According to Greek mythology, the name Mentha is derived Minthe, a nymph loved by the God Hades and transformed into a ground-clinging plant by Persephone, in a fit of jealousy
This plant that belongs to the Labiate family, genus Mentha, is native to the Mediterranean, but over the centuries its cultivation has spread all over the world. It includes many spontaneous and cultivated species, the most common and widely used being peppermint (mentha piperita), which originated in England in the late 1770s, probably due to accidental hybridization.
The substance extracted from the essential oil of peppermint stems and leaves is known as menthol, a type of alcohol discovered in Japan more than 2000 years ago and widely used in perfumery and medicine products.
Peppermint oil medicinal, aromatic, cosmetic and culinary properties have been known for more 5000 years and its qualities have made of it a staple of the pharmaceutical industry.
The peppermint essence has refreshing and regenerating properties and can be used to improve concentration and stimulate mind during work. It also helps increase the resistance power against stress and different environmental and atmospheric conditions and acts as an efficient air purifier for cigarette smoke. The strong scent of peppermint oil keeps mosquitoes and flies away.
2. Respiratory Problems
Menthol is a powerful agent that helps in cleaning our respiratory tract and in relieving nasal congestion. It is effective in suppressing coughing and in disinfecting the oral cavity. It also assists in treating fever and sinusitis problems.
HOW TO USE: To treat sinusitis, nasal congestion and bronchitis, add 10 drops of peppermint oil to steaming water, drape a towel over your head and inhale deeply. You can also rub a few drops of oil (diluted with some other oil) on your chest and massage.
3. Gastrointestinal Problems
The peppermint essential oil has carminative (anti-spasmic), stomachic, and anti-nausea properties. It helps digest heavy meals and is useful in relieving nausea, cramps, colic symptoms, flatulence and alleviating spastic colon problems. Who suffers from kinetosis, also known as motion and travel sickness, should always have peppermint oil on hand.
HOW TO USE: To ease nausea or travel sickness, pour a few drops of peppermint oil on a handkerchief and inhale. In case of flatulence or difficult digestion, add one drop of the essential oil to a glass of water and sip slowly.
4. Analgesic Properties
For its beneficial analgesic properties, aromatherapists suggest using peppermint oil as a substitute for aspirin. It is, in fact, very helpful in soothing different types of headaches and in reducing toothache and rheumatic and muscular pains. Its refreshing and calming effects are very good in relieving leg swelling and leg pain.
HOW TO USE: Massage your legs with a few drops peppermint oil, diluted in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or mixed with alcohol. To relieve headaches, combine 2 drops of peppermint oil with 1 teaspoon of almond oil and massage into the forehead, temples and the base of the neck.
5. Antiseptic and Anti-inflammatory Properties
It is very useful in healing and disinfecting minor wounds, scrapes, cuts and cold sores and it efficiently fights halitosis (bad breath).
Correct Use of Peppermint Oil
Before using peppermint oil, make sure to inform yourself about its usage and take adequate precautions. Carefully respect the doses. Never use pure peppermint oil on your skin, but always diluted with some other vegetable oil. Inform yourself about its use in conjunction with other natural remedies, for it may interact with them and cause unwanted effects.
All of the benefits of the peppermint oil considered, everybody should have a small bottle of this oil at home! Its many benefits can be very useful in small everyday life accidents, as well as in treating more serious problems. Have you ever tried it?
Let us know about your favorite use of the peppermint oil, and please, share it with other people in the comment section below.