Peppermint Oil

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Your Guide to Using Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is a versatile product recognized for its refreshingly cool and uplifting aroma. This essential oil can be applied topically to the skin, inhaled, or taken orally. It has beneficial properties for soothing a variety of common everyday health ailments and conditions.

What is Peppermint Oil?

How is peppermint oil made and where does it come from?

Peppermint oil is made from a perennial plant that is cultivated and harvested in several regions around the globe. Within the United States, both Oregon and Michigan are prime producers of the peppermint plant. The wild version of the peppermint plant is native to Europe and Australia.

The peppermint plant is a member of the Lamiaceae family and the most common variety goes by the scientific name of Mentha piperita. The essential oil of the peppermint plant, which has a refreshing menthol aroma, is extracted using steam distillation.

After parts of the peppermint plant are harvested, they are dried to remove moisture. The peppermint plant is then steamed and pressed to extract the oil. Peppermint oil is usually a light pale color with a fresh cool minty scent.

 

How is Peppermint Oil Used?

Peppermint oil is one of the most popular essential oils. It is used in many products that consumers use every day. This includes chewing gum and candy along with herbal teas. Beauty salons carry many top brands of shampoos and hair care products that are made with peppermint oil.

This essential oil is well known for being an effective remedy for stomach ailments. Peppermint oil is excellent for treating indigestion and alleviating symptoms associated with digestive problems. Another uses for peppermint oil is the relief of sore throats and congestion from common colds.  

credit: cocozi/pixabay.com
credit: cocozi/pixabay.com

Health food stores carry a variety of products that are made with peppermint oil such as toothpastes and mouthwashes. Scented lotions and creams can be infused with the refreshing aroma of peppermint oil for skin care. It is effective for treating common ailments such as eczema and psoriasis.

When mixed with carrier oils such as jojoba or coconut, peppermint oil can be applied directly to the skin for its soothing benefits. The essential oil can also be added to a diffuser so that the aroma can be inhaled. Peppermint oil is also widely used by aromatherapists for its therapeutic healing properties.

 

Beneficial Properties of Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil has very effective healing qualities that make it excellent for treating a variety of physical ailments within the body. This essential oil also works wonders when used as part of a daily grooming routine for skin and hair care.  

 

Treatment of Physical Health Ailments within the Body

Properties and benefits of peppermint oil when used to alleviate health ailments include:

  • Soothes indigestion

Peppermint oil is widely recognized for its effective use in soothing indigestion. This essential oil is also very good for relieving excess gas and general upset stomach ailments.

  • Boosts appetite

The benefits of peppermint oil for relieving stomach ailments helps to provide a natural boost to one’s appetite. As it is good for soothing an upset stomach, it helps restore the natural balance of the intestinal tract.

  • Relieves headaches 

The natural anesthetic properties of peppermint oil make it effective for relieving the pain associated with headaches. Suggested use is to apply the essential oil topically to the forehead to obtain the beneficial effects.

  • Reduces stress

The uplifting aroma of peppermint oil is excellent for eliminating stress and giving a boost to the senses. The essential oil is effective at clarifying the mind, increasing concentration, and enhancing focus.

  • Antispasmodic properties

The essential oil of peppermint can help alleviate spasms. Its properties can provide benefits when used during medical procedures that examine the intestinal tract and digestive system, such as colonoscopies.

  • Pain reliever

Peppermint oil is quite effective when used as a pain reliever. Topical application to the skin can provide soothing benefits for sore muscles and can alleviate headache pain.

  • Urinary tract infections

The antibacterial properties of peppermint oil can help to alleviate urinary tract infections. Suggested usage for treatment is to drink an herbal tea that is infused with the essential oil of peppermint.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Research studies have shown that peppermint oil can be quite effective for treating the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome when taken in capsule form. Its properties are recognized for soothing a variety of digestive ailments.

  • Respiratory ailments

Peppermint oil contains menthol, which is very effective for alleviating breathing difficulties such as congestion and asthma. This essential oil helps to clear the nasal passages and can provide relief for bronchitis and blocked sinuses.

  • Relieves coughing

Peppermint oil is an effective expectorant, helping to clear congestion and coughs associated with colds, asthma, and bronchitis. It can be applied to the chest area to clear the respiratory system.

  • Reduces fever

When mixed with carrier oils such as jojoba or coconut and applied to the neck or chest area, peppermint oil can be effective in reducing fevers. It is an all-natural alternative to using over-the-counter medicines.

  • Menstrual problems

The beneficial properties of peppermint oil can help to balance and regulate menstrual cycles so that the cycle becomes more regular. Its anti-androgen properties are effective for alleviating hormonal problems.

  • Soothes sore throats

The calm soothing coolness of peppermint oil is excellent for relieving sore throats. The benefits of this essential oil can be obtained from drinking herbal tea infused with peppermint oil or dissolving peppermint lozenges in the mouth.

Other Unique Benefits of Peppermint Oil

Additional benefits and properties of peppermint oil include:

  • Acne treatment

The antimicrobial properties of peppermint oil, which includes menthol, are excellent as an all-natural treatment for acne. Peppermint oil is also a better choice for those who want a gentle skin care product that will not irritate the skin.

  • Essential hair care

Peppermint oil is an essential ingredient that is used in many fine shampoos and conditioners. It is recognized for its beneficial properties in treating dandruff and adding volume and thickness to fine or damaged hair.

  • Essential skin care

The essential oil of peppermint is effective for enhancing and improving the texture of skin. The cooling sensation of menthol can help soothe and alleviate common skin ailments such as psoriasis and eczema.

  • Alleviates itching 

The irritation associated with itching can be relieved with the essential oil of peppermint. It is effective for relieving the discomfort associated with poison ivy, insect bites and other types of skin rashes.

  • Eliminates bad breath

Mouth odors can be effectively eliminated with peppermint oil. This essential oil has antiseptic properties that kill harmful bacteria within the mouth that cause bad breath. Gargles using peppermint oil are one way to freshen the breath.

  • Balances hormones

Peppermint oil can be effective for treating disorders that affect the ovaries, including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This essential oil can help alleviate symptoms and balance the hormones.

  • Menstrual problems

 The beneficial properties of peppermint oil can help to balance and regulate menstrual difficulties so that the cycle becomes more regular. Its anti-androgen properties are effective for alleviating hormonal problems.

  • Energy booster

The invigorating aroma of peppermint oil is very effective for boosting energy levels in the body. This essential oil, which helps strengthen concentration, is safer than consuming excessive amounts of caffeine, and has no side effects.

  • Strengthens immune system

The essential oil of peppermint has strong antiviral and antibacterial properties that are effective for boosting the body’s immune system. The qualities of peppermint oil have been shown to be effective at reducing harmful bacteria.

 

Other Surprising Uses for Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil’s properties are also widely used to provide benefits in a variety of unique ways. This essential oil is effective for relieving motion sickness. Travelers will appreciate this all-natural remedy for alleviating the symptoms that can include queasiness and nausea.

The refreshing aroma of peppermint oil can be effective when used as an all-natural insect repellant to keep annoying bugs at bay. The essential oil can be used to repel everything from mosquitoes to gnats, spiders, and more.

Research has shown peppermint oil to be effective for inhibiting the growth of cancer within the prostate. This essential oil also provides protective benefits from damage caused to cells during radiation treatment.

The discomfort and pain of sunburn can be relieved by using peppermint oil. This essential oil is good for adding moisture and reducing pain. Suggested use is to combine peppermint oil with jojoba or coconut oil and apply topically to the skin for relief.

Peppermint oil is an effective remedy for treating colic and alleviating teething pain in infants. This essential oil is an all-natural alternative to using over-the-counter medicines that can produce side effects.

 

Potential Side Effects of Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is a common ingredient in a wide variety of consumer products. This essential oil is used in herbal teas, mouthwashes, throat lozenges, chewing gum, and shampoos. Peppermint oil is also used in some skin care products such as lotions and facial cleansers because it contains refreshing menthol.

Peppermint oil is generally safe to use both topically on the skin and for consumption. Some people who have sensitive skin may experience minor irritation when applying peppermint oil. Those with allergies to certain products may also see side effects and possible reactions.

Although the ingredient of menthol is refreshingly cool, it can irritate the eyes so avoid that area of your face when applying peppermint oil to your skin. The best way to gauge if your body can handle the oil is by first applying a small amount to the skin. Try dabbing a little peppermint oil on your wrist or arm.

Women who are expecting a baby or who are currently nursing can generally use peppermint oil without worry. Since peppermint oil is used to treat colic and teething pain in infants, there are less concerns when using the product while pregnant or when nursing your baby.

It is important to check with your physician or pharmacist to ask about possible interactions when using peppermint oil if you take prescription medications. Only your health care provider is qualified to let you know if any medicines you are taking could cause reactions when using peppermint oil.

 

The Importance of Buying Quality Essential Oils

Not all essential oils are made to the same levels of high quality and purity. There are many factors that can affect the quality of peppermint oil. The manufacturing process and the purity of the ingredients used when making this essential oil are all important.

With so many products to choose from when shopping for essential oils, it can be frustrating when trying to narrow down your choices.  What should you look for when buying peppermint oil? Are some brands better than others?

The best way to learn about essential oils before you spend money is to do a little online research into several brands. Customer reviews are an excellent way to determine which essential oils are of top quality. Read the ratings posted by customers to see which products they like and recommend.

When you get ready to buy peppermint oil, your options include buying it locally from a health food store or purchasing it online. You do have more options when you go the route of online shopping. You can comparison shop and get the best prices and save some money when products are on sale.

After you get your peppermint oil, make sure that you store it properly to ensure a long shelf life. Never place essential oils in direct line with sunlight. Avoid storing the oils near sources of heat such as your radiator. With a little care and common sense, it will last for a long time, enabling you to enjoy its many benefits.

Peppermint oil blends well with peppermint oil blends particularly well with benzoin, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, marjoram, and rosemary.

 

Sources

  1. Ehrlich, Steven, NMD. (2011). Aromatherapy – What is Aromatherapy? What are Essential Oils?
  2. Ehrlich, Steven, NMD. (2014). Peppermint oil – Overview
  3. Halcon, Linda, PhD. (2013). Are Essential Oils Safe? University of Minnesota – Center for Spirituality & Healing.
  4. Halcon, Linda, PhD. (2013). How Do I Choose and Use Essential Oils? University of Minnesota – Center for Spirituality & Healing.
  5. Halcon, Linda, PhD. (2013). How Do I Determine the Quality of Essential Oils? University of Minnesota – Center for Spirituality & Healing.
  6. Keville, Kathi. (2007). Aromatherapy: Peppermint. HowStuffWorks.com. 
  7. National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA). (2016). Approved Standards for Professional Aromatherapy Education. 
  8. National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA). (2016). Exploring Aromatherapy – Safety Information. 
  9. U.S. National Library of Medicine – PubMed Health. (2016). About Essential Oils.
  10. U.S. National Library of Medicine – PubMed Health. (2016). About Essential Oils and Aromatherapy.
  11. U.S. National Library of Medicine – PubMed Health. (2016). Peppermint Oil in the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  12. http://essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/peppermint.htm
  13. http://peppermint.indepthinfo.com/history-of-peppermint

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