Peppermint Oil Uses, Benefits, Cautions
A hybrid of the spearmint and water mint plants, peppermint comes from the Mentha pipertita and Labiatae categories. Its aromatherapy use dates back to ancient Egyptian and Roman times.
When distilled into an essential oil, peppermint is prized for its unique cooling and invigorating effects. Since the days before commercial toothpaste, peppermint essential oil has been the go-to for mouth freshening and disinfecting by way of its antiseptic properties. Some holistic experts claim that the menthol compounds in peppermint oil can immobilize mouth bacteria and stop the herpes virus from multiplying when applied directly.
Peppermint essential oil is known to be antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, insecticidal and antispasmodic. It is sometimes used to alleviate symptoms of depression due to its stimulating properties. Conversely, peppermint oil can also provide anxiety relief.
Not only is peppermint oil a pleasantly scented reducer of halitosis and clearer of congestion (menthol is a component of peppermint), but it’s also known to stimulate the senses, promote mental clarity, and relieve nausea.
If you have a headache coming on, you might try inhaling some peppermint oil in a diffuser or dabbing some, along with a carrier oil, behind your ears and on your temples to reduce pain and ease nervous tension.
Peppermint essential oil packs a powerful punch in that its aroma repels many insects including ants, fleas and ticks. It’s commonly used in natural flea and tick repellent recipes, along with clove and citronella oils, and can be used on humans as a safer alternative to chemical bug sprays.
If you opt to utilize peppermint oil’s cooling effects on the scalp or other areas of the body, be sure to mix it with a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil. Peppermint oil is extremely potent and will give the sensation of freezing and numbing the skin if applied directly. This is due to the menthol compounds that are naturally present in this powerful essential oil which behaves as a natural anesthetic.
How to Make Peppermint Oil at Home
Add the crushed leaves of a peppermint plant to a jar and fill 3/4 of the way with a carrier oil. Cap tightly and let rest for 24 hours. Strain out old peppermint leaves, then add new ones and more carrier oil. Let sit for another 24 hours, then strain again and repeat. Do this for 5 days. Finally, strain out the last bunch of peppermint leaves, cap and store.
Peppermint Oil Cautions and Concerns:
People who are allergic to menthol should not use peppermint oil. Difficulty breathing may occur as a result of using too high a dose of peppermint oil in common applications. Pregnant women and those with heart conditions should avoid using peppermint oil, as it may result in slowed breathing and heart rate. Do not use peppermint oil on young children, as too high of a dose may result in toxicity. If you are sensitive to stimulants, avoid peppermint essential oil. Peppermint oil should not be used directly on the skin without first combining with a carrier oil.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. If you are experiencing unusual symptoms of any kind, please consult with your physician.
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