Whether you wish to reach out to your toothpaste or your mouth freshener, the peppermint flavor is inevitably the first choice. The freshness and the invigorating and fresh mint aroma of it are something that is extremely soothing and pleasing. Often this comes from the peppermint oil. Native to Europe, peppermint is an herb that is a cross between watermint and spearmint. The peppermint essential oil is extracted from it for use and is most commonly used for flavoring in foods and beverages and to add fragrance and freshness feel to soaps and cosmetics.
However, not many know that apart from its beauty benefits, it has many health benefits as well and thus many people consume it today as capsules and tablets. Many doctors of alternate medicine prescribe it. Let’s understand the various benefits and reasons for taking to this essential oil in your daily life.
Peppermint Essential Oil Properties
With a pale yellow color, peppermint oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, calcium, minerals especially manganese, potassium, magnesium, calcium, folate and copper and finally vitamins A and C. Its menthol component imparts the oil its anesthetic properties to soothe any discomfort. Due to various other components, the oil has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic as well as carminative properties.
Benefits of Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil yields enormous benefits to our health, skin, and hair. However, this oil is much more concentrated and intense compared to other essential oils. Thus, it needs to be used in an extremely diluted form. It is widely used in aromatherapy. If you are wondering what peppermint essential oil does; read through some of its leading benefits.
- Relief from pains and aches
Due to its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, the essential oil peppermint finds varied uses. Add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to hot water and inhale its vapors through the mouth to find relief from toothaches. You can add few drops of peppermint essential oil in water and apply this solution to your head. Your migraine, headache, and stress would be a thing of past in record time. This comes out because of the calcium antagonism in the oil whose cooling and soothing nature relieves the pain. The analgesic properties also bring you relief in muscle pain after workouts, nerve pain and cramps and even joints. Few drops of the oil can be added to any carrier oil like olive oil, coconut oil etc. and massaged into the area for relief. It can be used effectively as spot treatment.
- Respiratory problems
Due to its menthol component, the peppermint essential oil is terrific for respiratory diseases. A highly effective expectorant, it can clear the respiratory tract and give you instant relief from several problems like nasal congestion, bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, scratchy throat, cough, and cold. It is thus a common ingredient in many inhalers, balms etc. Its vapors can be inhaled and with water and can be massaged over the chest, neck after mixed with some carrier oil.
- Aids digestion
Due to its carminative and anti-inflammatory properties, peppermint essential oil is terrific for your digestive health. Research has shown it to be effective in reducing symptoms of any stomach upset and irritable bowel symptoms. You can just add a drop of it to your fruit juice or make a water infusion by just adding a drop to a glass of water and enjoy the flavorful sip.
- Relief from stress and mental anxieties
Because of its refreshing and stimulating nature, it is one of the most relaxing essential oil available to us today and is one of the top oils used in aromatherapy. Mixed with other essential oil like Wild Orange and Frankincense, its fragrance promotes a feeling of calmness and happiness in the mind which drains away stress and anxiety.
- Higher energy and alertness
If you need caffeine to get your energy boosted, try switching to taking peppermint essential oil infused the water. The oil is a terrific psycho stimulant which leaves you energized and invigorated. Some of the oil can be easily spritzed on the child’s shirt or rubbed under the nose and you would just be surprised to see an increase in her concentration and focus. The oil is known to stimulate the mental activity and enhance your cognitive tasks.
Owing to its antiviral and antibacterial properties, the oil has shown to be effective in diseases like cancer and tuberculosis. It is a terrific treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea as well as for hot flashes in women undergoing breast cancer treatment. The oil has also established itself as being effective in treating urinary tract infections (UTI).
- Helps ease herpes infections
Because of its high antiviral properties, the oil is highly effective on drug resistant herpes simplex virus. When applied topically mixed with a carrier oil, its lipophilic nature helps it pass easily through the skin and help block recurrent herpes infection.
- Insect repellent
The oil is an amazing insect and fleas repellent. To about 12 oz of witch hazel oil, add 15 drops each of citronella and lemon grass essential oil and 10 drops each of peppermint and tea tree oil. Simply spray some of this in your room and watch all pests fly away. Additionally, it will smell heavenly. Few drops of peppermint oil can also be rubbed on the clothes and no mosquitoes or flies will hover near you.
- Skin and face benefits
The menthol component of peppermint oil provides a wonderful cooling effect on the skin while hydrating and nourishing it as well. Add a few drops of it to body wash, toner, face scrub or face mask and feel the difference it makes to your skin! Giving you a clear blemish free soft and supple skin, you cannot help but be impressed by this little minty genius!
- Benefits for hair and scalp
The peppermint essential oil has astringent as well as pH balancing properties. It can easily hydrate a dry scalp, treat dandruff and even promote hair growth. Just add a few drops of it to your hair massage oil and hair mask and you will feel the visible difference.
Side Effects of Peppermint Oil
Unlike other essential oils, the oil needs to be used in extremely low concentration. While its small doses are considered beneficial for most people, it can also show some allergic reactions and side effects in some people. Some of its side effects that one may experience are:-
- Negatively impact digestive system
Even though the oil calms down any disturbed digestive system, the oil with its relaxing nature can also trigger indigestion and heartburn. It can relax the sphincter muscles to such an extent that the gastric juices can flow backward. Thus, people with gastroesophageal reflux disease and hiatal hernia should be extra cautious in consuming the oil.
- Skin rashes
Some people may show skin itchiness and rashes due to the large content of methanol in the oil. Thus one is advised to use an extremely diluted version of oil with some carrier oil or even water.
- An intense headache and dizziness
While peppermint oil in small doses is beneficial, it can go in the reverse direction if used in higher concentrations. One can experience slight dizziness to an intense headache. Reducing the concentration can help ease the side effect.
- Risk of seizures
Using large doses of this essential oil can lead to muscle weakness, brain damages, and even seizures. After using the oil, if one experiences nausea, difficulty in breathing, dizziness, convulsions etc. one should immediately seek medical assistance.
- Blisters in mouth and nostril
This is most common in people who are allergic to menthol. The peppermint oil used for inhalation can cause this side effect. To avoid it, all medications having menthol should be avoided.
- Interactions with prescription drugs
Peppermint essential oil can interact with few prescription drugs and cause possible unwanted complications. Drugs like cyclosporine and antacids often have an outward coating of peppermint oil. Taking extra oil can lead to heart burns and GERD. Thus, it is always advisable to seek a doctor’s approval before using the oil.
- Unsafe for pregnant and lactating women
The effect of peppermint essential oil on pregnant and lactating women still needs to be established. Thus, they are advised against using the oil. Some state that during the early stages of pregnancy, it can lead to uterine relaxation and even miscarriage. Infants and children, people with heart diseases and those suffering from gallstones are also advised against using the oil.
- Miscellaneous side effects
Apart from the above-mentioned symptoms, the oil can also cause breathing issues, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, urinary problems, convulsions, depressions, unconsciousness and even sleep interference. Thus, one should use it cautiously.
How to Make Peppermint Oil at Home
The oil can be prepared in several ways in your home itself. You can easily get fresh peppermint leaves from any supermarket or simply grow them in your backyard. However, you should take care that it is a completely organic produce. To prepare the oil, first, wash the peppermint leaves well. Now crush or chop them to release their natural oils. Place all the crushed leaves in a jar and pour any carrier oil like olive oil, almond oil or coconut oil till the leaves are completely immersed in it. Tightly seal the jar and leave it for 24 hours. Now strain the oil. Take some fresh peppermint leaves and again crush and dip them in the same oil and tight seal it again. The process needs to be repeated five times in total and the final strain is your home made peppermint essential oil.
Feel lazy about making the peppermint oil? No worries! It can easily be purchased online as well as in any reputed alternate medicine shop or shops selling beauty cosmetic ingredients. Always remember to buy oils that blend with it well like the Oregano, Geranium, Wild Orange, Lavender, Juniper Berry, Rosemary etc. for diffusion. One must be careful to always buy from an authentic supplier to get pure organic oil.
Final Thought on the Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil has multi uses. While you can use it in your skin and hair care regimen, you can also use it in various forms for our household needs as well as a natural pest controller, spider repellent, rodent repellent etc.; as a homemade carpet freshener; as a homemade glass and surface cleaner, wood cleaner, dusting spray, general purpose deodorizer, odor neutralizer, air fresheners etc. The net is full of highly effective and easy recipes to try out and take advantage of. Used the right way and in the right manner, the peppermint essential oil can be your most favorite essential oil!
Hope you are feeling inspired enough to use this wonder oil in just about every way! Do remember to let us know your results!