The oil is extracted from the flowering herb by means of steam distillation with menthol and menthane being the main constituents. This yields a pale yellow or greenish liquid which has antiseptic, decongestant, digestive, antispasmodic and carminative properties.
Peppermint is non-toxic and the topical application of the oil is generally safe. However, due to the high menthol content, some people with sensitive skin may experience a burning sensation or allergic reaction so it is advised to dilute with a carrier oil such as almond or coconut oil. You should also avoid using peppermint oil on very young children; instead you could use spearmint oil as the effects are less powerful.
Here are five ways you can use peppermint oil to support your health:
Digestion: If you suffer with stomach cramps, gas or bloating try diluting a few drops of peppermint oil in a carrier oil and gently massaging into your abdomen. Circular, clock-wise motion (click here for a guide to abdominal massage) .
Nausea & sickness (including motion sickness): Rub a drop of oil between your hands and then cup your hands over your face to inhale. Alternatively rub a drop of oil onto your wrists or behind your ears.
Headache relief: Peppermint oil is great to keep in your bag or desk drawer if you are prone to headaches. Dilute a drop of essential oil into a small amount of carrier oil and apply to the temples, forehead, over the sinuses (avoid the eyes) or on the back of the neck. When applied topically peppermint leaves a very pleasant cooling sensation.
Cold/congestion: Peppermint can provide relief for many respiratory issues such as asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis and coughs.
* dilute a couple of drops into a carrier oil and massage onto your chest
* If you have a head cold, pour boiling water into a glass bowl and add a few drops of peppermint oil. Drape a large towel over your head, sit with your face about 30cm above the bowl and inhale the steam.
Muscle soreness: Because peppermint has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, it can really help relieve muscle pain and calm the spasms that cause muscle cramps. This includes muscle pain caused by fibromyalgia, arthritis, or chronic fatigue. Dilute a few drops of oil (a mix of peppermint and lavender works really well) into a carrier oil and massage onto the affected area.
I’d love to hear how you use peppermint oil to support your life.