When in Doubt, Put Peppermint Oil on it

Are you familiar with the dad in My Fat Greek Wedding who believes Windex cures everything? That’s kind of like me and my relationship with peppermint oil.  If there’s anything else that I believe in other than tea, it’s peppermint oil. I use it to treat several mind or body issues.

Releases tight muscles

Using peppermint oil over tight muscles can help loosen them up. My problem area is usually my left shoulder. I find tightness and knots whenever I’m under a lot of stress. A couple drops of peppermint oil and a few minutes of massaging over the area makes a huge difference. The menthol gives a tingly sensation on the skin and relaxes the muscles. Those who experience joint pain can use this same method for relief. Essentially, it becomes a natural painkiller. The sensation can be more overwhelming for some people. If it is for you, dilute the oil in water before applying to your skin.

Soothes digestive problems

Whether it is indigestion, upset stomach, or diarrhea, massaging peppermint oil over your stomach can help soothe the muscles in your gastrointestinal tract. Some people suggest taking it orally, which personally I have never done, but others have found effective. Rubbing the oil over my stomach and abdomen has always been worked just fine for me.

Relieves headaches

Use 2-3 drops of peppermint oil and rub onto your temples and forehead. Avoid contact with eyes. The menthol may sting your eyes, so take a few minutes to keep your eyes closed while applying the oil. The cooling sensation is magical!

Aids colds and congestion

Recently, my roommate had a bad cold. Her congestion kept her up all night and she was popping cough drops like potato chips. I never thought to use peppermint oil for colds, but after experimentation, we found that peppermint successfully relieved my roommate’s cold symptoms. A couple drops of peppermint oil under her nose, she could breathe more easily. Other online resources and testimonials suggest rubbing peppermint oil on your chest helps colds, congestion, and respiratory issues.

Aromatherapy

The scent of peppermint is clean, crisp, and refreshing. You can use an essential oil diffuser or humidifier, or inhale straight from the bottle. I personally find either method useful. Inhaling peppermint oil can help reduce stress and fatigue, improve energy and alertness, and boost your mood. I like to use peppermint oil for aromatherapy in the evening while I prepare to go to bed. It helps me decompress at the end of a long day and get a better night’s rest.

While I use it externally, many people like to consume it. Please stop use if you experience any skin irritation or extreme burning sensation. If you are planning to use peppermint oil for consumption, be sure the brand you purchase is edible.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner.  The information I provide is based on advice I’ve taken from research and friends and my personal experiences. Please use your discretion when taking any recommendations I make or discuss them with your doctor.

FEATURED PHOTO BY KATE JOHNSON, FLICKR
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