudenbush in 2004 to conduct a review on existing scientific literature on the effects of peppermint, according to the press release.

According to the press release, at the conclusion of his research Raudenbush said, "The administration of peppermint odor has played a dramatic role in promoting a greater quality of life for many individuals. With peppermint's ability to enhance both cognitive and athletic performance, most likely a variety of new products will soon be marketed."

His conclusions:

Several studies showed that the presence of a peppermint aroma improves cognitive functioning. subjects made fewer errors and were more attentive.

Recent studies showed that peppermint produced a significant analgesic effect on sensitivity to headache and also had a positive influence on pain threshold and increased overall tolerance of pain.

The ingestion of peppermint has a positive effect on digestion and the digestive process.