The health benefits of peppermint oil include its ability to improve digestion, alleviate respiratory problems, headache, nausea, fever, stomach and bowel spasms, as well as pain. Due to the presence of menthol, menthone, and methyl esters, peppermint, and peppermint oil find wide applications in the manufacturing of soap, shampoo, cigarettes, toothpaste, chewing gum, tea, and ice cream.
What is Peppermint Oil?
Peppermint is a cross between watermint and spearmint and is native to Europe. This antimicrobial herb has been known for its medicinal uses, and its impressively long history often gives it the prestigious title as the world’s oldest medicine. Unlike many other herbs and essential oils, numerous health benefits of peppermint and its oil have been studied and proven by science. As a result, this oil is also sold in the form of capsules and tablets and is even prescribed by doctors of alternative and modern medicine. Peppermint oil can also be used as a flavoring agent. You will find very few people who find it unsuitable for their palate.
Peppermint Essential Oil Benefits
The health benefits of this oldest medicinal oil include the following:
Reduces Muscle & Joint Pain
Peppermint oil can be used externally to provide relief from muscle pain. It is believed that the presence of calcium antagonism in peppermint oil helps remove pain from affected areas. In case of injury or wound, apply this oil topically to the area to reduce swelling, relieve pain, and eliminate the chances of uncomfortable inflammation of the joints. Furthermore, researcher Richard Weise patented a pain relief composition from a mixture of aloe vera oil, eucalyptus oil, lemon oil, orange oil, peppermint oil, and rosemary oil.
Inhaling this oil helps relieve congestion of the sinuses, and helps prevents other problems including nasal congestion, asthma, bronchitis, cold, and cough.
Taking a few sniffs of peppermint oil or applying it to your chest or temples can help in curbing cravings and make you feel full faster.
If you have chronic fatigue syndrome, peppermint oil can be very beneficial. Its analgesic properties help improve energy levels, focus, and concentration and thereby help you work better in your day-to-day life.
Helps with ADHD
Rubbing a few drops of peppermint oil on your child’s shirt or top can prevent ADHD by improving alertness and concentration.
If it is a rash that giving you the itch or poison ivy, you can use peppermint oil to soothe and relieve it.
It is also cooling in nature and is subsequently used to reduce fever. It is frequently called a “refrigerant”, meaning that it can provide an intensely cold sensation to any affected area.
Peppermint oil contains menthol, which is good for the skin because it gives a cooling sensation. Furthermore, it nourishes dull skin and improves the texture of oily or greasy skin.
This antimicrobial agent helps to clear up acne naturally by keeping the skin free of any allergens or pimple-causing bacterias.
Peppermint oil is a good home remedy for nausea and headaches because of its cooling and anti-inflammatory properties, say researchers from the Neurological Clinic of the University of Kiel, Germany. To quickly alleviate the pain of a headache, simply apply it in a diluted form directly on the forehead or the temples. Inhaling this oil can eliminate the effects of nausea and motion sickness because of its relaxing and soothing effects. Furthermore, it reduces the pain of migraines in certain patients within 15 minutes of topical application, according to a study done in 2007.
Promotes Hair Growth
Peppermint oil has antiseptic, regenerative, and stimulating effects, which helps relieve dry scalp and irritation, stimulate hair growth for those suffering from baldness and give hair a shiny, fresh look. Inventors Tadashi Fukuma and Renzo Hattori patented a formula that acts as a hair growth stimulant, which involved the use of peppermint oil too.
Dental & Oral Care
Peppermint oil, due to its antiseptic properties, eliminates bad breath (or halitosis), helps fight germs and toothaches. Unsurprisingly, these attributes mean that it is added to numerous toothpaste. At times, the inhalation of the oil vapor can be anti-inflammatory and analgesic, so it can even be added to the post-operative oxygen, particularly after oral surgeries.
Rubbing a mixture of peppermint oil and water behind your ears can significantly reduce nausea induced by chemotherapy.
Alleviates Respiratory Problems
Menthol, which is abundantly present in peppermint oil, helps to clear the respiratory tract as it is an expectorant. As a result, it is used in numerous cold rubs and balms. When these cold rubs are applied to the chest, they can quickly remove nasal and respiratory congestion. In a study published in Elsevier’s Journal of Ethnopharmacology, the use of peppermint oil proved to be antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory, and considerably soothed the trachea inflammation and coughing in rats. It is a frequent part of alternative medicine for generations and is highly respected for its use in relieving respiratory issues.
Relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Peppermint oil can relax the smooth muscles of the GI tract, which is why it is a common component of over-the-counter medications. Dr. Edzard Ernst, et al., University of Exeter, UK, in a study, have also shown it to be a great reliever for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects millions of people every year and is characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort.
Relief from Colic
This oil is extensively used to address infantile colic without the risk of any of the negative side effects.
Peppermint oil helps balance fluctuating hormone levels and thereby also prevent the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Peppermint oil is a carminative and therefore helps remove excess gas. It is also a good tonic for those who have a low appetite and helps with the problems of bloating, abdominal pain, motion sickness, nausea, and upset stomach. Preliminary research has proven that when combined with caraway oil, it can be used for addressing heartburn. People often put a few drops of peppermint oil in a glass of water and drink it after their meal to aid digestion.
Like most other essential oils, peppermint can provide relief from stress, depression, and mental exhaustion due to its refreshing nature. It is also effective against anxiety and restlessness. Furthermore, it stimulates mental activity, clears the mind, and boosts cognition.
Peppermint oil is very effective for gastroscopy, colonoscopy, and during a double-contrast barium enema, where it is applied intraluminally. Further benefits of peppermint oil that might stem from its antispasmodic properties are being studied.
Prevents Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Peppermint oil can be used for urinary tract infections (UTI). Although it is traditionally used, formal scientific research is still underway to understand the details of this specific attribute. Peppermint oil has a wealth of antibacterial qualities, which may be the underlying reason why it can reduce the effects and frequency of urinary tract infections in alternative applications.
Peppermint oil can boost a person’s immunity to various diseases and is commonly employed by people with a weak immune system or who seem to frequently suffer from illness. Peppermint oil is also known to have powerful antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal effects, which is why it is used in so many alternative treatments. It is composed of camphor, menthol, and carvacrol, which are resistant to certain dangerous bacterial strains like E. coli, salmonella, and staph infections.
Improves Blood Circulation
The stimulating effects of peppermint oil have been shown to increase blood circulation. Studies have shown that as soon as the vapor of the essential oil touches the end of the olfactory nerve endings, there is an instant increase in pulse rate and blood circulation. The stimulating effect of increased blood circulation helps oxygenate the body’s organs and increase metabolism. This leads to higher cognitive function and protection against neurally degenerative diseases. Furthermore, increased blood circulation can prevent diabetics from complications they are already at risk of due to their glucose level imbalances.
Peppermint oil has been a part of some preliminary studies as an antiviral agent that can reduce the chances of herpes infections and recurring outbreaks. A study cited in the Phytomedicine journal conducted by researchers from the University of Heidelberg shows the inhibitory activity of peppermint oil on the herpes virus.
Peppermint oil blends well with various other essential oils including eucalyptus, rosemary, lemon, and marjoram. So many aromatherapists and herbalists commonly use peppermint oil in their medicinal or aromatic combinations.
Peppermint Oil Uses
- Shampoo: You can mix peppermint oil with your shampoo to treat dandruff and lice. Peppermint oil can also be found in many other hair products and alternative solutions for baldness, dandruff, and other hair-related conditions.
- Bug repellent: Ticks, ants, spiders, cockroaches, mice, and other bugs can be easily kept away from your home by using peppermint oil.
- Nail Care: There is significant research that shows a topical application of oil can reduce the chances of fungal nail infection.
- Teething: Use a blend of peppermint oil and coconut oil (1:1 ratio) to help your child bear with the pain of teething. You can gently apply it to their gums.
- Sunburn: By hydrating burnt skin and relieving pain, peppermint oil is a homemade recipe for sunburn. All you need to do is to mix it with coconut oil and then apply it to the affected area.
Word of Caution: There are some risks in using too much peppermint oil, including the following:
- Allergic reactions like flushing, tongue spasms, and mouth sores
- Anal burning
The same rules apply to use peppermint oil as to any other alternative supplement or dietary change; speak to a doctor, and if you don’t consult a professional, start with small topical doses or skin patch tests to see how it affects your system.