The peppermint plant, also known as mentha piperita, has been used for centuries throughout the world. While it originated in Europe and the Middle East, it is now grown all over and mostly processed into essential oil.
Peppermint oil is used in everything from gum and toothpaste, to herbal teas and culinary recipes, to soaps and shampoos. Over the years, we have learned many different benefits that come from using peppermint oil. Here are six reasons why you should be adding peppermint into your daily routine!
1. It will calm your mind – peppermint may be the cure for all your mental ailments. Research has shown that it improves cognitive function, concept formation, attention span, memory, and reasoning. Diffusing peppermint when you study, work, or are just having trouble focusing can help get your head back in the game. It has also been shown to decrease anxiety and has an overall calming effect, so keep some nearby when you are feeling extra stressed.
2. It will ease your pain – peppermint oil has also been shown to ease muscle and joint aches, provide relief from headaches, and soothe sunburn. By combining 2-3 drops of peppermint oil into two teaspoons of almond oil, you can create a massage oil that can be rubbed into muscles, over joints, and on your temples and jawline. The cooling effects of the menthol found in peppermint oil helps relieve the pain and itch of sunburn; try adding 2-3 drops to a cool bath!
3. It will help you breathe. Difficulty breathing is often caused by restriction or inflammation in our air passages. Peppermint oil can be used to open up your airways to improve breathing and alleviate wheezing and cough. Try adding 2-3 drops of peppermint oil to your diffuser or vaporizer for quick relief of respiratory symptoms, or use the same massage oil mentioned earlier to create a vapor rub for your chest.
4. It will prevent bad breath. Add peppermint oil to a small amount of water to make your own refreshing mouth rinse or apply a few drops directly to your tongue to help freshen breath quickly.
5. It will improve your digestion. Peppermint has been shown to alleviate many digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, acid reflux, cramping, and diarrhea. By blocking the flow of calcium into the smooth muscle in your digestive tract, peppermint oil helps your digestive muscles relax. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help with relief of bloating and other discomfort. Drink a cup of warm water, infused with 2-3 drops of peppermint oil for digestive relief, or add it to your favorite hot tea.
6. It will keep mosquitos away. Want to keep the bugs away but want to avoid all the chemicals found in your traditional bug spray? Add peppermint oil to your favorite oil-based lotion or spray and use on exposed skin to help ward off bug bites! You can also try lighting a peppermint candle outside to keep mosquitos from joining your party.
Peppermint oil can be a great, natural way to alleviate many common ailments, but if you have any chronic health problems it is always best to consult with your health provider prior to starting any new health regimen. Make sure to always use a carrier oil or lotion when using peppermint oil; it should never be applied directly to the skin as it can cause irritation when highly concentrated. Caution should be used during pregnancy and with children under 6 years old. Avoid use of peppermint oil around children less then 3 years old.