Contributed by Dori Cranmore R.N.
Peppermint has often been termed the world’s oldest medicine. It is native to Europe and is actually a cross between spearmint and watermint. Its botanical name is mentha piperita. Peppermint has been studied and proven by the scientific community to have numerous health benefits. As a result, peppermint is sold in many different forms of tablets, tinctures, capsules, essential oils and teas.
Health benefits of peppermint oil can include the following:
Indigestion: Peppermint oil is very helpful for digestion. Peppermint can help relieve gas, nausea and stomach pain due to an irritable bowel, intestinal cramps or indigestion. It is a good tonic for those who have decreased appetites. It helps during motion sickness and it’s great for nausea during pregnancy. Peppermint tea is safe for infants to drink with colic or place a cloth soaked in peppermint tea over the infant’s belly.
Dental Care: Peppermint oil, due to its antiseptic properties, is useful for dental care. It helps remove bad breath and helps teeth and gums deal with germs. No wonder it is added to many toothpastes, mouthwashes and dental floss. It is also useful for treating toothaches along with clove oil.
Respiratory Problems: Menthol, which is present in abundance in peppermint oil, helps in clearing the respiratory tract. It is an effective expectorant and therefore provides instantaneous, though temporary, relief in numerous respiratory problems including nasal congestion, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, colds and cough. Nausea and Headache: Peppermint oil is a good home remedy for nausea and headaches. Applying diluted pure essential oil on the forehead, temples, behind the ears and inhaling can help minimize or stop a headache. A drop on the tongue can help relieve nausea.
Stress: Like most other essential oils, peppermint is able to provide relief from stress, depression and mental exhaustion due to its refreshing nature. It is also effective against anxiety and restlessness.
Pain relief: Peppermint oil (diluted) can be used externally for providing relief from painful muscles and joints. It is cooling in nature and therefore helps reduce fever.
Blood Circulation: It is known to improve blood circulation. Many truck drivers keep it handy to inhale as it helps keep you more alert if you are drowsy.
Hair Care: Peppermint oil is very useful for hair care as it gives a cooling effect to the head and removes dandruff. It is one of the natural remedies for killing head lice. It must be diluted. You will find very few people who will not find peppermint suitable to their palate. Peppermint oil contains numerous minerals and nutrients including manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium, folate, potassium and copper. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin C.
And no, you can’t eat peppermint candy canes and receive all these wonderful nutrients!
This information is provided for educational purposes and not intended to diagnose, cure or treat any disease.