Peppermint is a hybrid of the spearmint and water mint plants, and comes from the Mentha pipertita and Labiatae categories. Its use dates back even through ancient Egyptian and Roman times. Peppermint essential oil benefits are numerous!
Peppermint oil has a unique cooling and invigorating sensation. When massaged into the skin (diluted with a carrier oil) it creates a "hot-cold-tingly" effect. It has been used for oral care before commercial toothpaste was even a thing, and as the go-to for mouth freshening and cleaning because of its antiseptic properties.
This study on the effects of peppermint oil on herpes, even suggests that the oil can even help inhibit the herpes virus. It states
Peppermint oil is also active against an acyclovir resistant strain of HSV-1 (HSV-1-ACV(res)), plaque formation was significantly reduced by 99%. Considering the lipophilic nature of the oil which enables it to penetrate the skin, peppermint oil might be suitable for topical therapeutic use as virucidal agent in recurrent herpes infection."
A homemade lip balm with peppermint extract would be amazing for those who get cold sores frequently.
Peppermint essential oil is known to be antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, insecticidal and antispasmodic. It is sometimes used to alleviate symptoms of depression due to its stimulating properties. Conversely, peppermint oil can also provide anxiety relief.
Peppermint Essential Oil Benefits
Antimicrobial & Insect Repellant
Not only is peppermint oil a pleasantly scented mouth freshener, Its antimicrobial properties can help keep germs at bay in your house.
It packs a powerful punch as an insect repellant and helps fend off ants, fleas and ticks. It's commonly used in natural bug spray recipes, along with clove and citronella oils, and can be used on humans as a safer alternative to chemical bug sprays.
You can make your own insect repellant by using putting vinegar in a glass spray bottle (The oils can adhere to plastic, and end up being wasted) and add peppermint along with the other oils mentioned above to repel a wide variety of pests from around your home.
If you have a headache coming on you may want to reach for peppermint oil. This study states
compared to the application of placebo, a 10% peppermint oil in ethanol solution significantly reduced the clinical headache intensity already after 15 minutes. This significant clinical reduction of the pain intensity continued over the one hour observation period. Acetaminophen, too, proved to be efficient compared to placebo (p < 0.01). There was no significant difference between the efficacy of 1,000 mg of acetaminophen and 10% peppermint oil in ethanol solution."
To try out peppermint for your next headache by diffusing the oil, or dabbing some, along with a carrier oil, behind your ears and massage on your temples to reduce the discomfort and ease nervous tension.
The menthol component of peppermint makes it great for helping at alleviating congestion. You can make a small steam bath by bringing a pot of water to boil and adding a few drops of peppermint and eucalyptus oil. Then put a towel over the receivers head covering both the user and steaming pot to open up your nasal passages. You could also just diffuse it, but the steam helps break up congestion as well.
Ease digestion and nausea
Peppermint, in general, is great for easing digestion and easing nausea. I love drinking a cup of hot peppermint tea after a big meal. You can use peppermint essential oil to help relieve digestive discomforts by mixing it with a few drops of carrier oil and massaging it into the abdomen. Diffusing or inhaling it can help tame nausea too.
If you opt to utilize peppermint oil's cooling effects on the scalp or other areas of the body, be sure to mix it with a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil. Peppermint oil is extremely potent and will give the sensation of freezing and numbing the skin if applied directly. This is due to the menthol compounds that are naturally present in this powerful essential oil which behaves as a natural anesthetic.
Peppermint Oil Cautions and Concerns:
People who are allergic to menthol should not use peppermint oil. Difficulty breathing may occur as a result of using too high a dose of peppermint oil in common applications. Pregnant women and those with heart conditions should avoid using peppermint oil, as it may result in slowed breathing and heart rate. Do not use peppermint oil on young children, as too high of a dose may result in toxicity. If you are sensitive to stimulants, avoid peppermint essential oil. Peppermint oil should not be used directly on the skin without first combining with a carrier oil.
For safety information on peppermint oil use in children, you can refer to this article.
Where to get your Essential Oils
There are so many great essential oil companies out there. The key to picking a good oil is making sure its an actual, high-quality oil, and not just fragrance. I have used several different brands and my personal favorite is Plant Therapy.
They are high quality, while still being very affordable. They also offer fast, FREE shipping from the website. (I hate paying for shipping. It's a personal pet-peeve of mine.) I prefer to get my oils directly from the company themselves.
You can purchase them on Amazon, but use caution with this. Their freshness isn’t guaranteed. And, contrary to popular belief, essential oils don’t stay good forever. Most of the oils only have a few year shelf life. With Amazon, it’s hard to tell how long the essential oils have been sitting on a shelf in their warehouse.
You can get my favorite brand of peppermint essential oil here.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. If you are experiencing unusual symptoms of any kind, please consult with your physician. This information is not FDA approved.
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