Peppermint is one of the most versatile, popular and beneficial essential oils to keep in your natural medicine cabinet. Here are some of my favorite reasons to start using this potent essential oil.
1. Antiviral Remedy
Peppermint essential oil is one of the best natural antiviral remedies, particularly when dealing with the herpes virus, which is at the root of cold sores. In a study published in the journal Phytomedicine, scientist discovered peppermint essential oil demonstrated high potency against the herpes virus, even against strains that do not respond to the drug acyclovir.
2. Breath Booster
Research found that the rosmarinic acid contained in peppermint blocks inflammatory compounds called leukotrienes and encourages the body to make prostacyclins, which open the airway and improve breathing. Diffuse or use a drop on your tongue to help open the airways. See the guidelines for using essential oils below regarding internal use.
3. Critter Repellent
While most humans love the smell of peppermint, it seems most critters can’t stand the stuff. That’s why it makes a great natural critter repellent. Put a few drops of peppermint oil on cotton balls around your home to ward off ants, mice and spiders.
4. Digestion Aid
Perhaps peppermint is most known for its ability to aid digestion, help alleviate nausea and ease digestive upset. It is also frequently used as a natural remedy for food poisoning, gas, vomiting, nausea and motion sickness.
5. Driving Assistance
If you experience anxiety, frustration or road rage while driving, you’ll want to keep a car diffuser with peppermint essential oil handy. That’s because research by Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, an associate professor of psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia, found that smelling the scent of peppermint while driving a car decreases levels of frustration, anxiety and fatigue.
6. Energy Booster
The intense aroma of peppermint can help boost your energy or increase alertness, making it a great essential oil to help keep you awake on long drives. Put a drop of peppermint essential oil on a diffuser bead necklace to energize you throughout the day.
7. Fever Buster
Peppermint essential oil is a well-known fever-reducing remedy among aromatherapists. For this purpose, use a roller ball on the forehead and back of the neck.
8. Headache Alleviator
I keep a roller bottle of peppermint essential oil handy and rub it on my temples and the back of my head where the neck and cranium meet to help alleviate headaches.
9. Liver Health
According to French medical aromatherapy, peppermint essential oil helps to strengthen and regenerate the liver. For this purpose, one or two drops are traditionally used on the tongue. Because it is used internally, it is important to select an essential suitable for internal use, for which many are not.
10. Mood Magic
Peppermint is classified as an uplifting oil since it tends to boost mood and energy levels. Diffuse several drops or keep it handy on a diffuser bracelet to perk up your mood throughout the day.
11. Pain Remedy
Peppermint essential oil contains analgesic compounds that reduce pain and inflammation. While it can be used “neat” which means undiluted on the skin to help reduce pain, you may need to dilute it if you have sensitive skin. Apply directly to painful muscles or joints.
12. Sinus Decongestant
Peppermint essential oil works as a natural decongestant to alleviate nasal and sinus congestion. Use a drop under your nose to help sinuses drain.
13. Thyroid Support
Peppermint is believed to support thyroid health. More studies need to be done.
Using Essential Oils
Be careful not to use too much peppermint essential oil or the fumes may cause your eyes to water. Avoid getting the oil in your eyes and be sure to wash your hands immediately after use to prevent rubbing the peppermint oil into your eyes.
There are many ways to use essential oils, including diffusing them or mixing them with water and spraying into the air for the purpose of inhalation, applying topically or ingesting. However, not all oils are suitable for ingestion so please use only those indicated above for oral use. Additionally, use only oils that clearly indicate their suitability for internal use.
Regardless of which method you choose, make sure you select high quality, pure, undiluted essential oils. While you may end up diluting the oils yourself, most of the oils on the market are diluted in less-than-desirable oils. High quality oils cost more than the cheap varieties on the market but are worth the increased price. Many cheap varieties can also contain synthetic versions of the oils, which offer no therapeutic value and may actually be harmful. But, worse than that, many cheap oils are adulterated with solvents used during the extraction process or toxic pesticides used in the growing process of the herbs from which the oils are extracted.
After diluting the oil in carrier oil, always conduct a 48-hour patch test on a small inconspicuous part of your skin to determine whether you have any sensitivity to the essential oils. Do not discontinue any prescribed medications without the guidance of your physician. Use essential oils with caution and the advice of a qualified natural health practitioner during pregnancy.
Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, preserving, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, & Cooking. Follow her work.
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