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Candy canes, hot chocolate… we often think of peppermint as a wintertime flavor.
But when it comes to enjoying the outdoors this summer, the essential oil of the peppermint leaf can’t be beat for keeping you energized, comfortable and healthy.
Peppermint is actually a hybrid of two other species, spearmint and water mint. The essential oil has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient Egypt and Greece. It’s also an important ingredient in Japanese and Chinese folk medicine.
And it’s no wonder. Not only does it smell wonderful, but it can be used both topically and internally for relief of symptoms ranging from allergies to hair thinning, to colds and flu.
Stay healthy with peppermint oil
Here are 7 ways peppermint oil can help you stay healthy this summer and get the most out of all the activities you have planned…
1. Relieve muscle and joint pain.
If you overdo the exercise, turn to peppermint oil to soothe sore muscles. It’s even been shown to relieve the pain of fibromyalgia.
Peppermint improves circulation. After a day of garden work or hiking, add a few drops to a warm bath along with muscle-relaxing lavender oil. You and your muscles will be relaxed in no time!
2. Helps control allergy symptoms.
Nothing can ruin a day outdoors like seasonal allergies.
Not only does peppermint oil relax the muscles in the nasal passage and encourage sinus drainage, it’s an expectorant as well. Studies have shown that peppermint is highly effective at treating chronic allergic rhinitis (basically, that swollen-membrane, drippy-nose thing that allergy sufferers are all too familiar with).
3. Boosts energy.
Want an alternative to all those caffeine-loaded energy drinks? Rub some peppermint oil on your temple or drink a glass of water with 1-2 drops of peppermint oil.
Peppermint oil also helps with concentration and focus, in case you need to do some studying or reading in between all that summer fun!
4. Relieves itching.
In a triple-blind clinical study involving 96 women suffering with pruritis (a condition suffered by many pregnant women involving itching that can’t be relieved), peppermint oil brought significant relief.
A few drops of peppermint oil can soothe dry, irritated skin. Use caution, though, if your skin tends toward sensitivity. Combine the oil with a carrier oil like coconut or almond oil.
5. Repels bugs.
We really need alternatives to commercial insect repellents that are full of DEET and other poisonous chemicals.
Peppermint oil is among the most effective natural insect repellents available, along with a few other essential oils. Ants, spiders and possibly even lice hate the smell of peppermint!
6. Controls nausea.
If you suffer with motion sickness, be sure to bring some peppermint oil along on your next car trip.
Inhaling the oil, rubbing it on the temples or drinking a glass of water with 1-2 drops of the oil can relieve nausea. It’s even been shown to do so for post-operative patients who are nauseous due to anesthesia drugs.
7. Sunburn relief.
Spraying peppermint oil on sunburned skin can feel heavenly. It cools, soothes and relieves inflammation.
It’s inadvisable to use peppermint oil on babies, since it could irritate their skin. Although not usual, adults can also have an allergic skin reaction. Use it moderately until you’re sure this is not the case.
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- The effect of peppermint oil on symptomatic treatment of pruritus in pregnant women — Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research
- Inhaled peppermint oil for postop nausea in patients undergoing cardiac surgery — Nursing
- Bioefficacy of Mentha piperita essential oil against dengue fever mosquito Aedes aegypti L — Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine
- Instant effects of peppermint essential oil on the physiological parameters and exercise performance — Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine