What is Peppermint?
What is more cooling and refreshing than peppermint? This minty essential oil has a wide range of uses, from soothing upset stomach to facilitating pain relief.
The main components of peppermint essential oil are: menthone, menthol, menthofuran, and menthyl esters. These components are commonly found in commercial products such as tea, chewing gum, toothpaste, ice cream, and shampoo.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita aka M balsamea) has been used a myriad of ways for centuries. Native to Europe and the Middle East, peppermint is a hybrid of both spearmint and watermint, commonly used to for medicinal purposes.
This herb has been revered for so long, that it is one of the known oldest medicines in the world. The fact that many of peppermint essential oil’s health benefits are scientifically proven makes it a popular treatment for many conditions. Peppermint oil is not only sold in its essential oil form, but also sold in pill form.
Rich in nutrients and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, folate, copper, and manganese, peppermint oil not only adds delightful flavor, but has nutritional value. If you are using peppermint oil in your dish or taking it for your health, you will also find that this effervescent oil contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Peppermint Essential Oil Benefits
Considered one of the oldest forms of medicine in the world, peppermint oil contains several health benefits. Whether its apart of your oral care routine or a means to soothe an upset stomach, chances are, you have experienced at least one of the many benefits of peppermint oil.
1) Dental Care
It should be no surprise that peppermint oil is commonly used in dental care. Its refreshing minty flavor paired with its antiseptic properties make it effective in combating bad breath while keeping your teeth and gums free of germs and bacteria.
For these two purposes, peppermint oil is often found in commercial toothpastes and mouthwashes. Many people have found relief for their toothaches using peppermint oil.
In terms of dental care, peppermint oil is not just an effective topical pain reliever; its anti-inflammatory vapors can add analgesic properties to post oral surgery oxygen.
The soothing effects of peppermint oil can help with the digestion process and relieve a stomach in distress. If you suffer from indigestion, a few drops of peppermint oil can help stimulate the digestion process after a meal.
Peppermint oil is also great for treating gas, nausea, motion sickness, and low appetite. Peppermint oil is such an effective treatment for stomach ailments that it is often found in commercial tummy treatments.
This is because peppermint oil helps soothe and relax the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, relieving nausea and facilitating proper digestion. Many studies have shown that peppermint oil is great or treating the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
If heartburn is what ails you, consider pairing it with caraway oil for instant relief.
3) Pain Reliever
The anti-inflammatory properties of peppermint oil make it an effective pain reliever, especially for headaches.
When applied topically, the cooling relief of peppermint will help eliminate pain associated with headaches and migraines. Consider using this natural anti-inflammatory the next time you start to experience headache symptoms.
4) Respiratory Relief
Menthol, a large component of peppermint oil, is often found in medicine to treat respiratory issues. Menthol is an effective expectorant, helping to clear nasal congestion while soothing cold, cough, asthma, bronchitis, and sinusitis.
VapoRub, a popular remedy for chest congestion, contains a large amount of menthol, which helps to break up congestion while helping to soothe you into sleep.
The anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of peppermint oil also make this healing oil an ideal treatment for illnesses and infections plaguing the respiratory tract.
5) Immune Support
Peppermint oil contains many powerful properties that can help bolster and fortify a person’s immune system, such as antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agents.
These properties are especially beneficial to those with a weak immune system or are just getting over an illness. Peppermint oil also contains carvacrol, menthol, and camphor, which helps protect you from such nasty viruses as E. coli, salmonella, and even staph infections.
6) Improves Circulation
Good blood circulation is essential to good health. Fortunately, using peppermint essential oil helps to stimulate and improve blood circulation. When your body has good blood circulation, all your organs receive enough oxygen to keep them healthy and functioning at full capacity.
Good blood circulation also helps improve cognitive functioning, keeping a healthy blood flow and the brain oxygenated. This not only improves your brain’s ability to think and concentrate, but it also protects you from such degenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Improved blood circulation is also beneficial to those suffering from diabetes as poor blood sugar levels can have a negative effect on circulation.
7) Treat Urinary Tract Infections
Peppermint oil is commonly used in the treatment of urinary tract infections. Despite its common use, researchers are still trying to understand why exactly this treatment is so effective. Many believe it is due to its powerful antibacterial properties.
8) Stress Relief
The cooling nature of peppermint oil will help alleviate stress, depression, anxiety, and mental exhaustion. On top of its relaxing abilities, it also helps to stimulate mental activity and boost concentration.
9) Hair Care
Peppermint oil can benefit the health of your hair and scalp in many ways. Many people add this antibacterial and antifungal essential oil to their home remedies to treat lice and dandruff.
The cooling effect of this oil is also great for treating an itchy scalp for dryness while stimulating hair growth for those experiencing premature loss of their hair. While waking up the senses and rejuvenating hair follicles, peppermint oil helps to increase blood circulation to the scalp. In fact, peppermint oil is a popular ingredient in many commercial hair care products.
10) Healthy Nails
Nail fungus is an unfortunate but common problem affecting thousands of people each year. Research has found that the powerful antifungal properties of this oil effectively eliminates nail fungus and prevents it from coming back.
11) Skin Care
The menthol properties of peppermint essential oil make it a popular ingredient in skincare products. Those suffering from oily skin may especially find this tingling oil as a great way to de-slick their skin while the antibacterial properties help to fight acne. Many people find that peppermint oil helps to brighten dull skin while improving the overall texture and tone.
The Many Uses of Peppermint Essential Oil
Given the wide variety of health benefits that peppermint essential oil provides, you probably want to know how you can incorporate this powerful oil into your health and beauty routine. Provided here are some quick and easy ways you can experience the benefits of peppermint essential oil.
Soothing Achy Muscles
The cooling anti-inflammatory properties of this soothing oil will help easy achy muscles and cramps. The antispasmodic properties of peppermint essential oil will help relieve tension and cramps after an intense workout.
If you are experiencing achy muscles or cramps, there are three ways you can implement peppermint essential oil into your pain management plan:
- Peppermint Oil Massage: Combine a couple drops of peppermint oil with a tablespoon of sweet almond oil. Massage directly onto the affected area. Massaging with peppermint oil will help warm the skin and muscles.
- The massage will also help to break up the lactic acid responsible for the muscle aches. Meanwhile, the peppermint oil will help stimulate blood circulation as the soothing vapors from the oil helps to calm and relax your mind.
- Peppermint Oil Bath: Relaxing in a nice warm bath after a strenuous workout will help ease achy, overworked muscles. Simply add a couple drops of peppermint essential oil to your bath and relax. For extra relief, consider adding lavender and geranium essential oils to your bath as well. This will help warm the muscles, stimulate blood circulation, and calm the mind.
- Peppermint Compress: If you’re dealing with a sprain or painful swelling and inflammation, a cold compress can help deliver instant pain relief. Add a couple drops of peppermint essential oil to a glass of ice water and wait for the ice to melt.
- Once the ice has dissolved, dip a clean cloth into the water, wring out the excess moisture, and apply the compress directly onto the affected area. The cooling effects of both the ice and the peppermint essential oil will reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain.
If you are experiencing headaches due to clogged sinuses, inhaling the healing vapors of peppermint essential oil will help clear your sinuses while soothing a sore throat.
Simply add a couple drops of peppermint essential oil to a diffuser and breathe in the healing vapors. This is also a great remedy for those suffering bronchitis, asthma, cough, and colds.
Pain Relief for Achy Joints
If you’re suffering from an inflammatory condition such as arthritis, you may find some natural pain relief with peppermint essential oil.
For a Pain Relief Blend- Mix the Following:
- 2 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 2 drops of lavender essential oil
- A tablespoon of jojoba essential oil.
Massage this mixture directly onto the effected area. This will help reduce painful inflammation while soothing the surrounding muscles.
If you want to add a boost to your regular shampoo, consider adding peppermint essential oil to it. By adding a couple drops to your shampoo everyday, you will help keep your scalp moisturized while the anti-fungal and antibacterial properties help protect you from dandruff and lice.
Peppermint essential oil not only keeps your scalp and hair healthy, but it also adds pleasant scent that will help jump-start your mind and senses.
Relief for Allergies
Fear often strikes the hearts and respiratory symptoms of those who suffer from seasonal allergies. If you want to help prevent and treat symptoms during allergy season, simply diffuse peppermint essential oil along with eucalyptus essential oil in your home.
By inhaling these healing vapors, you can help keep your respiratory system free of excess mucus while preventing other allergy symptoms from developing.
The minty and antibacterial properties of peppermint essential oil make it an effective addition to your dental care routine. Helps to protect your mouth from harmful bacteria while fighting bad breath.
To make your own natural mouthwash, mix:
- 2 drops of peppermint essential oil
- ½ cup of distilled water
- 2 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda in a seal-able jar.
Before each use, be sure to swish the jar around to evenly distribute the ingredients, particularly the baking soda, which will settle to the bottom of the jar. After brushing your teeth, swish a couple teaspoons of this mouthwash, taking care not to swallow.
Peppermint Essential Oil Side Effects and Considerations
Peppermint essential oil is extremely powerful and therefore should always be diluted when used on the skin. You can dilute peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil of your choice such as jojoba oil or coconut oil.
Those with sensitive skin should probably just skip this essential oil altogether. Peppermint essential oil should never be ingested. This essential oil is not recommended for the use of pregnant women, babies, children, and the elderly.