Peppermint, which is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint, is an herb native to Europe. The herb has been traditionally used for medicinal purposes all throughout the world. In fact, peppermint holds the prestigious title as the oldest medicinal herb. Peppermint provides a list of benefits for a sound mind and body. It exhibits antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and analgesic properties. Likewise, it contains a wealth of nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, copper, and iron to name a few. Most importantly, peppermint contains menthol, the active compound that provides the herb its cooling effects.
Nowadays, peppermint leaves are steam distilled to produce peppermint oil. Peppermint oil, which is derived from the peppermint leaves, contains high concentrations of the health-benefiting menthol. Inhaling the vapors of peppermint alone can stimulate the mind for improved memory, focus, and overall mental performance. That is why manufacturers started to employ peppermint in food and cosmetic applications.
Nutrition Info (per 100 g)
Carbohydrates 14.9 g
Dietary Fiber 8g – 32% RDA
Protein 3.7 g – 7% RDA
Vitamin A 4247 IU – 85% RDA
Vitamin C 31.8 mg – 53% RDA
Thiamin 0.1 mg – 5% RDA
Riboflavin 0.3 mg – 16% RDA
Niacin 1.7 mg – 9% RDA
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg – 6% RDA
Folate 114 mcg – 29% RDA
Pantothenic acid 0.3 mg – 3% RDA
Calcium 243 mg – 24% RDA
Iron 5.1 mg – 28% RDA
Magnesium 80 mg – 20% RDA
Phosphorus 73 mg – 7% RDA
Potassium 569 mg – 16% RDA
Sodium 31 mg – 1% RDA
Zinc 1.1 mg – 7% RDA
Copper 0.3 mg – 16% RDA
Manganese 1.2 mg – 59% RDA
13 Surprising Benefits of Peppermint Oil
1. Improves Digestive Health
Drinking fluids with a few drops of peppermint oil everyday provides a number of digestive benefits, especially for patients with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. In fact, it has become a common strategy used in conjunction with many prescription drugs due to its efficacy. Taken in medical quantities, peppermint oil can ease IBS symptoms and improve one’s quality of life.
In addition, peppermint oil exhibits carminative effects and thereby helps in eliminating excess gas. Likewise, peppermint oil relaxes the muscles of the stomach and intestines, making it the perfect alternative to the prescription drug hyoscine butylbromide (known widely as Buscopan). Adding at least a drop or two of peppermint oil to your water or beverage of choice before each meal can help prevent spasms and bloating.
2. Freshens Breath and Reduce Tooth Decay
Before the invention of the toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash, people relied on peppermint to clean their teeth and to freshen their breath. Nonetheless, this is not just a one-thousand-year-old theory. Recent studies have noted peppermint oil’s superior ability in reducing plaque, tooth decay, gingivitis, and halitosis compared to common mouthwash chemicals such as chlorhexidine. Peppermint oil exhibits natural antiseptic properties, which makes it effective. Though many cosmetic manufacturers integrate peppermint oil with their products, peppermint oil alone carries no side effects. Commercial mouthwashes contain alcohol that may sting the mouth and leave the mouth dry, which makes bad breath worse. Likewise, mouthwash ingredients include artificial flavors, fragrances, coloring, and preservatives that may cause an allergic reaction in some individuals.
3. Improves Circulation
According to studies, inhaling the cool and relaxing aroma of peppermint oil triggers the olfactory nerve endings; thereby, increasing pulse rate and blood circulation. This stimulating effect of peppermint oil increases metabolism, and assists in oxygenation of the brain and other body organs. Your skin can also benefit from increased blood circulation. Furthermore, increased blood circulation helps enhance cognitive functions, and helps prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia. Likewise, increased blood flow is beneficial for diabetic patients to prevent certain complications, such as peripheral neuropathy.
4. Nourishes Lips and Provides Relief to Burns
Peppermint oil nourishes and moisturizes chapped lips. Massaging your pout with a few drops of peppermint oil is helpful especially during hot weather. Likewise, it cools down the burning sensation caused by steam burns, scalds, and oven burns.
5. Provides Muscle and Joint Pain Relief
Peppermint oil is ideal for aromatic massage therapy. Apart from its cool and relaxing scent, peppermint oil features calcium channel blockers that help treat chronic pain. Peppermint oil is often referred as a ‘refrigerant’ since it provides a cold sensation when applied topically to the affected area. Likewise, the peppermint oil’s cooling effect is just as beneficial to rheumatoid disorders and other inflammatory conditions affecting muscle and connective tissue.
6. Peppermint Oil is a Decongestant
Peppermint oil contains abundant amounts of menthol. Inhaling the vapors of a peppermint oil steam can instantly open respiratory airways, unclog sinuses, and provide relief to dry throats. Likewise, peppermint oil is an expectorant and thus, provides immediate (though temporary) relief for a number of respiratory issues including the common cold.
Moreover, you can make homemade cold rubs using peppermint oil and coconut oil. Applying these rubs on your chest can also help minimize asthma and bronchitis symptoms. Peppermint oil also has anti-inflammatory effects that can soothe inflammation within the trachea.
7. Repels Disease-Carrying Insects
Peppermint oil helps lowers your risk of contracting diseases such as Malaria and Lyme disease. Malaria is a life threatening disease transmitted by infected female mosquitoes, while ticks spread Lyme disease. Lyme disease is often overlooked, but its complications can be fatal as well. Hence, it is best to apply an insect repellent every day to ward off such disease-carrying insects. Fortunately, peppermint oil serves as a natural insect repellant and is equally effective compared to chemical-based insect repellents. It can also repel ants, cockroaches, and lice. Many homes use ground peppermint leaves sprinkled around rooms to boost the potency of insect repellency.
8. Helps Teething and Colic
Peppermint oil is an ideal natural remedy to alleviate pain associated with teething in toddlers. Likewise, medical research has proven peppermint oil to be equally effective as Simethicone for addressing infantile colic without adverse effects linked to prescription drugs.
9. Soothes and Protects Skin
Peppermint oil also provides skin care benefits. The oil is abundant in menthol; hence, its cooling nature hydrates parched skin and soothes sunburn, psoriasis, and eczema. Peppermint oil also refreshes and brightens up tired, dull skin.
Likewise, peppermint oil exhibits antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial to acne-prone skin. It works by regulating sebum production; thereby, preventing clogged pores and the outbreak of pimples. Peppermint oil is also effective for managing the manifestations of contact dermatitis, such as that experienced via contact with poison ivy.
10. Provides Hair Benefits
You can reap a number of benefits with just a few drops of peppermint applied to your hair every day. Peppermint is a notable ingredient in shampoos, facial scrubs, and other beauty products because of the cooling sensation it provides. As previously mentioned, peppermint oil is rich in Menthol- beneficial in relieving dryness and itchiness caused by dandruff. Furthermore, peppermint oil promotes faster and thicker hair. Massaging your scalp with peppermint oil increases blood circulation to undernourished hair follicles; thus, promoting hair growth. Peppermint oil may even play a part in preventing lice infestations, as it exerts an inhibitory effect on their feeding patterns.
11. Helps Assist Weight Loss Management
Peppermint oil can help with weight loss management. Inhaling the cool, relaxing oil reduces food cravings and suppresses your appetite; hence, causing you to eat less. Likewise, the calming effects of peppermint oil prevent emotional eating. Binge eating is often a result of stress, anger, or depression.
12. Improves Mental Performance
Just a few sniffs of peppermint oil can help increase focus and efficiency. Its strong smell stimulates the limbic system and regulates the release of cortisol, which is a stress hormone that impairs optimal functioning of our brain.
13. Cures Headaches and Nausea
Peppermint oil is a safer and more effective alternative to over-the-counter drugs. Unlike analgesics that provide temporary relief from pain, what makes peppermint oil efficient against headaches is its ability to treat the root of the problem. Headaches are often caused by allergies, sinusitis, physical and mental exertion or stress. Fortunately, peppermint oil provides therapeutic effects that relieve stress and improves blood circulation, both of which are linked to headaches. Massaging peppermint oil on your temples and forehead also inhibits muscle contractions and leave a long-lasting cooling sensation.
Peppermint oil is more than just a flavoring agent in gums and candies. It provides a remarkable list of health and beauty benefits. No one can deny its effectiveness. Peppermint oil’s medicinal properties have been studied and proven by modern science. It is among the most efficient and cost-effective natural solutions to prescription drugs to date. Hence, there is no reason why anyone should not have peppermint oil in his cabinet at home.