There are so many reasons for using peppermint oil! If I could only have two essential oils, I would choose lavender and peppermint. Let me explain why mint oil is indispensable for use around the home and whilst travelling. I always use 100% pure mentha piperita essential oil, which is also the easiest type to find.
Aches and pains
This is my number one ‘pain’ oil! Whenever I’ve hurt myself or have sore muscles from exercising, I reach for peppermint before painkillers. I usually squeeze a little body lotion or moisturiser (preferably unscented) into my palm and mix a single drop of essential oil into it. A quick massage is all it takes to remove the pain. One of my children gets leg cramps at night and this works really quickly and effectively. I always use peppermint oil after I’ve done a lot of walking or running; it prevents the muscles from seizing up and becoming painful. It’s also great for your feet if you’ve been wearing uncomfortable shoes all day!
Rubbing it around the head, neck and ears relieves headaches, sore throats and toothaches. Just remember to avoid the eyes and other sensitive areas.
Peppermint has been used for centuries to aid digestion. Nicholas Culpepper, a famous botanist, herbalist and physician, wrote about using mint to dissolve wind and help with colic. It is also effective for diarrhoea and vomiting. If I have an upset stomach, I sip a mug of peppermint tea and rub the diluted essential oil directly onto my abdomen. It works because it suppresses the muscle spasms which cause cramping. Next time you look in your medicine cabinet or scan the chemist’s aisles, you’ll see that most pharmaceutical indigestion remedies actually contain mint. A few years ago I was given peppermint extract in hospital after an appendicectomy to stimulate my digestion. This surprised me at the time as I didn’t realise it was a ‘mainstream’ treatment. (WARNING: Do not drink essential oil, the hospital gave me a much milder extract.)
Annoying coughs and colds can be soothed by inhaling peppermint oil. When you’re out and about, a drop on a tissue can be used, or if you have a really stuffy head cold, you can clear the sinuses and loosen catarrh with a steam inhalation (where you lean over a bowl of hot water with a drop of oil and a towel over the back of your head). According to Julia Lawless‘s encyclopedia of essential oils, it can even be used for asthma, although please check with your doctor first as I’ve never personally tried this.
Most mouthwashes and toothpastes contain mint because it kills bacteria and the menthol component freshens the breath effectively. For toothaches, holding a clove on the tooth is an old remedy to relieve pain, but it may be more pleasant to massage the jaw with some diluted mint oil. For mouth ulcers, try adding a drop to a large glass of saltwater and using it as a mouthwash. The analgesic properties can alleviate the pain.
This is a great little oil to take on holiday with you! It can be used to repel insect bites and inhaled to prevent travel sickness and dizziness. It will invigorate and revive you after a long day of travelling and hauling luggage around. It’s also lovely diffused into your hotel room to take away stale odours: just add some to a spray bottle of water, shake well and spritz around the room. It can also awaken you if you are having trouble adjusting to time zone changes; use it in the daytime and then swap to lavender at night.
If you have a lot on your mind and you’re feeling overwhelmed with stress, mint helps to clear your mind and refresh you. Take a few moments to breathe in some of the oil: I usually smear a little onto my palm, rub my hands together and then cup them around my mouth and nose to create a little inhaler. The invigorating properties will get me going again in no time!
Your turn to try it!
This oil is super versatile and has so many benefits. It helps with pain, digestion, oral health, respiratory problems, travel and stress. Have you tried it before? Let me know in the comments if you have found any other uses for it! Be sure to use pure essential oil and dilute it with a lotion or plain base oil, such as sunflower oil. You can even make an essential oil balm so that you always have something ready to use. Please read my DIY Essential Oil Balm Recipe. I hope you love using it as much as I do!