Peppermint essential oil is minty and refreshing. It is generally considered to be an analgesic, antispasmodic, decongestant, expectorant, stimulant, vasoconstrictor, antiseptic and anesthetic. It is used in many natural remedies due to its amazing properties.
This fresh smelling oil is a hybrid of spearmint and watermint. It is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean, but most of the world’s peppermint in now grown in the United States. The leaves are richest in oil and are usually picked just before the plant flowers. The main active ingredient, menthol, creates the herb’s cooling effect. The essential oil is created by steam distillation of sprigs and leaves.
The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used it for stomach ailments and indigestion. It was also used to alleviate headaches and nervous disorders. There are references to peppermint by Pliny the Elder as early as 70 CE.
Peppermint oil is generally considered safe for topical and internal use. Undiluted essential oils can bother certain individuals with sensitive skin. It is best to dilute all essential oils before using them. You can also dab the oil on a localized area to see if there is a reaction. Peppermint oil is often used with lavender, lemon, rosemary and tea tree oils for combined benefit.
Peppermint oil is used topically, as a supplement, in food and around the home. When we hear about housecleaning with essential oils, peppermint is the one at the top of the list. It is preferred as it has a wonderful smell as well as cleaning and antimicrobial properties.
Topical Uses for Peppermint
Peppermint essential oil has a wide array of uses in the body care and beauty world. A popular choice for items like soap, toothpaste and shampoos. This oil stimulates the scalp, reduces hair loss and treats dandruff. It also helps invigorate and enliven the senses.
It has amazing properties to help freshen breath. If you have rashes or irritated skin it is cooling and soothing. It is used in foot creams to revive tired feet by stimulating circulation. It is also great for sunburns.
Peppermint in Food
Peppermint is used in desserts, pairing well with coffee, chocolate and fruits. Jams and sauces made from peppermint leaves go well with meats. Many cultures use it fresh in salads like tabbouleh. It is used as a flavoring agent in gum, candies and even cigarettes. It is also available as a tea. The herb itself can be purchased dried or fresh.
Health Benefits of Peppermint
Peppermint oil is commonly used as a pain reliever and for headaches. It also calms smooth muscles, which is why it is wonderful for digestion. It is particularly helpful for irritable bowel syndrome. For those that suffer from gas or nausea, peppermint is often a go-to supplement.
Almost all lozenges contain peppermint oil to reduce congestion. It is also found in natural remedies for colds and coughs. It opens then nasal passages, reduces cough spasms and is an effective natural expectorant. A chest rub can be made with peppermint oil and beeswax or coconut oil.
Peppermint Essential Oil in the Home
Many of us are looking for more natural remedies to use around the house. Peppermint oil has many applications including pest deterrent, surface cleaner and air freshener. It is a prized essential oil for its use as an antiseptic because it helps reduce bacteria, fungus and microorganisms. This makes it the perfect essential oil to add to the green cleaning products that you use in your home.
A Natural Pest Deterrent
Peppermint essential oil is a great mouse deterrent. Just place a few drops of the essential oil on cotton balls and distribute in areas that you have seen mice. Other animals like raccoons are also discouraged by peppermint. It is also a great bug deterrent. Ticks, ants, spiders, cockroaches and lice all run the other direction when they smell peppermint. It is often added to bug repellents with citronella and lemongrass oils.
A Surface Cleaner
You can make your own surface spray, perfect for house cleaning with essential oils. Put a few drops of peppermint oil and either tea tree or lavender oil in a spray bottle. Add water and vinegar and spritz.
Peppermint oil can be used to make floor cleaners, counter cleaners and even toilet cleaners. For a great toilet cleaner, mix baking soda, peppermint oil and a little water together to form a paste. Just scrub your toilet bowl with the paste and you will have a clean, fresh toilet.
A Chemical Free Air Freshener
To freshen the home, it can be used in a diffuser. Or, make your own room spray with peppermint and orange oil. You can also put a few drops in the base of your trash can or down the drain to freshen those challenging places. For a carpet freshener, use the same baking soda and peppermint combination as above, but leave out the water, and sprinkle over the carpet. Let it sit 15 to 20 minutes and then vacuum.
Housecleaning with essential oils is one way to incorporate green cleaning into your home. All the wonderful properties and benefits of essential oils make them just as effective as chemical cleaners. However, they are a safer and more natural alternative. Peppermint essential oil will not only clean your home, but leave it smelling great.