Peppermint (botanical name Mentha piperita) belongs to the mint family. This plant family comprises numerous plants and they have been used widely for several thousand years for the various health benefits offered by them. Currently, peppermint oil is used extensively in numerous commercial products, including toothpastes and massage oils. Peppermint oil contains menthol, which is widely used in decongestant inhalants and balms. Peppermint oil is valuable owing to its ability to promote the health of our skin as well as its anti-bacterial qualities.
The peppermint plant has its origin in Europe as well as North America. This plant grows up to a height of 3 feet and produces deep green leaves. Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians used the mint plants for their therapeutic properties. The leaves as well as the stems of Mentha piperita contain menthol, which is a very volatile oil. It has been proved that drinking peppermint tea alleviates upset stomach and promotes digestion. At the same time, this tea also provides relief from headaches.
It has also been found that peppermint essential oil is extremely beneficial for the health of our hair, because its application has a cooling effect on the head. At the same time, topical application of peppermint oil also helps to eliminate dandruff and lice. Peppermint oil possesses antiseptic, stimulating and regenerative properties. In other words, peppermint essential oil possesses the aptitude to provide relief from dry skin and irritation of the scalp; promote hair growth, especially for people with baldness; and makes the hair look a relatively healthy, glossy and fresh.
These days, several hair care products contain peppermint essential oil as an active ingredient. It is also found in many alternative solutions meant for treating dandruff, baldness and other problems related to the hair. Applying products containing peppermint oil helps to promote blood circulation to the scalp and also stimulates growth of new, healthy hair.
It is recommended that you add two to three drops of peppermint oil to your favourite morning shampoo and hair conditioner with a view to invigorate the scalp, rejuvenate the mind and wake up in the real sense.
As discussed above, peppermint essential oil encloses menthol, which is beneficial for the health of our skin as it has a cooling effect. Moreover, peppermint oil provides nourishment to dull skin, while improving the texture of greasy or oily skin.
Many are of the view that peppermint essential oil is effective for treating tuberculosis and even cancer. However, further studies are required to ascertain these therapeutic properties of peppermint oil. Moreover, a number of preliminary studies have been undertaken to examine the antiviral properties of peppermint oil and the possibilities of using this essential oil for treating herpes infection and its frequent occurrences.
Peppermint oil mixes readily with a variety of essential oils, counting lemon, rosemary, eucalyptus, marjoram and many others. This is one reason why several practitioners of aromatherapy and herbal medicine use this oil in their aromatic or medicinal combinations.
Many studies have been undertaken to ascertain the antifungal qualities of peppermint essential oil and considerable research has shown that topical application of peppermint oil may possibly reduce the risks of developing fungal infections on the nails, which is a common problem throughout the world.
Peppermint essential oil is also an excellent insect repellent. Aside from ticks, which hate the smell of this oil, several other insects and pests, including mosquitoes, ants, cockroaches, spiders and mice are repelled by this natural oil. In fact, this oil is also effective for eliminating lice.
When applied to the skin, peppermint essential oil creates a somewhat numbing effect. This is the main reason why this oil is useful for lessening and sometimes even alleviating skin inflammations and irritation, irrespective of whether these are attributed to insect bites, poison ivy or any other toxic plant. Generally, peppermint oil is not applied directly to the skin. This is mainly because, similar to any other essential oils, peppermint oil is also extremely concentrated and may damage the skin. Therefore, it needs to be always diluted using any suitable carrier oil before use. Before applying peppermint oil to your skin, ensure that its concentration is not higher than 3 to 5 percent. Creams and lotions containing peppermint essential oil can be used as many as four times daily without any adverse effect.