Peppermint (Mentha piperita), you’ll find it in everything from chewing gum, candy, peppermint soap to shampoo. Pure peppermint essential oils made from extracts of peppermint leaves have more than just a sweet smell and minty, fresh taste; it has health benefits. It can relieve pain, ease digestive distress and treat respiratory problems. Find out more about its medicinal and household benefits, and learn how to use it.
What Is Peppermint Oil?
The peppermint plant originally came from Europe. According to Organic Facts, the plant is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint,
Research shows that the main components of peppermint oil are:
- menthol (40%)
- menthone (23%)
Other compounds found in the oil are:
- menthyl acetate
13 Uses And Health Benefits Of Peppermint Oil
#1 – Peppermint Oil Full Of Antibacterial and Antioxidant Properties
Experts have found that peppermint oil can fight free radicals. Although the safety of peppermint essential oil for human consumption has not been established, using it for aromatherapy has potential antioxidant benefits for your body.
It can also kill bacteria, making peppermint helpful for treating viruses and infections. Research shows it may inhibit foodborne pathogens.
#2 – Peppermint Oil Can Help Your Other Beauty Products Work Better
Examine.com explains the addition of peppermint oil for hair and skin care products can help those products penetrate more effectively. According to the University of Minnesota’s Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing page, you can take additional measures to help a product absorb into the skin. Massaging the area can improve blood flow to the surface of the skin, improving absorption. Heating the area will also enhance absorption.
Apart from applying this essential oil to the hair follicles, skin and scalp, the peppermint tea also help avoid bad breath.
#3 – Peppermint Oil Can Make You A Better Player
When you’re performing an activity that requires cognitive processing as well as hand-eye coordination, sniffing peppermint oil first can make you more adept. One study had participants play Nintendo Wii Fit after inhaling peppermint oil. They completed more levels and scored higher after breathing in the oil than without it.
Peppermint mentha x piperita oil can also enhance athletic performance. The scent can help you have more energy and complete tasks more quickly. The video below explains how peppermint can improve physical performance.
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#4 – Peppermint Oil Can Help You Focus
Researchers have found that peppermint oil can make you more vigilant. When you have a task requiring concentration, inhaling peppermint oil can improve your speed and accuracy.
However, some theorize it’s the pleasurable scent, not the active ingredients in peppermint oil, which help you stay attentive. Apart from its essential oil form, some would drink peppermint tea to keep themselves focused and relaxed.
#5 – Peppermint Oil Can Make You Work Harder Without Stressing Out
The video above explains that peppermint oil does not only help you perform better. It also makes you think you’re putting less effort into the work. You may sweat less when doing physical activity, and you might walk away thinking you accomplished more with less exertion.
Perhaps sniffing peppermint oil can help your workouts be more efficient, helping with weight loss. Maybe using peppermint oil as aromatherapy can help you get more work done at the office and allow you to relax better when at home.
#6 – Peppermint Essential Oil Can Help With Digestive Issues
Peppermint oil has been recommended for treating irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, and upset stomach. Research shows that it can relax stomach tissue, stopping the spasms which can make you vomit. Apart from irritable bowel syndrome, it can help relieve the pain and discomfort coming from stomach cramps, non-ulcer dyspepsia, diarrhea, and constipation. You can use peppermint essential oils before going for over-the-counter medications.
#7 – Peppermint Essential Oil Can Help Women In Labor
Peppermint oil gives so much benefits to women’s health especially those who are in labor. Women may experience nausea when giving birth. This irritating symptom can make it difficult to relax or cope with pain. Experts recommend peppermint oil for helping birthing mother’s get rid of nausea.
Half of the women studied shared how aromatherapy was helpful during labor. Inhaling peppermint oil can even help some avoid medical pain management. More women say that peppermint oil was useful during labor than not helpful.
Using peppermint oil as aromatherapy can also help patients recovering from a C-section. In one study, more than half of the participants’ post-operative nausea went away completely within 5 minutes of inhaling the oil.
This is promising for post-birth bonding for helping babies and mothers establish a crucial bond during the first hour after birth.
According to American Family Physician, holding the baby skin-to-skin after birth is a predictor of breastfeeding success. If the mother feels well, she is more likely to hold her baby and take steps to initiate breastfeeding immediately after birth.
#8 – Put Peppermint Essential Oil On Your Head To Stop Headaches
Many people recommend rubbing peppermint oil on the head to relieve headaches. Examine.com explains that several studies back up these findings. One study claimed that using a solution of 10% peppermint oil to 90% alcohol was as potent as 1,000 mg of acetaminophen.
Peppermint oil can relax the muscle contractions that lead to tension headaches. Experts believe that peppermint oil may also be useful for migraines.
#9 – Peppermint Oil Can Help Breastfeeding Moms
A breastfeeding baby can cause cracked nipples if there is a problem with the baby’s oral structure or latch. Painful lesions on the nipples may make it harder to continue breastfeeding.
According to one study women who applied peppermint oil to their nipples experienced less cracking and less pain than women who used expressed breastmilk.
Researchers have equated the use of peppermint to the use of lanolin on cracked nipples. Lanolin can hold in moisture, exacerbating yeast problems that can lead to other breastfeeding challenges. Therefore, using peppermint oil may be preferable to using lanolin.
Not much research has been done to determine whether peppermint oil is safe for breastfeeding moms. Drugs.com recommends when using peppermint on your nipples, you wipe it off before the baby nurses. The website also explains the FDA regards peppermint oil as safe.
#10 – Peppermint Oil Can Relieve Pain
According to WebMD, peppermint oil may relieve sore muscle pain. In fact, it makes one of the great natural remedies from an essential oil for pain management. Get it applied topically into muscles by diluting it with a carrier oil and rubbing it in. Drop some into a warm bath to further soothe post-workout aches and muscle pains.
#11- Peppermint Oil Has Respiratory Benefits
Dr Mercola.com says that peppermint essential oil benefits also covers the respiratory system. It may help clear mucus from your respiratory tract when you have a virus. Peppermint can also decrease inflammation in the respiratory system thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects, which is beneficial for people with asthma.
#12 – Peppermint Oil May Help You Stick To Your Diet
Psychology professor Bryan Raudenbush, Ph.D., researched the effectiveness of inhaling mint to deter snacking. He found that sniffing peppermint throughout the day prevented people from overeating.
Individuals who inhaled the scent over the course of each day lowered their total calorie count for the week by 3,000 calories. You may be able to lose a pound a week by inhaling peppermint instead of going for that bag of pretzels.
#13 – Can Peppermint Oil Help You Stay Awake?
Many articles state that peppermint oil helps with fatigue. One study found that people exposed to the blended aroma of essential oils which included peppermint had less mental exhaustion or fatigue.
However, researchers could not determine if any particular oil had more significant effects. The study is the only one conducted on humans using peppermint oil.
#14 – Peppermint Oil Can Repel Pests
Even though many humans find the scent of peppermint oil appealing, peppermint is not popular with spiders or in the rodent community. How To Get Rid Of Mice explains how to use peppermint to keep mice out of your home and garden.
Make sure that you buy 100% pure peppermint essential oil for this. Peppermint extracts or tinctures may not be effective. Add at least five drops of oil to a cotton ball and place in locations where you don’t want rodents.
Don’t hold back on the amount of oil you use. More is better. Change the cotton balls out every two weeks.
The placement of the oil is important. The idea is to keep the mice out. Place the peppermint cotton balls where the mice are entering your home. The smell should repel them before they come in.
Mice leave droppings and residue to help attract other mice to a particular location. You can place cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil in the areas where you see mouse droppings or trails.
Peppermint oil isn’t a magic remedy for eliminating pests. If you have an infestation already, you’ll have to trap the mice to remove them. However, using peppermint oil can prevent them from returning.
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How Inhaling Peppermint Oil Works
Inhaling peppermint oil influences the body via a few different routes. When you breathe in a scent, you take in the molecules that produce that scent.
Those molecules work with the olfactory system and reach the brain quickly. In the brain, different receptors get signals from the molecules.
One area that receives a signal is the limbic system. According to Very Well, the limbic system is responsible for managing your emotional and behavioral responses. It communicates with the autonomic nervous system, endocrine system, and digestive system. Therefore, inhaling peppermint oil can affect your physical function as well as your cognitive processing.
The molecules also enter the lungs via the respiratory system. The blood picks up the molecules in the lungs, and enter the circulatory system. The blood can transmit the particles to different areas of the body that can use it.
The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy states that children should not inhale peppermint oil by children younger than 30 months. This peppermint oil can trigger an immediate respiratory shutdown on a young body making it bad for children’s health.
You should also avoid putting peppermint oil on infants’ chest or nose. Children under 12 should not use peppermint oil directly on the feet without diluting it.
How To Use Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is extremely potent and should be used safely by adults. When applying topically, dilute it by mixing with a carrier oil. Some carrier oils good for the skin are avocado oil, tea tree oil, coconut oil, and jojoba oil.
- Quick Fix Aromatherapy
One method for inhaling peppermint oil is to place one drop in the palm of your hands. This has been reported to be a quick fix for perking up your energy when you’re feeling drained or fatigued.
- Rub your hands together briskly.
- Place your palms near, but not touching, your nose.
- Take several deep breaths, inhaling the aroma.
- Peppermint Massage Oil
- Mix 4 drops of peppermint oil with 4 teaspoons of a carrier oil.
- Warm a quarter-sized drop of the massage oil between your hands.
- Apply it to your neck and shoulders to relieve tension.
- Foot-Refreshing Oil
Peppermint oil feels cool on the skin. It can refresh tired, aching feet. Make this peppermint oil foot rub to moisturize and rejuvenate yourself.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of carrier oil, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and ½ teaspoon of peppermint essential oil.
- Pour a little bit into your hand and massage into your feet.
- Bath Soak For Sore Muscles
If you’re sore after a workout, soaking in a tub with peppermint can help soothe your muscles. Adding Epsom salt can also help your body detoxify.
- Fill the tub with hot water.
- Add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt and stir to dissolve.
- Add 10 drops of peppermint oil to the bathwater.
- Stir the bathwater to combine, and soak for as long as desired.
- Peppermint Oil Pest Spray
If you want to keep mice out of large-scale areas or want to place peppermint into a tight space, a spray may work better than the cotton ball method.
- Add 1 ounce of pure peppermint oil to a spray bottle.
- Add 1 ounce of water and one small drop of detergent.
- Shake to combine, and then spray in areas where you see evidence of mice.
- Use a ratio of 1 part peppermint to 2 parts water as a preventative measure.
Should You Ingest Peppermint Oil?
Most experts recommend you don’t take any essential oils orally. The menthol in peppermint oil can be extremely toxic when consumed in large doses.
According to The Aromatherapy School, nothing consumed by mouth can affect your limbic and autonomous nervous system as quickly as inhaling something will. Therefore, you don’t need to administer essential oil orally to get fast effects.
Many pharmaceutical drugs have an instant effect on the brain too. However, most just remove a symptom instead of healing holistically. When used safely and not ingested, peppermint oil can improve the root of your health conditions instead of just masking symptoms.