I’ve been writing this blog for nearly nine months now and thought it was high time that I gave a bit of airplay to my namesake. As you might have gathered by the name I chose for my practice, peppermint is one of my favourite essential oils – there’s simply nothing like its head-tingling aroma.
When I used to run a PR consultancy (also called Peppermint – do you see a bit of a theme here?), I installed an aromatherapy machine that wafted the smell of peppermint around the office. The aim was more than just a fresh-smelling workplace: peppermint has been shown to increase mental alertness and focus. These days, I’m not heading a busy consultancy but I do always have a diffuser going with peppermint mixed with orange essential oil – another one of my faves and renowned for its uplifting, cheery effect on our emotional state. It’s amazing to see the impact on clients when they walk in to my therapy room, take a sniff and immediately feel better.
Did you know that peppermint’s medicinal benefits have been prized for millennia (the ancient Egyptians were using it as a remedy back in 1,000 BC)? Although most of us tend to associate peppermint with no more than chocolate covered mints, chewing gum or toothpaste, it can actually help a whole host of body and mind issues…and there’s a stack of scientific research to back up its efficacy.
Peppermint is actually a hybrid combination of watermint and spearmint and, if you’ve ever had it in your garden, you’ll know that it’s a bit of a thug. But we’ll forgive it for this minor misdemeanor, given that it’s such a wondrous herb.
Lavender apart, peppermint oil is one of the most versatile essential oils on the planet. Not only does it create an amazing cooling sensation but it has a calming effect on the body and can relieve sore muscles when used topically. It’s used to great effect to prevent and treat nausea and help with other gastrointestinal conditions. It’s a really soothing digestive aid for when your stomach needs a helping hand. It also has antimicrobial properties so it can help freshen bad breath.
Here are just a handful of the many things you can do with your peppermint oil. Try a few and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it! (NB. Do be sure to dilute peppermint oil in a carrier oil before using topically or internally – I like to mix it with coconut oil).
Ease pain naturally: If you’re looking for a natural muscle relaxer/pain reliever, peppermint essential oil is one of the best. Try using it on an aching back, toothache, or headache (apply to the temples for quick relief).
Clear sinuses: Diffusing or inhaling peppermint essential oil is brilliant at unblocking sinuses. Peppermint also acts as an expectorant and may provide relief for colds, cough, sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis.
Cut cravings: If you feel at the mercy of your cravings, try diffusing or sniffing peppermint before meal times; it will also help you feel full more quickly.
Boost your energy: Next time you hit an energy slump, don’t reach for a sugar-packed energy drink…just have a whiff of peppermint oil. It’s a refreshing, non-toxic pick-me-up.
Improve bloating, indigestion & IBS: Peppermint oil relaxes the muscles of your intestines, which can also reduce bloating. Try peppermint tea or adding one drop of peppermint oil to your water before meals. Peppermint oil taken internally in capsule form has been proven to be effective at naturally treating IBS.
Freshen breath and reduce fillings: Peppermint has been used to naturally freshen breath for over 1,000 years. According to studies, peppermint oil performed better than mouthwash chemicals at reducing fillings.
Natural insect repellant: Insects loathe peppermint oil. Try putting a few drops in the bucket when you’re mopping to deter spiders!
Hope this gives you a few ideas to experiment with. Do you have your own favourite use of peppermint oil? Feel free to share!