Peppermint Essential Oil
The peppermint plant has been used for thousands of years as an excellent digestive aid, but its essential oil has other uses as well. It contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties and improves circulation and the respiratory system as well. One of its active ingredients is menthol which is used in many commercial products such as various cold remedies, toothpaste, and confectionery. The essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves of the plant and is a very pale yellow in color. It has a strong minty aroma.
As a digestive aid, peppermint has a beneficial action on the stomach, intestines, and liver due to its antispasmodic properties. It is valuable in treating colic, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, & stomach and menstrual pain. Add 10-15 drops to one ounce of a carrier oil and massage into abdomen in a clockwise direction. You can also add a couple drops to a tissue or inhale directly from the bottle for nausea and motion sickness relief.
Studies have shown that peppermint can help prevent and treat gallstones when the essential oil is taken in an enteric-coated capsule. Studies have also shown that it can improve taste and smell when inhaled.
Its warming and stimulating properties are valuable at the onset of a cold. It induces sweating, which is a natural method of fever reduction. Add a couple drops to a bath (no more than 3) or use in a steam inhalation. The steam inhalation method is very good for treating bronchitis and hay fever. These remedies are further enhanced by combining peppermint with lavender essential oil.
A cold compress of peppermint (especially when combined with lavender) can provide headache relief when applied to the forehead. You could also combine with a carrier oil to massage into temples. Apply at the first sign of pain for maximum effectiveness.
A peppermint essential oil steam can be used to cleanse and decongest the skin. Its antiseptic effect also helps control bacteria on the surface of the skin. This is very useful in treating acne.
Its anti-inflammatory and cooling sensation for pain relief help treat muscle soreness, bursitis, and tendonitis. Combine 10-15 drops with a carrier oil and massage into the sore area.
Peppermint is one of the three essential oils that is considered cephalic (stimulates the brain and aids clear thinking). Its energizing properties help remedy fatigue and increase concentration. It has also been used as an emergency treatment for shock due to its stimulating properties.
Vermin dislike the strong smell of peppermint. Sprinkle a few drops at entryways and along the paths of ants, mice, rats, fleas, and cockroaches as a deterrent. I just used this method yesterday when I saw that ants were hanging around the dog's food dish. I have not seen them today :)
Peppermint essential oil should be used with caution. Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Never use in treatments for an infant.
- Do not use in the evening, as it can cause wakefulness.
- Do not use over a long period of time as the stimulant effect is cumulative and can disturb sleep patterns.
- Do not use with other homeopathic remedies. It can antidote them.