Essential oils are concentrated extracts from certain herbs. They range from citronella to sandalwood and many others in between. One extract that has been around most of us since we were young is peppermint. From candy, to gum and toothpaste, peppermint has been in constant in many lives. Peppermint essential oil has many more uses besides just flavoring however.
Peppermint first started being used by the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, and became more centralized for use around the 1700s. There are many mentions in various ancient texts about peppermint, including a story in Greek mythology. The plant itself is fairly easy to grow and spreads out over a large area if not contained in a planting container. In the wild, mint is usually found by streams because of the consistent water and decent drainage for it. Mint itself is a hardy plant to grow and most without the blessing of a “green thumb” can grow their own mint with success.
Peppermint oil's benefits are fairly vast compared to the simple applications that most are used to. Peppermint oil is widely used for aromatherapy, which helps with pain, nervousness, upset stomachs, and in some studies, memory as well. It additionally helps make a person more alert. I personally have a bottle at my office for those days where I’m starting to slow down too early in the work day. Just like eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil helps with breathing issues like congestion that are brought on from colds this time of year. Peppermint oil taken as a supplement has shown in research to help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and a multitude of other stomach issues. Adding peppermint oil to your daily tooth brushing routine has shown to combat cavities more effectively as well as making your breath fresher! And who doesn’t love minty fresh breath!
Externally, peppermint oil can be added to lotions to help with pain. Adding peppermint oil to a shampoo can help with dandruff and dry skin issues that many experience during winter. Peppermint oil can be added to lotions to also help with natural skin oil generation, as shown in some studies. Peppermint oil helps with helping chapped or dry lips and is a common ingredient in many different brands of lip balm.
Even with these numerous applications, there are still more ways to use peppermint oil to better your life and I encourage everyone to do their research. Making peppermint oil at home is fairly simple as long as you have access to fresh peppermint leaves. (Depending on the time of year, this may be hard). Personally, I have a huge patch of peppermint that grows in the yard, it was planted one year and comes back every spring. As with anything, moderation is needed as taking too much peppermint oil can end up being harmful. I hope you add a little “pep” to your step. ‘Til next type – M
-Written by Michael Dour