Is there anyone who is not familiar with the wonderful peppery, bright, fresh and penetrating smell of Peppermint? We can find it in anything from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals and for its many benefits, it is a staple of the healing and holistic art of aromatherapy.
The Peppermint Essential Oil is widely regarded for its wide range of uses. It has numerous applications and it can be sued to cure a wide variety of ailments. Antiseptic, digestive, expectorant, stimulant, anti-spasmodic are but a few of the endless properties attributed to Peppermint or Menta Piperita of the Labiatae or Lamiaceae botanical family, making it one of the most versatile and truly “essential” oils in anyone’s arsenal of wellness.
For anyone who finds mints too strong to handle, it will come as no surprise that Peppermint’s key property is highly energizing with the ability to refresh, relieve and ward off the many ailments of the mind and body.
Originally from Europe and the Middle East with mentions going all the way back to Egypt and ancient Greece, it now grows in several countries around the world. Its versatility and strong character make it one of the best oils to start experimenting with and feel the benefits of.
Peppermint is a hybrid mint, a cross between water mint and spearmint. The oil is extracted by steam distillation from the flowering tops and leaves and is of green or pale yellow color. It treats respiratory conditions, nausea, headaches, indigestion, fever and spasms associated with the stomach and the bowels.
A staple of the cosmetic industry and its uses in flavoring anything from chewing gum to shampoo, it can sometimes feel that peppermint is too good to be true.
In reality, Peppermint Oil increases the body’s immunity and provides it with essential omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and several minerals and nutrients like, calcium, folate, copper, manganese, and iron. Psychologically it can promote alertness and clarity. It is an oil with penetrating, fresh and grassy tones that are powerful allies against stress, anxiety and even depression.
Peppermint Oil is one of the most studied and scientifically sanctioned oils. It is also sold in tablet and capsule form and widely recommended by doctors both in conventional and alternative medicine practices.
Peppermint Oil blends well with Lemon, Lavender, Lime, Eucalyptus and Geranium.
Health Benefits and uses of Peppermint Oil
Used for its digestive properties since ancient times, peppermint has the powerful ability to calm the gastro-intestinal tract and can help sooth nausea, upset stomachs and travel or morning sickness. It is essential as a digestion aid and is often prescribed for pains associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). If it’s being used as a massage oil you should gently rub on the abdomen in a clockwise direction, combined with a warm peppermint infusion taken orally, it can bring much wanted relief from colicky pains.
A few drops of Peppermint Oil in a glass of drinking water before meals brings about the benefits in digestion by increasing the flow of bile and other digestive juices. It removes excess gas and builds appetite for poor feeders. When combined with Caraway oil, it is also a good remedy for treating light heartburn.
Known for its ability to calm the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, peppermint is used effectively to reduce the discomfort of a gastroscopy or a colonoscopy.
And who knew that inhaling this refreshing scent could stimulate the parts of the brain that tell us we are full, thus curbing hunger pangs, limiting excessive snacking and being a powerful ally in achieving weight loss.
It is however important to be aware that people suffering from gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) should avoid using peppermint oil as its relaxant effect may increase the symptoms associated with the disease.
A few drops of peppermint oil on a tissue or sniffed straight from the bottle can also instantly soothe symptoms of nausea whether on a long journey or even in the early weeks of pregnancy.
This miraculous oil also helps boost immunity. With its many mineral components and vitamins and particularly Vitamin C, it is a very useful tool in maintaining a healthy body by cleansing it from free radicals and protecting it from diseases, infections and disorders.
Combined with lavender in a bath, inhalation or massage oil it can boost circulation and prevent colds and flu, clear out the respiratory tracts and prevent infections from developing and settling in the body.
HEADACHES AND MIGRAINE
Do you feel like there is a headache or even worse a terrible Migraine coming on? The cooling, tension reducing effect of peppermint Oil can have a say in that.
A few drops across the forehead or a gentle massage on the temples bring fast relief from tension headaches. Sometimes, massaging the bottoms of the feet with a base oil blended with peppermint can equally divert the tension from the head and help ease the pain.
Obviously, if the headaches are very severe or particularly persistent or caused by sudden injury, they may be due to more severe underlying causes and a consultation by a qualified medical professional would be warranted.
Peppermint’s cooling nature is equally powerful against fevers. Although fevers are the body’s natural immune response, the temperature should not be allowed to rise excessively, for fear of seizures. A few drops of peppermint on the forehead, temples and the bottoms of the feet, all areas of high absorption, help sooth high fevers and bring the temperature back within the safe range.
Steam inhalations have long been used to treat coughs, colds, chest infections, sinusitis and any other number of respiratory problems.
Peppermint used in a steam inhalation up to five times a day can greatly aid to clear the sinuses and relieve congestion while its powerful antiseptic properties can help prevent infections.
Peppermint can also help sooth a sore throat or a coughing bout by clearing the airwaves and thinning out mucus.
Making your own menthol chest rub is also a great way to use peppermint oil. Apply as and when needed to the chest and the bottoms of the feet to relieve and treat respiratory conditions and nasal congestion.
Since urinary tract infections (UTI) are some of the most common bacterial infections suffered by women, Peppermint’s antiseptic qualities make it uniquely effective in treating them. It has a wealth of antibacterial components that enable reducing the frequency and the severity of these infections.
Overall, peppermint’s strong disinfecting and antibacterial properties can be used equally for the body or around the house to prevent and cure infections.
Thanks to its powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, peppermint is a great antidote to pains related to sore muscles or arthritis.
Use either in a massage oil and apply topically or add to a glorious bath soak for cooling relief and relaxation.
With its capacity to also stimulate circulation, a peppermint based massage oil can greatly help alleviate heavy legs and swollen ankles both of which are caused by a slow circulatory or lymphatic system.
Since nearly 85% of women suffer from some form of Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), in the shape of cramps, mood fluctuations, acne or headaches, peppermint oil is one of the three or four (together with lavender, lemon and tea tree) most essential oils to master.
INSECT REPELLENT PROPERTIES
Wouldn’t you also like to have a natural bug repellent at your disposal that is free of chemicals and artificial components and does the job unfailingly?
Peppermint oil either mixed with a base oil or diluted with water in a spray, is a very effective insect repellent for humans and pets alike as it can ward off mosquitos, ticks and fleas.
If in a spray and diluted with filtered water always shake well before using as the ingredients tend to separate when static for a while. This can be sprayed on carpets as well as on skin and animal fur.
As a shampoo or a hair lotion made by mixing with a base oil it can also be left on the hair for at least half an hour as an effective remedy against lice. Simply combing through after the recommended waiting time should be enough to clear the hair from these annoying and persisting parasites.
Peppermint Oil can also enhance the wellbeing and cleanliness of an entire household in a blend with lime or tea tree oil in a do-it-yourself “green” general purpose disinfectant.
Beauty Benefits and Uses Of Peppermint Oil
HAIR AND SKIN CARE
With its ability to freshen dull skin and control oil production, peppermint is highly suited to the hair and the skin.
A few drops of the oil can be beneficial to any type of scalp or hair and can help eradicate dandruff, moisturize the scalp and stimulate hair growth, even for those who are experiencing hair loss.
In a facial steam, peppermint can deeply cleanse, freshen and decongest the skin particularly for acne sufferers. Mixed with a base vegetable oil and some salt it can also make for an excellent facial scrub. And why not make your own toner by adding vinegar, water and a few drops of peppermint for a refreshing and uplifting sensation.
Peppermint oil, blended with lavender and tea tree oil can also be a perfect after sun lotion equivalent as the menthol has a cooling effect on the hot skin and the combination of oils can improve the skin’s appearance and remove any dullness and tiredness from it.
Because of its antifungal and healing properties, peppermint oil can help to stop nails from breaking. One way to use it is to make a nail soak with castor oil before getting any other additional nail treatments. Thanks to peppermint’s menthol component, it is a perfect home remedy for toenail fungus when blended with a base oil and applied topically.
Because peppermint contains antiseptic properties, it is very useful where dental care is required. Elimination of bad breath which is frequently due to bacteria comes as an added benefit as is being able to fight off germs that attack the teeth and gums. It therefore does not come as a surprise that many toothpastes and mouthwashes contain this component.
Peppermint Oil can also be used to treat toothaches by applying it directly on the aching tooth with a cotton swab to simultaneously disinfect the area and relieve the pain.
And is there an easier way to make a mouthwash than by mixing a drop of peppermint oil with baking soda and water, for instant refreshment?
It is of note that peppermint is such a powerful pain reliever and relaxant that it is added to postoperative oxygen especially after oral surgeries.
Well-being Benefits and uses of Peppermnt Oil
Peppermint’s uplifting and bright scent has a lot of psychological benefits too and literally acts like a tonic for the nervous system.
Whether tired mentally or physically, under stress or requiring focus and concentration, a few drops of peppermint sniffed from a tissue or diffused in the air can have an intense balancing effect and even alleviate the symptoms of shock or help bring a person who has fainted back to consciousness.
Since ancient times, aromatic plants have also been used for spiritual purposes and in our modern society can help set a mood for those wanting to practice meditation or another form of introspection.
Peppermint Oil, with its stimulating and energizing properties can greatly assist in reducing confusion, frustration and help clear and guide the mind.
Use a burner or a room spray to diffuse the oil and blend with a calming oil like lavender for best effect. Some also use it to power up their morning smoothies or freshen up a glass of water.
This is a particularly great alternative for those who are intent on cutting down on caffeine but still appreciate a nice awakening jolt in the mornings or during a sluggish afternoon.
You can even make a nice minty afternoon treat by mixing some raw cocoa, honey, coconut oil and peppermint oil for some intensely minty chocolate bites.
Best blending Oil combinations
Essential oils work well individually and their benefits and distinctive scents can be experienced as such. But by blending oils, we are doing more than mixing flavors. There are combinations that can create powerful synergies whereby we are not simply experiencing each individual benefit but the oils enhance and influence each other thereby producing exponential benefits.
Blending is a creative process and an individual one and it is important to follow intuition and personal preference when practicing it. When first attempting it is best to stick to a maximum of three or four essential oils and always take into account personal preferences, intended usage or symptoms that need to be treated and emotional and psychological factors.
For those who need a little bit more guidance to start with, below are a few tried and tested combinations that work particularly well and have proven their efficacy, using peppermint as a prime component:
Peppermint Oil Blends
- Peppermint and Eucalyptus Oil make an ideal combination to clear the sinuses.
- Peppermint, Frankincense and Lemon Oils are well recommended for an awakening boost and to help with headaches.
- Peppermint, Cypress and Lavender Oils synergize well together to provide relief from any type of cramp whether caused by indigestion, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS).
- Peppermint and Lavender Oils can be combined to help prevent colds and flu and work effectively in cold compresses to aid with headaches. This can also be a great combination when diffused on a burner to gain more clarity and calmness in a meditation session.
- Peppermint and Tea Tree oil blends are used to maintain a healthy scalp and dandruff free hair. This combination is also excellent to use as a disinfectant around the house.
- Peppermint, Lemon and Lavender provide relief from allergic symptoms.
- Peppermint and Ginger or Peppermint and Cardamom Oils combined can be used as a massage Oil. It can be rubbed into the stomach area to alleviate feelings of queasiness and nausea.
- Peppermint, Lemon and Rosemary Oils are particularly appropriate to aid in concentration.
- Peppermint, Black Pepper and Ginger Oils can effectively relieve muscle sores.
- Peppermint and Sweet Orange Oils blended together make for a very uplifting and lively combination, ideal for a morning or mid-afternoon pick me up.
Like all essential oils peppermint Oil must be used in moderation and tested in small doses and on small areas of the skin to ensure there are no allergic reactions, even more so when used on sensitive skin.
It is not an oil that is suitable for infants or children under six years of age and should neither be applied topically nor ingested by pregnant or lactating women unless thus prescribed by a medical practitioner.
When used internally, only the highest food grade quality oil should be used and even then in very small quantities. Excessive or wrongful use can have toxic effects for the body.
Because of its capacity to stimulate circulation, peppermint oil is also not recommended for prolonged usage by those who suffer from hypertension.
If taking iron supplements avoid doing so simultaneously with using peppermint oil as it can hinder iron absorption. It is advised to allow at least a three hour period lapse between respective usages. Peppermint must be avoided alongside homeopathic treatments.