The sharp, sweet scent of peppermint essential oil is a favorite of many people. An herbal elixir made from the peppermint plant, peppermint oil is often associated with winter holidays. Strongly scented with a minty aroma, peppermint essential oil is a popular additive to lip balms, lotions, and many other personal care products.
Botanically named Mentha × piperita, peppermint essential oil is extracted through steam distillation. Also known as brandy mint or balm mint, peppermint is a member of the Labiatae family. It is a thin, clear-colored fluid with a slight yellow cast.
One of many calming essential oils, peppermint can be used for a number of purposes. Refreshing and cooling, peppermint has been used to help curb nausea, particularly if due to morning sickness during pregnancy. A physician, however, should be consulted prior to using any essential oil blends during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or childhood.
Many people use peppermint essential oil to help provide mental clarity and stimulation. Some claim that the sharp, menthol-scented oil can help increase one's mental agility and focus. It has also been used to help cool the skin, making it popular in products such as lotions, lip balms, astringents, and bath products. Peppermint oil in personal care products may also help in reducing irritation, redness, and itchiness of the skin, as well as sunburn.
Migraines and other headaches have been known to be alleviated with the scent of peppermint oil. Sinus issues, such as chest congestion, may also be treated through the aromatherapy remedy. Some people use balm mint essential oil to alleviate symptoms of a spastic colon or to stimulate their digestive systems. Other ailments the remedy has been associated with relieving include flatulence, colic, vertigo, fatigue, bronchitis, depression, and scabies.
Native to the Mediterranean region, peppermint is now grown in many areas of the world and peppermint oil is produced in Japan, Italy, the United States of America, and Great Britain. Use of the herb has been traced back to Egypt from 1,000 BC. Chemically, peppermint oil contains menthol, methyl acetate, 1,8-cineole, germacrene-d, pulegone, b-pinene, menthone, methofuran, limonene, trans-sabinene hydrate, a-pinene, and isomenthone.
People with fever, heart problems, and epilepsy should refrain from using peppermint essential oil. The liquid can cause mucus membrane irritation and should be kept away from the eyes. It can be toxic to the nervous system as well. When properly diluted with aromatherapy supplies, such as a carrier oil, the oil is typically nontoxic. A medical professional should be consulted prior to using this or any other types of essential oils.