Friday, May 25, 2012

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint is one of my favorite scents, flavors, whatever. If it is minty, I will love it. So, it isn't a surprise that I really like to work with peppermint essential oil. I use it in several of my products, which can be bad if you forget to do your ordering ahead of time (you can read about it here).

But, I don't just use peppermint because it smells good. I choose it for several of my products because of the benefits that peppermint offers. Peppermint has actually been used for centuries as perfumes, in religious rituals, and for medicinal purposes. Today, it is commonly used to reduce digestive complaints, which is why restaurants often offer mints after large dinners.

Peppermint is a well-known stimulant. It can increase alertness and help clear your mind to allow better concentration. Many use the essential oil to help reduce headaches and tension from a day at work. Peppermint has an overall cooling affect on a person's emotions. It can help increase confidence in yourself and your decision making abilities. I know several people that use peppermint in diffusers in their offices to help them be more productive and positive about their work.
Photo from Wonderferret on Flickr

Besides being stimulating, peppermint is cooling and has anti-bacterial properties. This benefits make it a popular ingredient in foot care products, such as Honu Naturals Pedi-Cure set! It is great for relaxing tense muscles, reducing inflammation, and stimulating circulation. Can you think of anything your feet need more? The fact that it is cooling and a good muscles relaxer makes it popular for treatment of hot flashes, cramps, and even sunburn! Peppermint can also be used to help reduce the occurrence of blemishes and acne because it can reduce oiliness and fight bacteria.

Peppermint essential oil is one of my staple essential oils. I use it to make sniffy rags when someone in the house is stuffy and I put a drop or two in a certain toddler's humidifier when he is sick. I put a few drops in a warm bath when I need to relax. The last time I got a massage, I requested peppermint and lavender for my aromatherapy! I keep a little bit diluted in olive oil, just in case I need to rub it on a sunburn, mosquito bite, or my temples to relieve stress. I drink mint tea to help relax and focus (or after I eat too much during the holidays). This is one oil that I don't think I could live without!

Warning: Peppermint is a great essential oil, but it MUST be diluted before use. Direct contact with skin will cause extreme irritation (trust me, I know this). Do not use peppermint essential oil if you have high blood pressure, are pregnant, or breastfeeding. Essential oils should not be taken internally. None of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA, but the have evaluated by herbalist and aromatherapists.

What do you use that contains peppermint?