The Peppermint plant is a hybrid of both water mint and spearmint. It is from this plant that we can get peppermint oil. The oil extracted from this plant has been in use for centuries due to its medicinal values and treatment for various illnesses such as headaches, digestive conditions, and colds.
However, scientists have only been able to carry out a small percentage of the plant concerning its effectiveness in treating illnesses. This article will look into the various uses of this plant and how one can fully benefit from its value.
Uses of peppermint oil
Peppermint oil has so many uses. Below, we have listed some benefits of using peppermint oil that are scientifically proven to be effective:
Reduces irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Scientific evidence has shown that enteric-coated peppermint oil that is diluted effectively reduces the effects caused by IBS. This chronic digestive condition is associated with constipation and abdominal pain, leading to frequent diarrhea. A 50-year scientific study found that enteric-coated peppermint drugs were safe and effective in treating IBS. According to research, the presence of menthol, which is a component of peppermint oil, is able to stop the movement of calcium along the intestinal membrane, thus reducing abdominal spasms.
Another research that was carried out in 2017 carried out a test to find out the effects of herbal medicine usage in children regarding gastrointestinal disorders. Fourteen randomized trials involving 1,927 participants were carried out. Within this review, two entirely focused on peppermint oil and IBS. It was found that there was no difference between those who got a placebo and those who got peppermint oil treatment.
However, research on abdominal pain proved that peppermint oil was more effective than placebo in reducing pain frequency, severity, and duration. Peppermint also did a better job reducing the amount of time and pain a patient experienced compared to probiotics.
Thanks to its analgesic properties, there are various advantages to the topical use of peppermint oil. Due to this, researchers have studied how this property can effectively reduce pain with regard to breastfeeding. The 2007 International Breastfeeding Journal established through research on 196 Iranian breastfeeding parents that peppermint water effectively prevented nipples from cracking.
An experimental research group used peppermint on their nipples for fourteen days after breastfeeding. Another control group used expressed breastmilk for the same duration of time after each feed. It was established that nipple cracks were less in number among the parents who applied peppermint water as compared to the control group (7% to 23%). In addition to this, none of the peppermint group members had severe cracks, while more than 15% of the control group had cracks.
Scientists have been forced to do more research on peppermint’s headache-relieving ability. It was later found that the herb has some analgesic properties that are good for reducing headaches.
Research was conducted in 2019 whereby the healing ability of peppermint oil on migraines was compared to that of intranasal lidocaine. The research was carried out on 120 Iranians, divided into three groups. Lidocaine group, placebo group, and the peppermint group.
Each group had two drops of the medication administered into their nose. They then gave back their feedback 15 minutes later. They were given a second dose that also lasted another 15 minutes. These patients were closely monitored by their physicians for two months.
It was later established that more than 40% of the lidocaine and peppermint group members had their headache effects drastically reduced. The group treated using placebo had a fair response to the medication.
Health benefits of peppermint tea
It makes your breath fresh. You may have noticed that peppermint is mostly used as a flavoring agent for chewing gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash. You guessed it right, it makes your breath fresher. The plant also contains antibacterial aspects that are good at fighting off germs responsible for dental plaque.
Despite there being no scientific evidence that drinking peppermint tea may lead to fresh breath, the compounds found in this plant help improve a person’s breath.
Scientific research conducted on patients who had undergone spinal surgery and were rinsed with tea tree, lemon, and peppermint had an improved breath compared to those who were not cleansed using the oils.
Peppermint is a good remedy for clogs due to its natural anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial ability. These abilities have made peppermint a good remedy for fighting off sinuses that infections, allergies, or colds may have caused.
Menthol, another element found in peppermint, improves airflow through your nasal cavity. Therefore, taking tea made of peppermint will highly increase airflow, making your breathing even easier.
It can be a good remedy for menstrual cramps
Peppermint’s ability to relax muscles makes it a good reliever for menstrual cramps. In recent research conducted on more than 130 women experiencing painful periods, capsules containing peppermint extracts drastically reduced the intensity and duration of the pain experienced.
Enhances the quality of sleep
Peppermint is a good choice before bed as it contains no caffeine. Research also shows that its ability to relax muscles makes it a sleep enhancer.
A study was carried out on 12 men, and it was found that they did exceptionally well on cognitive tests after using peppermint oil capsules. It was also established that smelling peppermint oil highly improved alertness.
How to make peppermint oil
Before commencing the DIY procedure of making peppermint oil, make sure you have the below ingredients.
• Fresh peppermint leaves
• Small bowl
• A jar with a lid
• Paper towels
There are various choices for you when you want to choose a carrier oil. However, the final choice will depend on what you go for. Using your regular house oil is another exceptional choice.
Step 1 Peppermint leaves
The first step for this DIY is obtaining mint leaves from the mother plant. You can get them straight from the garden if you grow them or from the nearest grocery store.
Step 2: Wash the leaves
Using a strainer, thoroughly wash the leaves and remove all the dirt. After you are satisfied with the cleanliness, dry the leaves on a clean paper towel.
Step 3: Crush the leaves
Thoroughly crush the leaves inside a mortar using the pestle. It is not a must for you to chop it into small pieces.
Step 4: Extract the oil
At this point, you will be able to extract all your oil. Put all the crushed mint leaves you crushed inside your collecting jar. The next step here is to cover all the crushed mint using the carrier oil of your choice. It is advisable to do this cautiously, as too much oil will dilute your extract. You should then cover the jar completely.
Step 5: Allow settling
You can let your jar sit undisturbed for 24 hours or more, depending on the level of potency you need.
Step 6: Strain
After giving your extract enough time to settle, you can strain the mint leaves. Put the extract in a separate jar.
Step 7: Repeat
You can then repeat the entire process using fresh leaves and cover your jar. Allow the oil to mix well with the newly added leaves and let it settle for 24 hours before extracting. If you want your oil to be more concentrated, you can let it settle for a much longer period.
Step 8: Ready for use
Your homemade peppermint is now ready for use. You can store the remaining oil in a well-sealed bottle in a dark place.
It is good to note that despite the oil being homemade, it is good to dilute it using a carrier oil if it is meant for topical use. Never use essential oil directly on your skin in its concentrated form as it may lead to skin irritation.
How to use peppermint oil
The uses of peppermint oil range from household use to health remedies. However, before trying any homemade remedy on your skin, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Below are some great ways to use your homemade peppermint oil more effectively.
• When mixed with white vinegar, you can use it as a natural disinfectant. You can then spray it on your bathroom or kitchen counters for exceptional results.
• Peppermint oil can also be used as a scalp cleanser due to its antimicrobial properties.
• Apart from being an excellent scalp cleanser, it is also a good hair growth stimulator when combined with shampoo.
• It effectively reduced discomfort caused by sunburn when mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the affected area. You can also use aloe vera gel for a more cooling effect.
• Use it inside a diffuser to create a refreshing aroma that highly boosts your mood.
• You can also make a DIY vapor rub when you mix it with a carrier oil. You can then rub it on your chest using a cotton ball. The naturally found peppermint will clear your sinuses and suppress coughs.
• Use peppermint oil with a carrier oil on the sides of your temple as it is a good reliever of headaches.
• Mix peppermint oil with Epsom salts and baking soda, then use it as a foot bath.
• Peppermint oil is a good remedy for the skincare routine. The essential oil fights acne, unplugs pores, and cleans and rejuvenates the skin. Remember to properly dilute it with a carrier oil before use.
Peppermint health benefits
Peppermint is associated with several health benefits. Health researchers found the use of peppermint can be effective in alleviating:
• Pain in the muscles or nerves.
• Menstruation pain
• A mosquito repellant
• Allergic rash
• Inflammation of the internal mouthparts and throat
• Morning sickness
Peppermint is a popular herb due to its refreshing aroma and many benefits such as for muscles/joints, headaches, increased energy levels and boosting the immune system. To experience these benefits from this powerful essential oil, you should know how long it has been distilled under controlled lab conditions (before using). Peppermint is considered therapeutic grade due to its low solubility, which means less chemical degradation when extracting peppermint essential oil. This essential oil is easily diluted, which makes it easier to use. Other than that, do not overuse peppermint as you may end up having adverse effects on your health if used regularly without a doctor’s supervision and advice. So, with all these benefits, we definitely see why peppermint has been labeled one of the “super herbs.”