Who doesn't love a peppermint candy for instant fresh breath? I know I love them!
The cooling and sweet taste of peppermint-flavored candies come from peppermint oil. We can often see products in the market — like toothpaste, mouthwash, and soaps — coming in peppermint variants.
But did you know that peppermint oil is used for various medicinal purposes and has multiple studies on its beneficial effect on itchy skin?
Today, we are going to find out all about peppermint oil — what uses it is known for and how we can incorporate it into our skin care regimen. You'll soon find out why no one's too cool for this cooling oil.
What Is Peppermint Oil?
Peppermint oil is steam distilled from a fresh or partially-dried Mentha × piperita or the peppermint herb. The peppermint herb is a natural cross between two types of mint — water mint and spearmint — and grows throughout Europe and North America.
Put a bottle of this oil near your nose, and you'll be hit by its distinctive minty crisp, invigorating fresh scent, with a faint peppery note. Also, you'll notice that the oil appears clear to a pale yellow in color with a watery viscosity.
Peppermint oil is quite versatile and is a popular choice in essential oils because of this. Since time immemorial, peppermint oil has been used to treat headaches, the common cold, neuralgia, etc.
There are more than 40 different compounds in peppermint oil, but menthol is often the subject of studies. Menthol is responsible for most of the known uses of peppermint oil.
History of Peppermint Oil
An interesting record about the genus of Mentha, where most known mints come from, exists in Greek mythology. According to the myth, Mentha takes its name from a nymph named Minthe. She had an affair with Hades, the god of the Underworld. Persephone, the jealous wife of Hades, turned Minthe into an unremarkable plant and trod her into the ground. But then Hades turned Minthe into an herb that people would appreciate and value 'til the end of time.
Lovely story, isn't it? And true enough, mint herbs are valued by cultures across the world, even in our time!
Peppermint, indigenous to Europe and the Middle East, is now cultivated widely in many regions. Principally, this oil is produced in the United States, India, China, England, Italy, and Russia.
Before the vast popularity of the plant, records from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome show that peppermint has been used medicinally for centuries. People of old treated gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, and nausea, as well as cold, headache, and cramps with the use of this oil. Just imagine what hospitals back in the ancient days smelled like — crisp and peppery!But it was not until the 1700s that peppermint was recognized as a distinct kind of mint.
Different Uses of Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil gained its popularity, as mentioned above, because of its known multiple uses. Here are some of the super powers of peppermint oil:
- reduces or relieves irritable bowel syndrome
- reduces abdominal pain from GI tract issues
- relieves pain from headaches and migraines
- stimulates the scalp and removes dandruff
- de-congests nasal tract
- reduces the severity of itches
- relieves muscle pain and fatigue
Many from the list above are the effect of peppermint oil when used in aromatherapy. The oil is also believed to stimulate circulation, reduce feelings of nervous tension, soothe feelings of irritability, boost energy, balance hormones, and enhances mental focus. No wonder so many people love to include this oil in their aromatherapy sessions.
If you want to try it out for yourself, using a diffuser evenly disperses the vapors so that it can enter the respiratory system more gently.
Skin Benefits of Peppermint Oil
Now that we know a little bit more about peppermint oil, it is time to get more intimately acquainted with this oil's skin benefits!
Itchiness and acne-prone skin coexist. We all know the temptation posed by a newly formed red lump on our skin — begging to be lightly tapped then scratched, giving us satisfaction but only making the acne worse.
In various studies regarding the topical application of peppermint oil, studied extensively is the oil's ability to reduce the itchiness of the skin. Different data found on this skin benefit ensures that we can surely observe this effect on our skin. In this study, as little as 5% peppermint oil is needed to relieve chronic itchiness.
So, dabbing on some products with peppermint oil on your itchy red bumps will do the trick to keep the itching temptation at bay.
Little to no studies have made the astringent property of peppermint oil as a subject. Although herbalists often list this property as an effect of this oil. Numerous testimonials also claim this property as something that peppermint oil has.
Natural astringents like peppermint oil are better than alcohol-based astringents saturating the markets. Natural ones will be sure to help tighten pores without irritating the skin with alcohol. But of course, we must always be cautious when it comes to our skin.
Fights Acne and Reduces Inflammation
These benefits come from the studied properties and effects of peppermint oil. Though researches about peppermint oil's advantages in this area are still in their infancy, many testimonials claim these benefits to be all too true!
The cooling sensation from the menthol in this oil is claimed to reduce signs of inflammation like swelling and throbbing red patches of skin. Also, this oil's antibacterial properties help us fight-off acne and battle those that already chose to exist on our skin.
How to Use Peppermint Oil
It is hard to resist using peppermint oil in our skin care because of its fresh minty scent! Of course, we don't have to resist because using this oil will benefit us greatly.
From the benefits we discussed, the relief peppermint oil provides to itchy skin is a god-send for those with acne-prone skin. This oil is the cool solution to hot, inflamed itchy skin.
To obtain this benefit from peppermint oil, you can incorporate a drop or two to your existing skin care products or feature the oil in your upcoming DIY projects.
To inspire you, here is a DIY salve recipe with peppermint oil!
Salve Recipe with Peppermint Oil
- clean, dry container
- heat-proof bowl
- 2 ounces jojoba oil
- 1/4 ounces mango butter
- 5 drops rosemary essential oil
- 5 drops lemongrass essential oil
- 5 drops peppermint essential oil
How To Prepare and Use It?
1. Add the jojoba oil and mango butter in a double boiler. Heat until all of the mango butter has dissolved evenly into jojoba oil.
2. Add the essential oils and stir well.
3. Quickly pour into the container. Be sure to pour it before it starts to cool, so you get a smooth looking salve.
You can use this salve both morning and evening on clean skin. Use after you have layered all your thin serums and oil blends, as the salve is thicker than them. This salve will not only moisturize and refresh your skin — it also locks-in the goodness from your previous skin care products!
Is Peppermint Oil Safe?
Peppermint oil has been in use for many years. Various studies focus on peppermint oil and its effects. However, it is best to practice caution in using any essential oils.
With all essential oils, you must dilute peppermint oil in a carrier oil. Even if you are welcoming this minty oil with open arms into your routine, you must still dilute essential oils! Here is a guide on how to adequately dilute your essential oils.
Always perform a patch test when using new oils. Dilute a small amount of the EO in a carrier oil and place a drop of it on the inner area of your elbow. Leave it on for 24 hours and observe the skin for any reactions.
For safety purposes, it is not advised for pregnant and breastfeeding women to use essential oils without consulting medical professionals.
For children and the elderly, it is highly advised to contact your physician or doctor before using oils. Self-treatment of chronic diseases by applying peppermint oil may also hold serious consequences without professional advice.
How to Choose Peppermint Oil
As with all essential oils, remember not to buy peppermint oil from food stores. Apart from these reminders, here are the things you should look for when choosing your fresh and crisp, menthol oil:
- 100% essential oil
- Therapeutic grade
Peppermint is more than just an after-dinner mint. There are so many uses you can get from the oil of this herb, ranging from medicinal to cosmetic purposes.
Surely no one is too cool for this cool oil. The various benefits we can obtain from peppermint oil are hard to pass up! You can enjoy the cooling feeling and fresh minty scent while acquiring the numerous skin benefits this oil has to offer.
If we observe proper caution and utilization with this oil, we are sure to be a step closer to the wondrous skin of our dreams!
Thank you for reading the post!
Have you used peppermint oil before? What do you like best about it? Got any DIY recipes with this oil? Share in the comments below!
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