Image from Feeling Herbal
Even as we were in the process of creating this holiday's limited edition bar, frosted alpine, many folks asked whether there were specific benefits of peppermint oil. That's why we've decided to highlight 5 benefits in this post!
When I was in high school, my teacher used to pass out those small peppermint candies during our California State Test exams. She always emphasized it would help us stay alert throughout the test. I always felt a bit of an adrenaline rush at the beginning of the test, but once it hit midday, my attention span would start to drop. So having a couple of peppermint candies midway in the test helped me be much more alert. I always felt so much better, feeling my head start to clear as I paced through the test.
A 2006 study in the United Kingdom tested the effect of peppermint aroma on cognitive performance. Researchers compared peppermint aroma in one group to ylang-ylang aroma in another, while a third control group received no exposure to the aroma. Peppermint was shown to increase alertness and memory, while ylang-ylang appeared to impair both. Not only is peppermint a great way to help you stay alert and focused, but it has a number of other benefits for your health and skin.
As I’ve grown to see the benefits of living a healthy and balanced lifestyle, I came across a number of benefits of peppermint oil that help naturally soothe and heal skin irritations, digestive problems, and common colds. Let’s take a look at some of the specific benefits that peppermint oil can have.
1. Relieves Digestion and Upset Stomach
Stomach pain is the worst. After getting food poisoning this year, my digestive tract has been quite abnormal. I’ve had to look for some natural remedies that would help alleviate some of discomfort I felt after eating foods that were extra greasy or too spicy. Whenever my stomach starts to hurt, I grab a peppermint candy or a piece of gum and already feel the difference after a couple minutes. Peppermint is one of the most well known ways of curing stomach discomfort. It’s a safe and effective alternative to medications that naturally relieves your stomach discomfort.
In a 2008 British Medical Journal report, patients showed improvements with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in peppermint oil. In a study of 57 people published in April 2007, 75% of patients who were given peppermint oil showed marked improvements in IBS symptoms.
2. Relaxes Sore Muscles
Peppermint oil has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties that can help relieve pain and inflammation. It’s a great way to alleviate your sore muscles after a hard core workout. Massaging the peppermint oil into your skin helps warm the skin and circulate blood flow on the targeted area.
Peppermint oil isn’t just great for sore muscles, but it can also help alleviate cramps during your period. I’m not sure about you, but every month my cramps are so severe that my leg and my back start to hurt. I rub 1-2 drops of peppermint oil in areas that I feel the most pain and put a heating pad on. I feel so much more relaxed and I get to sleep through the night instead of waking up in the middle of the night in complete pain. Peppermint contains large concentrations of menthol which helps relieve muscle spasms and is a natural painkiller.
3. Heals Headaches
I’ve had my share of headaches and they are no fun. Whenever I’m dehydrated, stressed, or lack sleep, I feel a headache looming in I add 1-2 drops into a carrier oil and rub it into areas where I feel tension.
The best part of peppermint oil is that it’s a natural alternative to ibuprofen. Ibuprofen can be damaging to your stomach lining the longer you take it. Ibuprofen can cause a significant amount of damage in the gut, which can cause a leaky gut and trigger an autoimmune disease as well as stomach bleeding, liver damage, and damage your kidneys.
4. Relieves Colds and Congestion
When you take a sniff of some peppermint oil, you already feel your nose start to clear and your senses are coming back. It’s the perfect remedy to relieve the common cold and clear sinuses. Menthol in peppermint not only relaxes muscle spasms as mentioned earlier but it provides a cooling sensation. According to The Clinical Journal of Pain published in 2002, patients who inhaled peppermint oil saw a decrease in tuberculosis-induced inflammation and prevented the disorder from worsening or recurring.
Mix 2-3 drops of peppermint oil with a carrier oil and massage the oil onto your chest. Another great tip is dropping some peppermint oil into your humidifier. It’ll help clear your sinuses and relieve congestion. I also love boiling hot water, adding a drop of peppermint oil and draping a towel over my head to breath in the steam. It’s a great way to help me breath.
5. Clears Dry, Itchy Scalp
Dry scalp is frustrating, especially in the winter months. When my scalp starts to dry, my scalp itches, oil builds up, and I get dandruff. Instead of putting on a hair mask once a month, I’ve had to put on a hair mask once a week to keep my hair hydrated and flake-free. One of the ways that I combat my dry scalp on a weekly basis is adding a couple drops of peppermint oil to my favorite cleansing conditioner and rinse my hair in apple cider vinegar. The antiseptic and antimicrobial properties in peppermint help to stimulate the follicle by increasing blood circulation flow and oxygen supply, restoring scalp to normal conditions. Peppermint oil helps to balance the PH levels of your scalp, which is so important for maintaining a clean and healthy scalp.
When you head over to the grocery store, don’t forget to grab your peppermint oil this winter! You never know when you might need it.