4 Amazing Health Benefits of Peppermint Oil
If you’ve been reading or following Health As It Ought To Be for any amount of time, you know I’m a firm believer both plants and food are some of the greatest “medicines” in the world.
Of course, I believe pharmaceuticals are of great benefit to us. I’d be crazy to say they weren’t.
That’s especially true of conditions and diseases which are complicated and require specific treatment and care…
But I also think the consistent use of plant-based treatments are definitely worth knowing.
One of the the most powerful plants/herbs in the world is peppermint.
That’s one of the reasons you see it used so frequently in products like toothpaste, gum, shampoo and other health and beauty products.
The truth is, peppermint (or mint) possesses incredible qualities which makes me confident in recommending it as a superior alternative form of treatment or therapy.
Below, I’ll outline what I consider to be some of the best uses and then let you determine what you’re going to use it for.
4 Awesome Reasons to Start Using Peppermint Oil For Better Health
1 – It’s got killer antibacterial properties: In my opinion, this is certainly one of the best reasons to keep this incredible oil around.
While mint smells nice, the scent of this powerful herb is really just a bonus.
Granted, if you want to use it make yourself smell better, I’m not going to argue against it. Plenty of people do.
But, if you do, expect dangerous bacteria to run away from you like the plague… I mean run away from you like you’re out to end their lives…
That wonderful scent produced by mint is actually an indication the plant contains some serious disease and bacteria fighting properties. Tests have shown peppermint oil is helpful at fighting the following harmful bacteria, Salmonella enteritidis, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Helicobacter pylori, and Escherichia coli O157:H7,
In an in vitro study published in 2001 in “Microbios”, researchers found that peppermint essential oils inhibited the growth of many common bacterial pathogens, including E. coli, H. pylori, S. aureus, salmonella and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. They concluded that peppermint oil showed potential as an antibacterial agent. In a study published in 2002 in “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry”, researchers found that the menthol in peppermint oil inhibited fungal microorganisms.
Again, this is why you see peppermint in so many toothpastes and mouthwash as well as soaps etc.
Truthfully, the menthol in peppermint is probably its most prized chemical compound.
And with menthol as mint’s primary chemical powerhouse you’ll be able to treat a wide variety or irritatingly common conditions.
Like this next one.
2 – It can soothe your stomach: Menthol again is one of the primary reasons mint can be used to help soothe an upset stomach.
You’ve probably heard from a few grandmother’s that mint tea is great for an upset stomach.
Well, it looks like their wisdom is more than just a grandmother’s intuition.
There have been a plethora of trials focused on determining peppermint oil’s ability to help with an upset stomach. And these studies have all shown mint is a wonderful plant-based treatment for things like colonic spasms, dyspepsia, IBS, and in some cases, indigestion.
The way this works is peppermint’s menthol is believed to help relax smooth muscles associated with the digestive system. This would include many parts of the digestive tract, colon, stomach, etc.
The relaxing nature of peppermint oil can set a twisted tummy right in a matter of minutes.
However, it’s important to note the verdict on mint’s ability to treat indigestion is mixed.
“Dr. Gerald Ashton Isenberg, who works in the gastroenterology department at UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, told AOL Health. ‘Mint increases the chance of acid reflux because it relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle that is located at the end of the esophagus, allowing acid from the stomach to back up into the food pipe,’ he explained. Keep in mind this holds true for anything that contains mint, such as peppermint tea and even peppermint gum and breath mints.”
At the end of the day, we know menthol has an antispasmodic affect on muscles, so it’s important to realize you can depend on mint to treat an upset stomach before you turn to over-the-counter treatments.
3 – It’ll help you breathe easier: This powerful herb is also a key component in staying congestion-free.
You’re probably familiar with menthol-based products like Vick's Menthol Vapor Rub. Well, the primary agent behind that medicine, as you can guess, is menthol, and it’s chemically similar to the menthol you’d find in mint.
The other component that helps out with opening airways is called rosmarinic acid.
Rosmarininc acid has anti-inflammatory properties as it’s helpful in blocking chemicals called leukotrienes which promote inflammation. By fighting inflammation, it can help keep airways open and unobstructed.
Additionally, it helps cells produce substances called prostacyclins which help keep airways open and promote better breathing.
Lastly, it even works to clear airways when inhaled, as the menthol will both relax airways and seek and kill certain bacteria responsible for things like sinus infections.
This is why so many people who have asthma and other breathing trouble have started putting peppermint oil in essential oil diffusers while they sleep at night.
And speaking of trouble sleeping…if you’ve ever had a knock-out headache you’ll love this next application for mint.
4 – Use it to fight bad headaches: As you learned above, peppermint oil has antispasmodic effects.
Far and away one of the most common kinds of headaches experienced by Americans are tension headaches. In most cases, these are caused by muscle spasms in both the head and neck.
Peppermint oil, when applied locally to the affected areas, has the ability to help relax the muscles locked in a state of tension and can help release them, producing relief.
There’s also evidence peppermint oil, when combined with ethanol (grain alcohol), will also produce relief from headaches.
Dr. David Williams writes:
Researchers at the University of Kiel in Germany studied the use of peppermint oil and ethanol (alcohol) in the treatment of headaches, and the mixture appears to be an inexpensive and effective treatment for headache pain.
Thirty-two patients took part in the double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study. Dabbing a mixture of peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, and alcohol onto the participants’ foreheads and temples brought about mental and physical relaxation. This mixture, however, wasn’t effective at reducing headache pain. But when only peppermint oil and alcohol were used, the participants noticed an almost immediate reduction in headache pain.
One thing to note about using peppermint oil for the treatment of headaches is that the potency of this powerful oil can cause irritation to the skin.
It’s always recommended you thin the peppermint oil out with water or another substance before application because the last thing you want is to experience an unpleasant burning because you put undiluted oil on your skin.
Curious about other uses for peppermint oil?
Check out this video below from my colleague, Dr. Axe.