One of the most commonly used ingredients in the cosmetic, Ayurvedic as well as food and beverage industries, peppermint is no less than a superfood. Its oil, which is known as menthol, comes with a host of health and beauty benefits, right from soothing an upset stomach and treating cold to relieving stress and skin irritation. No wonder in the ancient times it was used as an herbal medicine across various cultures. What makes peppermint also popular is the cooling sensation it trails behind that is refreshing as well as soothing. This is the reason why it is extensively used in toothpastes, chewing gums, balms and bathing soaps, among others.
An extract from DK Publishing’s book Healing Foods states, “Menthol, the active oil in mint, is responsible for the antiseptic and antibacterial properties that make it a good choice for relieving indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and soothing an upset stomach. Its adaptogenic properties mean it can help balance the body in whatever way is needed, so it can be both invigorating and mildly sedative. It also fortifies the nervous system and helps to relive headaches.”
There are of course different species of the Mint plant, and Peppermint is considered to be a hybrid between Watermint and Spearmint. Although the wild variety is available in certain parts of the world (particularly Europe), it is largely cultivated to yield better oil content and meet the ever growing demand. Peppermint oil has anti-microbial, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties, and acts as a mild sedative and natural pain killer.
Uses of Peppermint Oil
Here are ten incredible uses of peppermint oil:
1. To Treat a Cold
It is a common home remedy to put a few drops of peppermint oil in a bowl of hot water and inhale the fumes to nurse a cold. The menthol content helps in clearing sinusitis and treating scratchy throats.
2. Provide Relief from Joint Pain
Joint pain can be quite gruelling and it is a common problem during winters especially for the elderly. Peppermint oil has long been used to treat joint pains. Mix a few drops of the oil along with lavender oil and apply on the affected area. They work magically to soothe the nerves and ease the pain.
3. Soothes Muscle Pain
Almost all pain relief sprays contain some amount of peppermint oil. It is known to create a burning sensation but at the same time bring relief too. No wonder it is known as a natural painkiller. Besides it helps in soothing sore muscles.
4. Treats Itchy Scalp
Itchy scalp is a common problem. Having to face dust and pollution everyday, all those particles can cause havoc for your hair. Peppermint oil can help treat itchy scalp and bring about a sense of freshness. Add two drops to your shampoo and watch it work its magic.
5. Rejuvenating Foot Cream
After a long day at work, a good foot massage or even a simple scrub and cleaning can work wonders to lift your spirit. It is commonly advised to wash your feet with warm water before going to bed, which can help you get good sleep. Now add a few drops of peppermint oil to your scrub or massaging cream and work it on your feet to relieve tension.
6. Can Treat Headache
Peppermint oil almost works like a balm, bring about instant relief from headaches. Since it works wonders in relaxing tensed muscles, you can apply a drop or two on your forehead and massage gently.
According to a study done at the University of Maryland, the various oils in peppermint stimulate the gallbladder to produce and release bile that the body uses to digest fat. Peppermint tea is known to treat indigestion, bloating and flatulence. You can also add a drop of peppermint oil to a cup of warm water and have it before meals.
8. Helps Against Skin Irritation and Allergies
The soothing effect of peppermint helps fight against skin irritants and other allergies. You can add two drops of the oil along with lavender oil and apply it on the affected area. You can also add a few drops in your body lotion and moisturise your body. It also has anti-microbial properties.
9. Reduces Nausea
Nausea, which is a feeling that instigates vomiting, can be prevented using peppermint oil. A common practise is to rub a few drops of the oil behind your ears. Another way is to add a drop to a glass of water and sip on it.
10. Helps Soothe Toothache
Toothache can be incredibly painful, making your life come to a standstill. Peppermint oil can help by soothing the muscles, relieving pain and disinfecting the area. Add a few drops on a cotton swab and apply it directly on the affected area.