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Peppermint Oil

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Peppermint Leaves
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Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
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Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
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Peppermint Tea

Peppermint Oil

The medicinal herb Peppermint Oil as an alternative herbal remedy - The herb Peppermint is often used to flavor foods, and the leaves can be used fresh or dried in teas.Common Names--peppermint oil

Latin Names--Mentha x piperita

Herbal Remedy Products with Peppermint as part of the ingredients

DigestAssist.jpg
  • DigestAssist™ - Promotes healthy digestion and comfort after meals
    • Supports digestive comfort after meals
    • Helps occasional indigestion
    • Provides on-the-spot support for healthy digestion

What Peppermint oil Is Used For

  • Peppermint oil has been used for a variety of health conditions, including nausea, indigestion, and cold symptoms.
  • Peppermint oil is also used for headaches, muscle and nerve pain, and stomach and bowel conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.

How Peppermint oil Is Used

  • Essential oil of peppermint can be taken in very small doses in capsule or liquid forms. The essential oil can also be diluted with another oil and applied to the skin.
Herbal remedies in zamboanga.PNG

What the Science Says about Peppermint oil

  • Results from several studies suggest that peppermint oil may improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
  • A few studies have found that peppermint oil, in combination with caraway oil, may help relieve indigestion, but this evidence is preliminary. *Although there are some promising results, there is no clear-cut evidence to support the use of peppermint oil for other health conditions.

Side Effects and Cautions of Peppermint oil

  • Peppermint oil appears to be safe for most adults when used in small doses. Possible side effects include allergic reactions and heartburn.
  • Capsules containing peppermint oil are often coated to reduce the likelihood of heartburn. If they are taken at the same time as medicines such as antacids, this coating can break down more quickly and increase the risk of heartburn and nausea.
  • Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

News About Peppermint

What Are the Benefits of Peppermint Oil for Hair?

By Dan Ketchum

Packed with menthol, peppermint oil adds a tingly punch to many off-the-shelf beauty products ranging from shampoo to toothpaste. However, this age-old topical treatment isn't just there for its refreshing sensation and wintry scent; beauty practitioners agree that peppermint oil packs coif-friendly benefits ranging from hair hydration to follicle stimulation.

Moisturizing Menthol

Topically applied peppermint oil serves as a lightweight moisturizer, particularly for those with scalp problems. As an astringent, this treatment helps normalize oily scalps. Its pH-balancing qualities also make it useful as a dry-scalp treatment. Peppermint oil's hydrating properties help reduce hair frizz, bestowing locks with a bit of gloss. As a light oil, this home remedy moisturizes without leaving a greasy residue.

Potential for Growth

One of peppermint oil's most well-known beauty applications is its use as a do-it-yourself hair-growth aid. Although no scientific studies back up the theory, beauty experts such as Juliette Samuel, esthetician and founder of Nyraju Natural Skincare, and the University of Maryland Medical Center purport that peppermint oil stimulates follicles and increases circulation to encourage hair growth. As a hair-growth remedy, peppermint oil is often mixed with coconut oil and glycerin.

More Perks

When added to topical hair treatments, peppermint oil offers antiseptic and antimicrobal properties, says health author and physician Joseph Mercola. These properties may ease hair disorders such as lice and dandruff. Samuel particularly recommends peppermint oil for African-American hair care, due to its pH-balancing and conditioning properties. Peppermint famously features a fresh, bright scent. Beyond Your Locks

Peppermint oil's potential benefits don't end at the hair -- this salve also has positive effects on skincare. Because it normalizes oil secretion, Dr. Mercola reports that peppermint oil helps prevent acne. Peppermint's antibacterial effects also fight breakouts. Just as it serves as a scalp normalizer, this oil may help control excess oil production for those with combination skin. In addition to its skin-pleasing cooling sensation, peppermint oil's moisturizing ability makes it an effective lip balm.


7 Health and Beauty Benefits of Peppermint Oil

By Ali Finney

Move over, pumpkin spice, it’s peppermint time! Yeah, yeah, it’s good in a latte and all, but you know where it’s even better? In your beauty products—and there are a tons of studies and plenty of science to back up why. Here, we round up the research on why you should be using winter’s iconic scent all year long.

1. It’s a natural anti-itch remedy

In one study, participants who suffered from pruritis, or a fancy word for itching, were divided into two groups. The first was told to hydrate and then apply peppermint oil, while the second was told to use petrolatum to hydrate. The results? Significant improvements for peppermint oil users and not-so-great results for petrolatum users.

2. It promotes hair growth

In a study in which animals were given 3% peppermint oil, minoxidil, jojoba oil, and saline, peppermint oil showed the most promising effects for “a significant increase in dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth” in the study. And hey, even if you don’t see super-noticeable results, it’ll leave your strands smelling divine.

3. It has anti-bacterial properties

Out of hand wash? Peppermint oil can stand in. In a study it was effective at killing 22 bacteria and 11 fungi.

4. It has the highest SPF value of essential oils

Repeat after us: You still need sunscreen! You still need sunscreen! This isn’t cause to go slathering it here there and everywhere in place of your daily SPF, but when tested among other essential oils for SPF efficaciousness, it had the highest SPF value, which is definitely a nice perk (even though, we’ll say it again, you still need sunscreen).

5. It keeps your nails glossy

Remember those anti-fungal properties we talked about? They came in handy in a recent study about peppermint oil, which showed that it played a part in keeping nasty fungal nail infections (you know—those you might be prone to picking up in the gym shower) at bay.

6. People swear by its ability to decrease acne

Those of us with acne can all agree that we’ll do just about anything to nix it from flaring up. Interestingly, a thread on Acne.org touts the benefits of peppermint oil as a remedy to oil production. And it makes sense because, as inflammation lessens in the skin, less oil is gets trapped and clogged, leading to less oil buildup.

7. It may boost your energy levels and mood

Maybe the scent of peppermint wafting through the streets on the shortest days of the year is a good thing after all. In aromatherapy, peppermint oil is used to boost energy, sharpen focus and even boost your mood.



How To Use Peppermint Oil To Stop Hair Loss

By Boma Williams

In most adults, it’s normal to lose 50-100 hairs each day. They are usually replaced naturally, and noticeable hair loss is not a problem.

But for some, hair loss is a real concern. Hereditary factors are the most common issue, as male and even female pattern baldness have been shown to be genetically related.

But there are other factors which may contribute to hair loss. These include:

Thyroid imbalances
Hormonal imbalances
Lupus
Sarcoidosis
Scalp infections
Cancer therapy involving radiation
Hair treatments (coloring, permanents, etc…)

Whatever the reason, hair loss affects millions of people around the world.

And while some believe it’s just a fact of life, and that there is nothing to be done about it, others are looking for solutions.

Many people seek out medical options, including oral finasteride (known as Proscar®) or the topical treatment, minoxidil, commonly known as Rogaine®. However, originally designed to treat high blood pressure, minoxidil has been linked to everything from an increased heart rate and difficulty breathing, to edema and rapid weight gain.

Fortunately, there is an all- natural solution to this everyday problem that can help you stop hair loss, maintain a full head of hair for life and feel more confident.

It’s like Christmas for your hair As reported in the Dec. 2014 issue of Toxicological Research, medical researchers have now discovered what has been known by many for centuries — that peppermint oil can regrow hair and restore your lost locks.

The principle ingredient of peppermint oil, menthol, is primarily responsible for its beneficial effects. Well known in the world of naturopathy, this particular oil has shown itself to be an anti-inflammatory, as well as an antimicrobial and anti-fungal agent.

But its ability to stimulate hair follicle growth is what stunned these researchers. By simply applying a diluted solution of peppermint oil to the skin of the scalp, hair growth regeneration was seen in as little as 2 weeks, with great results reported after only 4 weeks of treatment.

Also, the researchers noted that the hairs that grew back were strong and physically sound, not thin or irregular in shape.

In fact, the skin that was treated with peppermint oil even became plumper and thicker – more like a younger version – indicating that peppermint oil actually improved the health of the skin and turned back the hands of time.

How to boost hair growth with peppermint oil So, if you want to prevent hair loss, it’s time to grab a bottle of peppermint oil.

But wait…

There are a few things you should know.

Whenever choosing an essential oil, it’s best to pick an organic product to avoid the chemicals and pesticides that could be lurking in non-organic products.

And, the solution in the study that provided such amazing results was a 3% peppermint oil solution mixed with jojoba oil.

That means you should mix 100 drops of jojoba with three drops of peppermint oil before applying it topically to your scalp.

You’ll want do this at bedtime or on a day when you have a couple of hours to spend around the house. And here’s a tip to keep your pillow from soaking up the oil… wrap your pillow in a puppy training pad and then insert into your pillow case to help keep it in place.

Don’t wait for hair loss to leave you feeling old before your time, use peppermint oil to safely stop hair loss and encourage re-growth without the dangerous side effects of prescription medication.


24 Uses For Peppermint Oil That You Probably Didn’t Know About

By Natalia Lusinski

What if I told you that you could get rid of your headache and clean your house with the same product? You can also do 22 other things with this item, all for about $10. Peppermint oil.

You may have heard about the therapeutic effects of peppermint, but it’s more than a fun addition to your water and an aromatherapy. Once you keep a small bottle of peppermint oil on hand, your life will never be the same again.

What, exactly, is peppermint oil? It comes from the leaves and stems of peppermint plants. Then, it’s distilled through steam, which results in oil evaporating from the plant. After the steam and oil cools off, “pure” oil is separated out. I love this brand, from Majestic Pure, but there are many wonderful ones out there.

Note: Several of the below suggest putting peppermint oil directly onto your skin, though it’s recommended that you test it out first on the inside of your arm. Also, be sure to avoid contact with your eyes.

Health Ailments

1. Headaches

Just rub a few drops on your temples, over the sinus areas, forehead, and on the back of your neck. You can also add a few drops of almond oil to dilute it a bit, but I find the mint works fine on its own.

2. Thyroid

While you’re near your neck, you may as well put some peppermint oil onto your thyroid—you know, that butterfly-shaped area under your neck that controls metabolism and appetite, to name a few. Rub the oil in and repeat a few times every day for optimal thyroid health.

3. Congestion And Allergies

You can use peppermint in many forms to alleviate congestion from a cold or sinus infection. You can place a couple drops under your nose, a drop directly onto your tongue, and add drops to water and diffuse it in your room. Then, sit (or lie) back and inhale deeply. You can also add some to a pot of boiling water and breathe in the steam, with your face about a foot above the pot. (Do you remember your parents having you do this when you were a kid? Well, it still works!)

4. Mental Stimulation And Alertness

There are a few ways to use peppermint oil to help you wake up. You can diffuse it so the air in the room becomes full of the scent. Or, you can apply some under your nose, onto the back of your neck and shoulders. You can also inhale your little bottle of peppermint oil before or while exercising to keep your stamina going.

5. Nausea, Indigestion, And Constipation

Like with headaches, peppermint oil is extremely healing in getting rid of nausea, indigestion, and constipation. The easiest thing to do is inhale it and put a couple drops on your wrists—which you can do no matter where you are. If you have more privacy, you can rub some drops directly onto your abdomen. You can also make tea from fresh mint leaves to help relax your stomach.

6. Heartburn

Speaking of indigestion, peppermint oil also helps with heartburn. Just add a drop to herbal tea—and use honey or agave to mix the oil and tea together. You should feel better in no time at all!

7. Stomach Pain & Cramps

Once again, rub some on the sore areas of your stomach—whether the pain is from muscle cramps after working out or menstrual cramps. The oil’s anti-inflammatory properties will soon soothe your pain away.

8. Fever Blisters And Chapped Lips

Dab the oil onto your lips and around their perimeter to help alleviate cracked lips or cold sores.

9. Reduce Your Appetite

That’s right, peppermint oil is the best (and cheapest!) diet aid around. Just a few drops will make you feel more full than usual.

10. Lessen Sugar Cravings

Adding peppermint oil to tea can lessen your sweet cravings, and we could all use less sugar in our lives, right?

11. Reduce Anxiety

To feel less relaxed, overall, carry a water bottle infused with mint. Check out this easy recipe that’ll have you feeling less stressed in no time! You can also make peppermint tea—especially since it’s getting cold out there!—and it will help your body and mind relax.

12. Fresh Breath

Move over, mouthwash! Peppermint oil’s in town. You can either place a drop in your mouth or add a drop to water, then rinse. You can also chew a mint leaf or two for instant gum-fresh breath.

13. Clearer Complexion

When you dab peppermint oil onto acne a few times a day, it kills the bacteria on your face. The higher the quality of oil you use, the better—and make sure there are no additives like perfumes or fragrances (which our faces don’t like).

14. Sore Feet And Stress-Reducer

Add drops of peppermint oil to a foot bath. (I know this would have come in handy back when I used to waitress.) Plus, with all the holiday shopping you’re probably doing, a peppermint oil foot bath—or regular bath—will do you wonders and energize you for another day of shopping.

15. Hiccups

Hiccups? I know. What can’t peppermint oil do? Put a drop on each side of your neck, three notches up from the large vertebra at its base, and voilà! This has got to be one of the easiest ways to get rid of them. You’ll see!

16. Toothache

Yep, until you can get to the dentist, put some peppermint oil on a Q-tip and apply it directly onto the tooth pain. Boiling peppermint leaves in water and drinking the warm tea will also help. You can also dab peppermint oil onto your teething baby’s gums (!).

17. Dry Scalp

This is one of the best solutions to fight a dry scalp without spending a fortune on specialty shampoos. Simply add up to five drops to your favorite shampoo, then shake up the bottle. Easy! Around The House

18. Cleaning Agent

Some people clean with lemon juice, others opt for peppermint oil. Because of its antifungal and antibacterial agents, mix it with some water and vinegar and use it to clean your house, from the windowsills to the kitchen counter.

19. Stop Unpleasant Odors

You’re probably sick of the “pleasant” smell emanating from your garbage can as much as I am. Now, get rid of it when you put a few drops of peppermint oil at the bottom of the can! Who knew?!

20. Ants, Bugs, And Rodents

Ants—and many bugs—don’t like peppermint, so wipe your baseboards, floors, and wall cracks with the oil. Plus, you can soak cotton balls in the oil and place them in strategic places to deter the bugs. You can also make a peppermint oil spray when you add up to 15 drops to a water bottle. This works for deterring larger animals, too, like mice, rats, and raccoons, who may be looking for housing during these winter months.

21. Ticks

Like ants, ticks aren’t fans of peppermint, either. Save some of those cotton balls for ticks and when one affixes to your skin, pry him off with the oil-infused cotton ball.

22. Bug Bites

Speaking of bugs, what about bug bites? If you mix peppermint essential oil with lavender essential oil and then put the combo on bug bites, it’ll alleviate the itching. No more chemically-laden bug sprays necessary!

23. Poison Ivy And Poison Oak

If you’ve ever had poison ivy or poison oak, you know they’re no fun. To alleviate the itching, you can either apply the oil right onto your skin or dilute it with a vegetable-based oil, like coconut or sesame oil.

24. Plants

Tired of aphids eating up your plants? You’ve looked at sprays to get rid of them, but don’t like the pesticides. Instead, use peppermint oil. Add some drops to a spray bottle of water and spray away.

There you have it. Some peppermint oil a day keeps many ailments away! I know I’m about to go get some more myself, so what are you waiting for?


The Benefits of Enteric-Coated Peppermint Oil

By Cathy Wong, ND (Reviewed by a board-certified physician)

Made from the essential oil of the peppermint plant, enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are coated to prevent the oil from being released until it has reached the small intestine.

A popular dietary supplement, proponents claim that enteric-coated peppermint oil can help improve digestive health and relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and indigestion. Peppermint oil is also considered a carminative agent, which means that it is used to eliminate excess gas in the intestines. Benefits of Enteric-Coated Peppermint Oil

Here's a look at some key study findings on enteric-coated peppermint oil:

1) Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Several studies indicate that enteric-coated peppermint oil may aid in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Enteric-coated peppermint oil is thought to reduce the abdominal pain and bloating of irritable bowel syndrome, possibly by blocking the movement of calcium into muscle cells in the intestines and easing excessive muscle contraction.

One of the most recent studies on enteric-coated peppermint oil and irritable bowel syndrome was published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences in 2010. In tests on 90 people with irritable bowel syndrome, researchers found that those treated with enteric-coated peppermint oil for eight weeks experienced a significantly greater improvement in abdominal pain and quality of life (compared to study members given a placebo for the same time period).

2) Indigestion

A number of studies show that supplements containing a combination of enteric-coated peppermint oil and caraway oil may help reduce indigestion symptoms. This formula is thought to relax the stomach muscles, as well as help food pass through the stomach more quickly.

In a study published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics in 2000, 96 people prone to indigestion were assigned to 28 days of treatment with either a placebo or a supplement containing a combination of enteric-coated peppermint oil and caraway oil.

At the end of the treatment period, those given enteric-coated peppermint oil and caraway oil showed a significantly greater improvement in several symptoms of indigestion (such as feelings of heaviness and fullness after eating).

3) Colonoscopy

Enteric-coated peppermint oil may benefit people undergoing colonoscopy (a type of medical test typically used to screen for colon cancer), according to a study published in the Belgian journal Acta Gastro-Enterologica Belgica in 2012.

The study focused on enteric-coated peppermint oil's effectiveness in reducing colonic spasm (a problem that frequently interferes with the examination process during colonoscopy).

For the study, 65 people took either enteric-coated peppermint oil or a placebo four hours before having a colonoscopy. Results showed that those given enteric-coated peppermint oil were less likely to experience colonic spasm and pain during the procedure.

Treatment with enteric-coated peppermint oil was also associated with a shorter procedure time.

Possible Side Effects

Enteric-coated peppermint oil may cause a burning sensation in the stomach or rectum, heartburn, or allergic reactions. Excessive doses of peppermint oil may result in kidney problems. Call your health practitioner if you experience headaches, flushing, skin rash, muscle tremors, or other unusual symptoms after consuming enteric-coated peppermint oil.

Peppermint oil should be used with caution by people with heartburn, hiatal hernia, severe liver damage, gallbladder inflammation, or bile duct obstruction.

Pregnant or nursing women and children should avoid it. In addition, people with gallstones and those having any procedure (e.g. a colonoscopy) should consult a physician before taking oral peppermint preparations. You can get further tips on using supplements here.

Where to Find It

Widely available for purchase online, enteric-coated peppermint oil is sold in many natural-foods stores, drugstores, and stores specializing in dietary supplements.

Using Enteric-Coated Peppermint Oil for Health

Although enteric-coated peppermint oil may offer benefits to some people, it's too soon to recommend it as a standard treatment for any condition. As with any supplement, if you're considering using enteric-coated peppermint oil, talk with your healthcare provider first to discuss whether it's appropriate for you.


The Health Potential of Peppermint

By Kathryn Watson (Medically Reviewed by Mark R. Laflamme, M.D.)
Health Benefits of Peppermint

Many people are familiar with the minty taste of peppermint. The flavor is especially popular in holiday treats, toothpaste, and after dinner mints. However, there’s more to the peppermint plant than just fresh breath and candy canes. In fact, peppermint’s cosmetic, digestive, and antibacterial benefits are only beginning to be explored.

History of Peppermint

Peppermint (mentha pepperita) is actually a hybrid plant. It’s the result of a cross between watermint and spearmint that can occur naturally. Peppermint can grow nearly anywhere, but it’s especially prevalent in Europe and North America. Peppermint was used in folk medicine as a pain reliever. Its value as a gastric stimulant and antibacterial agent are being revisited by modern medicine.

Here are just some of the benefits and uses of this amazing plant.

It Helps with Nausea and Digestive Issues

Peppermint can help improve digestion problems, especially irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a condition that involves irregular bowel movement, bloating, and stomach discomfort. Recent studies show that people with IBS may find relief through peppermint oil supplements.

Peppermint has also been known to calm nausea. When a wave of nausea (or, if you are pregnant, morning sickness) hits, inhaling the scent of peppermint extract can help you recover. If that doesn’t do the trick, a hot cup of peppermint tea will calm the digestive tract quickly.

It Makes Hair Look Healthy

Peppermint oil is a popular ingredient in some shampoos thanks to its fresh scent and soothing properties. Applying peppermint to the scalp refreshes the skin underneath the hairline, clears dandruff, and stimulates blood flow to the region. Some people believe that this helps stimulate hair growth.

In addition to cleansing the hair of dead skin cells, peppermint also binds to the hair follicle, infusing it with protein. This gives hair a shiny, healthy appearance — not to mention a fresh, minty scent!

Recent studies suggest that peppermint is an effective alternative to hair growth stimulants. It can be a safer, healthier option because it doesn’t contain the carcinogenic ingredients or toxins found in most synthetic hair growth products.

It Helps You Breathe Easier

The menthol contained in peppermint can make the nasal passages feel clearer. It also thins mucus and can break up mucus in an inflamed nasal passage. This helps relieve symptoms of airborne allergies.

For reasons possibly related to peppermint’s menthol content, peppermint oil helped young men exercise more efficiently in a small university study.

It Heals Skin

Peppermint’s cooling properties can be very soothing. They can act as a balm for the effects of poison ivy, poison oak, or hives.

Peppermint oil is also a great tool for treating insect bites. Applying peppermint to bug bites can calm and cool the area, making the skin less itchy.

It Promotes Dental Health

You often hear about toothpastes and mouthwashes that leave your mouth “minty fresh.” However, there’s more to having peppermint in your toothpaste and mouthwash than the promise of a tingly mouth. The peppermint oil ingredient has been demonstrated to kill bad bacteria that take up residence in the teeth, gums, and walls of our mouths.

Forms
Peppermint Leaf

If you’ve ever had a mint julep, you’ll recall that the taste of fresh peppermint leaf is subtle and slightly bitter. Peppermint can be chewed fresh from the leaf and is often used as a garnish. Peppermint leaf is also often dehydrated and prepared as a tea. These teas can be purchased wherever health food and holistic healing products are sold.

Oil/Extract

Essential oils are becoming more popular. This makes pure peppermint extract easier to find. Though it’s important to be aware of how much peppermint extract you’re using, peppermint oil can be a convenient way to implement the benefits of peppermint into your daily life.

Capsules

Peppermint capsules are available on the market as an herbal treatment for digestive issues. When using peppermint to control the symptoms of IBS, it’s important to look for a capsule that will break down in the small intestine, and not in the stomach. This makes sure that the intestine can absorb the peppermint oil directly.

Side Effects

Because it contains menthol, exposure to too much peppermint oil can cause respiratory problems. Peppermint oil should never be administered around the chest or nasal area of children under 2 years old.

It’s possible to overdose on peppermint oil, though it’s extremely rare. The dosage amount that is safe varies greatly by individual and method of ingestion. Large amounts of peppermint tea appear to be safe, for example. However, large quantities of peppermint spirit (oil and leaf extract in an alcoholic solution) is not safe.

Some individuals are allergic to menthol, which is a component of peppermint. If you’re thinking about using peppermint for its benefits, make sure you’re aware of any allergies.


Peppermint Oil for Migraine and Headache Relief

By James Roland and Neel Duggal (Medically Reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD MSN RN IBCLC AHN-BC CHT)
Does peppermint oil work?

Recently, many people have been discussing using peppermint oil for headaches. While there aren’t many high-quality studies to confirm the efficacy of peppermint oil, some researchers suspect that the oil helps control blood flow in the body and open up the sinuses for better oxygen flow. Many people also report using the oil for relief from their migraines and other types of headaches.

You can find peppermint oil:
• in gel capsules
• as a liquid oil
• in tea
• in incense sticks
• in candy or other chewables

Keep reading to learn how to find relief from headaches using peppermint oil. Some types of headaches, such as sinus and tension headaches, may respond better to peppermint oil than others, but the methods of use are the same.

How to use
5 ways to use peppermint oil for headaches

1. Put a few drops in your bath

Taking a bath can help decrease headache intensity. Add a few drops of peppermint oil to your bath to really increase the relaxation benefits. Turn the bathroom lights off and use a candle if your headache gets worse with bright lights. Try taking a bath to prevent a headache from coming on or worsening.

2. Inhale peppermint oil with steam

Pour hot water into a bowl and add 3 to 7 drops of essential oil. Cover your head with a towel, close your eyes, and breathe through your nose. Do this for no more than two minutes. Steam inhalation can help with sinus headaches, especially if you also have symptoms of congestion.

3. Add it to your massage oil

Essential oils need to be diluted in a carrier oil before being applied directly to the skin. Usually, the recommended ratio is 3 to 5 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of sweet almond oil, warmed coconut oil, or mineral oil. People with nut allergies should always avoid nut-based oils.

Before applying any essential oil, do an allergy test. Mix 3 to 5 drops of essential oil with 1 ounce of your favorite carrier oil. Apply the mixture to the skin of your forearm. If there is no reaction within 24 to 48 hours, the essential oil should be safe to use.

Dab a couple drops of your oil mixture onto your fingers and massage it onto your temples, the back of your neck, your shoulders, and your chest area. Tension headaches are often caused by muscle contractions in this part of your body.

Research also shows that a 30-minute massage can help relieve headache symptoms within 24 hours. To make a homemade massage oil, add a few drops of peppermint oil to an ounce of a carrier oil.

4. Diffuse it into the air

Use a diffuser to help diffuse the oil into the air. You can also inhale peppermint oil directly from the bottle. If the scent is too strong, add a few drops to a cloth, cotton ball, or tissue and breathe it in. Avoid incense sticks, as the smell of smoke may worsen your symptoms.


5. Drink peppermint tea

Peppermint oil shouldn’t bet taken orally, but you can make tea using peppermint leaves. Drinking peppermint tea may help you think more clearly and feel more alert.

You can also try eating peppermint or menthol candy, which has been used for digestive ailments for centuries.

Where to buy
When buying peppermint oil

You can buy peppermint oil at a local health store or online. Take caution when buying peppermint oil. Always buy from a reputable source, as herbal remedies have a higher chance of being contaminated. Be sure to buy food-grade peppermint oil if you’re planning to consume it.

Peppermint oil can also interact with compounds found in prescription drugs. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist before taking peppermint oil if you’re currently taking medication.


Suffering from an upset stomach? Drink peppermint tea

By Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti

A cup of freshly prepared warm peppermint is all you need to beat stomach upset and indigestion.

What do you do when you have an upset stomach? Either pop a pill or search your kitchen for a miracle home remedy that can provide quick relief. If experience abdominal pain or discomfort due to indigestion, then here is a natural remedy you can try. Its efficacy has been proven by a study published in the journal in Prescrire International.

Peppermint tea for stomach upset — how does it work?

Just like green tea, peppermint tea has numerous health benefits. Not just stomach upset and indigestion, it also helps relieve congestion, toothache and fever. Peppermint tea contains antioxidants that flush out the toxins from the body and aid in digestion. Moreover, peppermint has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in relieving abdominal pain and discomfort. The presence of volatile oils in peppermint tea stimulate the gall bladder and help in digestion. Hence, drinking a cup of peppermint tea not only exerts a soothing effect on the body but also improves digestion and calms stomach upset. Moreover, a 2008 study [1] has also revealed that peppermint essential oil is effective in reducing abdominal pain, flatulence and diarrhoea in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) without causing any adverse effects.

How to make peppermint tea at home?

If you suffer from stomach upset, brew fresh and hot peppermint tea to relieve the symptoms. To make peppermint tea at home all you need, are few peppermint leaves and water. Here is how to make this tea:

1. In a cup of water, add half a teaspoon of peppermint leaves.

2. Allow the leaves to boil for 5 minutes so that the colour of the tea changes to light brown in colour.

3. Strain the liquid and allow the content to cool a bit before drinking the tea.

4. You can even add a teaspoon of honey or squeeze half a lemon in the tea to enhance the taste.



10 Incredible Uses of Peppermint Oil for Health and Beauty

By Plavaneeta Borah

One of the most commonly used ingredients in the cosmetic, Ayurvedic as well as food and beverage industries, peppermint is no less than a superfood. Its oil, which is known as menthol, comes with a host of health and beauty benefits, right from soothing an upset stomach and treating cold to relieving stress and skin irritation. No wonder in the ancient times it was used as an herbal medicine across various cultures. What makes peppermint also popular is the cooling sensation it trails behind that is refreshing as well as soothing. This is the reason why it is extensively used in toothpastes, chewing gums, balms and bathing soaps, among others.

An extract from DK Publishing’s book Healing Foods states, “Menthol, the active oil in mint, is responsible for the antiseptic and antibacterial properties that make it a good choice for relieving indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and soothing an upset stomach. Its adaptogenic properties mean it can help balance the body in whatever way is needed, so it can be both invigorating and mildly sedative. It also fortifies the nervous system and helps to relive headaches.”

There are of course different species of the Mint plant, and Peppermint is considered to be a hybrid between Watermint and Spearmint. Although the wild variety is available in certain parts of the world (particularly Europe), it is largely cultivated to yield better oil content and meet the ever growing demand. Peppermint oil has anti-microbial, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties, and acts as a mild sedative and natural pain killer.

Uses of Peppermint Oil

Here are ten incredible uses of peppermint oil:

1. To Treat a Cold

It is a common home remedy to put a few drops of peppermint oil in a bowl of hot water and inhale the fumes to nurse a cold. The menthol content helps in clearing sinusitis and treating scratchy throats.

2. Provide Relief from Joint Pain

Joint pain can be quite gruelling and it is a common problem during winters especially for the elderly. Peppermint oil has long been used to treat joint pains. Mix a few drops of the oil along with lavender oil and apply on the affected area. They work magically to soothe the nerves and ease the pain.

3. Soothes Muscle Pain

Almost all pain relief sprays contain some amount of peppermint oil. It is known to create a burning sensation but at the same time bring relief too. No wonder it is known as a natural painkiller. Besides it helps in soothing sore muscles.

4. Treats Itchy Scalp Itchy scalp is a common problem. Having to face dust and pollution everyday, all those particles can cause havoc for your hair. Peppermint oil can help treat itchy scalp and bring about a sense of freshness. Add two drops to your shampoo and watch it work its magic.

5. Rejuvenating Foot Cream

After a long day at work, a good foot massage or even a simple scrub and cleaning can work wonders to lift your spirit. It is commonly advised to wash your feet with warm water before going to bed, which can help you get good sleep. Now add a few drops of peppermint oil to your scrub or massaging cream and work it on your feet to relieve tension.

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   10 Incredible Uses Of Peppermint Oil For Health And Beauty

10 Incredible Uses of Peppermint Oil for Health and Beauty

Plavaneeta Borah | Updated: February 21, 2017 17:21 IST Tweeter facebook Google Plus Reddit 10 Incredible Uses of Peppermint Oil for Health and Beauty Highlights

   Peppermint oil comes with a host of health and beauty benefits
   Peppermint is a hybrid between Watermint and Spearmint
   This oil has anti-microbial, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties

One of the most commonly used ingredients in the cosmetic, Ayurvedic as well as food and beverage industries, peppermint is no less than a superfood. Its oil, which is known as menthol, comes with a host of health and beauty benefits, right from soothing an upset stomach and treating cold to relieving stress and skin irritation. No wonder in the ancient times it was used as an herbal medicine across various cultures. What makes peppermint also popular is the cooling sensation it trails behind that is refreshing as well as soothing. This is the reason why it is extensively used in toothpastes, chewing gums, balms and bathing soaps, among others.

An extract from DK Publishing’s book Healing Foods states, “Menthol, the active oil in mint, is responsible for the antiseptic and antibacterial properties that make it a good choice for relieving indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and soothing an upset stomach. Its adaptogenic properties mean it can help balance the body in whatever way is needed, so it can be both invigorating and mildly sedative. It also fortifies the nervous system and helps to relive headaches.”

There are of course different species of the Mint plant, and Peppermint is considered to be a hybrid between Watermint and Spearmint. Although the wild variety is available in certain parts of the world (particularly Europe), it is largely cultivated to yield better oil content and meet the ever growing demand. Peppermint oil has anti-microbial, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties, and acts as a mild sedative and natural pain killer.

Uses of Peppermint Oil

Here are ten incredible uses of peppermint oil:

1. To Treat a Cold It is a common home remedy to put a few drops of peppermint oil in a bowl of hot water and inhale the fumes to nurse a cold. The menthol content helps in clearing sinusitis and treating scratchy throats.

(5 Magical Home Remedies for Cold You Probably Haven't Tried Yet)

cold 620

2. Provide Relief from Joint Pain

Joint pain can be quite gruelling and it is a common problem during winters especially for the elderly. Peppermint oil has long been used to treat joint pains. Mix a few drops of the oil along with lavender oil and apply on the affected area. They work magically to soothe the nerves and ease the pain.

(Suffering from Chronic Knee Pain? Try Online Therapy!)

joint pain

3. Soothes Muscle Pain

Almost all pain relief sprays contain some amount of peppermint oil. It is known to create a burning sensation but at the same time bring relief too. No wonder it is known as a natural painkiller. Besides it helps in soothing sore muscles.

(Want Stronger Muscles? Amp up Your Fitness with Vitamin E)

muscle cramps

4. Treats Itchy Scalp Itchy scalp is a common problem. Having to face dust and pollution everyday, all those particles can cause havoc for your hair. Peppermint oil can help treat itchy scalp and bring about a sense of freshness. Add two drops to your shampoo and watch it work its magic.

5. Rejuvenating Foot Cream

After a long day at work, a good foot massage or even a simple scrub and cleaning can work wonders to lift your spirit. It is commonly advised to wash your feet with warm water before going to bed, which can help you get good sleep. Now add a few drops of peppermint oil to your scrub or massaging cream and work it on your feet to relieve tension.

6. Can Treat Headache

Peppermint oil almost works like a balm, bring about instant relief from headaches. Since it works wonders in relaxing tensed muscles, you can apply a drop or two on your forehead and massage gently.

7. Can Treat Indigestion

According to a study done at the University of Maryland, the various oils in peppermint stimulate the gallbladder to produce and release bile that the body uses to digest fat. Peppermint tea is known to treat indigestion, bloating and flatulence. You can also add a drop of peppermint oil to a cup of warm water and have it before meals.

8. Helps Against Skin Irritation and Allergies

The soothing effect of peppermint helps fight against skin irritants and other allergies. You can add two drops of the oil along with lavender oil and apply it on the affected area. You can also add a few drops in your body lotion and moisturise your body. It also has anti-microbial properties.

9. Reduces Nausea

Nausea, which is a feeling that instigates vomiting, can be prevented using peppermint oil. A common practise is to rub a few drops of the oil behind your ears. Another way is to add a drop to a glass of water and sip on it.

10. Helps Soothe Toothache

Toothache can be incredibly painful, making your life come to a standstill. Peppermint oil can help by soothing the muscles, relieving pain and disinfecting the area. Add a few drops on a cotton swab and apply it directly on the affected area.


Health Benefits of Green Tea & Mint for Losing Weight

By Karen McCarthy

There is no herb, tea or pill that miraculously causes you to shed pounds. Regular exercise and a healthy diet should be the cornerstones of your weight-loss efforts. But if approved by your doctor, green tea and mint can benefit your health and potentially your weight-loss efforts as well. Green tea and mint interact with certain medications and other teas, so it's important to consult with your doctor before drinking green tea or taking green tea supplements.

Green Tea Helps You Burn More Calories

Your metabolism is the speed at which you burn calories. When you burn more calories than you consume over time, you lose weight. The caffeine and catechins in green tea have a temperature-raising effect that speeds up your metabolism, causing you to burn more calories in the same amount of time. In a study published in the "British Journal of Nutrition" in 2013, scientists found that green tea increased energy expenditure in young men by 10 percent. They concluded that green tea may have potential in helping obese and diabetic patients manage their conditions.

Green Tea Reduces Appetite

Caffeine and catechins also have been found to correlate directly with increased feelings of satiety, which results in eating fewer calories. In a study published in "Appetite" in 2012, scientists gave some participants a drink containing either soluble fiber or soluble fiber with caffeine and catechins from green tea; they gave a control group no drink. Before giving all participants a meal, they had them rate their appetite. Then, they measured their calorie intake during the meal. The control group members had the largest appetites. Meanwhile, the participants who drank the drink containing soluble fiber, caffeine and green tea catechins had the lowest appetite and the smallest caloric intake.

Mint Could Improve Your Workouts

Mint's pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and vasoconstrictor qualities have made it the interest of many studies on exercise performance. If you're trying to lose weight, exercise should be a key component in your program. A study published in the "Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition" in 2013 had healthy men take 0.05 milliliter of peppermint oil daily for 10 days and do an exercise test on the treadmill before and after. The scientists found that by relaxing the respiratory muscles, the peppermint oil may have allowed for increased air ventilation through the body and a higher brain oxygen concentration, with less lactate buildup. All these effects caused improved performance during exercise.

Mint Beats Bloating

Mint can help keep bloating and other stomach problems at bay while you're trying to lose weight. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, peppermint relaxes your stomach muscles and increases bile flow, improving your digestion of fats. It promotes relaxation throughout the gastrointestinal tract, helping flatulence pass more easily. Mint can even be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, including belly pain, bloating, flatulence and diarrhea. In a study published in "Digestive Diseases and Sciences" in 2006, a commercial herbal supplement containing spearmint was tested on patients with irritable bowel syndrome. After taking it daily for eight weeks, they reported less frequent and less severe abdominal bloating.

Avoiding Side Effects

A study published in the "Journal for Nurse Practitioners" in 2010 warns that herbal supplements such as green tea that contain caffeine have potential for abuse and adverse side effects. It discourages the use of concentrated green tea extract for weight loss. Side effects of green tea may include irritability, difficulty sleeping, dizziness and heart palpitations. If you drink caffeine from other beverages, such as coffee, be careful not to overdose on caffeine. Signs of overdose are nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and headaches. Mint may interact with antacids, drugs for diabetes and other medications. Avoid mint if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease or hiatal hernia. Mint oil is toxic in large amounts.



Health Benefits of Cilantro, Basil, Rosemary, Dill and Mint

By Tracey Roizman (DC)

Both ornamental and useful, herbs offer an abundance of beneficial properties for health, healing and nutrition. Cilantro, basil, rosemary, dill and mint are easy to grow, store well and can be used fresh or dried. Consult your doctor or qualified health professional for advice about using herbs to treat a medical condition. Cilantro

Cilantro, a native of southwest Asia and North Africa, contains high levels of antioxidants and acts as a digestive aid, according to the Utah State University Extension Service. This flavorful herb also helps prevent urinary tract infections and has antibacterial effects on bacteria and fungi. Additionally, cilantro demonstrated the ability to detoxify mercury from contaminated ground water in a test tube study published in the February 2005 issue of the "Journal of Hazardous Materials." Researchers concluded that cilantro shows promise as a natural method of water purification.

Basil

Basil contains a compound that provides antibacterial benefits, according to a Colorado State University press release. The compound, called rosmarinic acid, may kill Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common soil-borne bacteria to which people with compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible. Pseudomonas can infect the lungs or can gain entry through a skin wound to infect the blood. Both the leaves and roots of basil secrete the substance, though higher concentrations are found in the leaves. Basil is also noted for its potential anti-viral, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.

Rosemary

Rosemary's primary active ingredients, rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid, help fight breast cancer, via their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. Rosemary may also speed the processing of estrogen by the liver and contains high levels of vitamin E, which helps balance estrogen levels. Its combination of cancer-fighting, hormone-balancing and liver-supporting properties makes rosemary a useful natural alternative to the breast cancer drug tamoxifen, according to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. A tissue culture study published in the June 2010 issue of the journal "Plant Foods and Human Nutrition" found that rosemary was effective against a variety of cancers, including leukemia, prostate and lung cancers. Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary results.

Dill

Dill may offer anti-fungal benefits, according to the University of the Pacific Health Services. The herb, which originated in the Mediterranean and is the only plant in its genus, may also be useful as a safe and natural anti-fungal, according to a study published in the 2012 issue of the journal "PLoS one." In the study, researchers applied dill essential oil to cultures of Aspergillus mold and found that dill oil killed mold cells by disrupting the cell membranes. Dill also caused dysfunction in the energy-producing mechanisms of the mold cells that resulted in increased oxidative damage.

Mint

Mint offers soothing relief from cramping, bloating, constipation and diarrhea associated with irritable bowel syndrome, according to Harvard Health Publications. Menthol, the active ingredient in mint, relaxes muscles by blocking the flow of calcium, the chemical messenger that causes muscles to contract. Peppermint oil contains particularly high levels of antioxidants. A study published in the 2011 issue of the "Journal of the University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy" found that antioxidants in peppermint survive the drying process and are present in the dried form of the herb.


Mint & Potassium

By Michelle Kerns

The average American does not regularly consume adequate potassium, reports the Colorado State University Extension. Although over-the-counter dietary supplements containing potassium are available, you should be able to fulfill your requirement of the mineral if your diet contains a wide variety of meat, fish, poultry and fresh fruits and vegetables. Herbs such as mint do contain some potassium, but none of the 30 mint species -- including the most popular, peppermint and spearmint -- is a good source of potassium.

Importance

Potassium functions as both a mineral and an electrolyte. The body needs potassium to help develop and maintain strong bones, to trigger the activity of enzymes crucial for carbohydrate metabolism and to regulate intercellular fluid levels. Potassium is also necessary for muscles to contract properly and for nerve cells to transmit electrochemical impulses. If your diet does not include enough potassium, you may be more likely to develop high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis or kidney stones.

Potassium Content

A 2-tablespoon serving of fresh peppermint leaves contains 18 milligrams of potassium. This amount supplies only 0.3 percent of the recommended daily allowance of potassium that the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board advises for healthy adult men and women on a 2,000-calorie diet. Spearmint leaves contain more potassium -- 52 milligrams in every 2 tablespoons -- but still only provide about 1.1 percent of potassium's RDA. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's guidelines for labeling nutrient content in foods, mint is not a good source of potassium because it provides less than 10 percent of the mineral's RDA.

Comparison to Other Foods

Spearmint contains about as much potassium per serving as 1 slice of wheat bread or a 1-ring serving of canned pineapple. A 2-tablespoon serving of peppermint leaves is similar in potassium content to an ounce of cheddar cheese, one raw strawberry or one leaf of butterhead lettuce. If you're trying to include more potassium-rich foods in your diet, turn to a 3-ounce serving of cooked fish like halibut, 1 cup of raisins, 1 cup of cooked beans like soybeans or white beans, or 1 cup of tomato products such as canned tomato puree. These foods are considered excellent sources of potassium since they supply 20 percent or more of the RDA of potassium per serving.

Considerations

If the amount of sodium you consume is greater than your average intake of potassium, you are significantly more likely to develop high blood pressure. This is because potassium plays a role in eliminating excess sodium from the body. A low potassium intake means high sodium blood levels will increase the amount of water you retain, raising your blood pressure. Mint can be a good addition to a high-potassium, low-sodium diet. Use mint in place of salt or salt-based seasoning blends to add a boost of flavor to meat, fish, poultry or grain dishes without increasing your sodium intake.



7 Essential Oils for Arthritis

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Most people think that aromatherapy is all about bath and beauty products, but it is so much more than that. I’ve used aromatherapy in the protocols for many different health conditions with great results for over 25 years. Here are some of my preferred essential oils for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout (a form of arthritis in the big toe) and fibromyalgia, which is technically a form of arthritis that affects the muscles and soft tissues of the body:

Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)

Use diluted in small amounts topically for healing joint pain. Black pepper essential oil provides a pleasant warming effect on the joints while its analgesic compounds go to work reducing pain. Because it is so strong, it can be a bit harsh on sensitive skin, so be sure it is well diluted—no more than one or two drops per teaspoon of carrier oil.

Clove (Eugenia carophyllata)

This highly effective natural analgesic oil works on most types of pain, including both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, as well as gout—a type of arthritis of the big toe. Because it is extremely potent, use only one drop to one hundred drops, or about one teaspoon of carrier oil after first conducting a skin patch test. Avoid using if you have extremely sensitive skin.

Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)

Ginger essential oil brings a soothing warmth when applied to arthritic joint, but it is also great for easing the muscular pain and stiffness of fibromyalgia. Use no two to three drops in a teaspoon of carrier oil and apply topically to affected joints.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Both a pain reliever and nervous system relaxant, lavender is good for easing joint and muscle aches, as well as easing stiffness. If pain is keeping you awake at night, lavender essential oil is also great for sleep, particularly if a drop or two of the essential oil is rubbed on the soles of the feet or palms of the hands before bed. While most essential oils need to be diluted, lavender can often be tolerated neat (undiluted) by most people. However, if you have extremely sensitive skin, dilute two drops of lavender in about 4 drops of a carrier oil like fractionated coconut or apricot kernel oil.

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

Lemongrass oil is useful for toning the connective tissues and can be helpful when the tendons no longer hold the joints with precision. Dilute in few drops in a teaspoon of carrier oil.

Marjoram (Origanum majorana)

Marjoram oil can be used for easing muscle aches and stiffness along with helping to heal bruises and joint sprains. It is a good choice for topical use for those with fibromyalgia, which is a form of arthritis. It helps with pain but also alleviates muscle tightness. Avoid marjoram essential oil if you have epilepsy.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Peppermint contains analgesic compounds that reduce pain and inflammation. Like lavender, it can usually be tolerated on the skin in its neat form (undiluted) to help reduce pain. A little goes a long way as this oil leaves an intense cooling sensation on the skin. Use one drop and massage into painful or inflamed joints. Wash hands immediately and avoid eye contact.

Make sure you select high quality, pure, undiluted essential oils. While you may end up diluting the oils yourself, most of the oils on the market are diluted in less-than-desirable oils. High quality oils cost more than the cheap varieties on the market but are worth the increased price. Many cheap varieties can also contain synthetic versions of the oils, which offer no therapeutic value and may actually be harmful. But, worse than that, many cheap oils are adulterated with solvents used during the extraction process or toxic pesticides used in the growing process of the herbs from which the oils are extracted.

After diluting the oil in carrier oil, always conduct a 48-hour patch test on a small inconspicuous part of your skin to determine whether you have any sensitivity to the essential oils.


Can You Grow Basil & Peppermint?

By Karyn Siegel-Maier

People who lack experience growing herbs may sometimes forget that dried material preserved in a spice jar or tea bag was once a living, green plant. Like other garden plants, herbs have specific culture preferences but are usually easier to grow than many “fussy” ornamentals. With a little preparation, you can cultivate some of your favorite herbs to use fresh in cooking or floral crafts. Basil and peppermint, for example, are very easy to grow.

Basil Basics

Basil (Ocimum basilicum), also called sweet basil, is a member of the mint family, which makes it related to peppermint. The herb gets its genus name from the Greek word that translates to "be fragrant." Basil is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and is also featured in traditional Thai and Indian cooking. With at least 40 different varieties, growing multiple basils rewards a wide diversity of flavors as well as ornamental possibilities. For example, while all basils sport handsome foliage and pretty white, blue or lavender flowers and have a place in Italian cooking, "Mrs. Burns" lemon basil (Ocimum basilicum var. citriodora "Mrs. Burns") is the perfect accompaniment to tea or lemonade and cinnamon basil (Ocimum “Baja”) pairs beautifully with chocolate desserts.

Peppermint Profile

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a hybrid cross between spearmint (Mentha spicata) and water mint (Mentha aquatica). The herb has long been used in traditional medicine to enhance digestion and to freshen breath. The volatile oil extracted from the plant is still used as a flavoring agent in foods and beverages, chewing gum and dental products. Essential oil of peppermint is also used in perfumery and soap-making. The warm, spicy flavor of the fresh or dried leaves make peppermint excellent for tea, alone or in combination with other herbs. The leaves are also added to baked goods, dips, sauces and custards.

Growth Requirements

Basil is an annual hardy to United States Department of Agriculture zones 9 and 10. It is easily grown in much cooler climates, but is very sensitive to frost. Basil needs full sun and well-drained soil enhanced with organic material. Unless grown for ornamental purposes, pinch off the flowers regularly to encourage increased leaf growth. Also, avoid fertilizing this herb too often because it decreases the concentration of volatile oils. Peppermint is a perennial hardy to USDA zones 8 through 10, but also fares well in cooler climates with frost protection. The plant sends out underground runners that root and spread, so consider planting this herb in containers or in the ground in pots. Like basil, peppermint enjoys lots of sun and well-drained soil, and pinching new growth and flower buds will make bushy plants. Since both herbs like plenty of moisture, use mulch if growing basil and peppermint in the same vicinity.

Display Ideas

Basil and peppermint will each reach a maximum height of 2 feet, so think about growing the two as border companions in a kitchen herb garden. You can also grow basil and peppermint in large containers with other aromatic herbs, trailing vines and flowers for eye-catching displays.


What Are the Benefits of Mint Leaves?

By Tracey Roizman (DC)

Mints are hardy, rapidly growing perennial plants native to Europe and Asia. Peppermint, one of the most widely grown and used forms, is a hybrid of spearmint. It is also a type of mint called water mint and has stronger properties than either of its parent plants. Ancient Greeks and Romans used mint leaves to relieve pain, and mint has been used in natural medicine to alleviate indigestion for nearly as long. Modern scientific studies have uncovered a variety of potential health benefits for mint.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Mint leaves are widely used as a digestive aid. Peppermint leaf oil relaxes the muscular lining of the digestive tract, relieving cramps and gas and alleviating indigestion, according to naturopath Michael T. Murray, author of "The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods." A double-blind study published in the May 2010 issue of the journal "Digestive Diseases and Sciences" found that enteric-coated peppermint oil significantly reduced abdominal pain and improved the quality of life for patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Participants took one capsule of the mint supplement three times per day for eight weeks. .

Anticancer

Mint may offer anticancer benefits by virtue of its peryllyl alcohol, one of its constituent compounds. A tissue culture study published in the August 2012 issue of the journal "Biochimie" found that peryllyl alcohol may inhibit prostate cancer cell growth and reproduction by destabilizing its DNA structure. The compound may also help prevent liver cancer, according to a study published in the August 2012 issue of the journal "Current Cancer Drug Targets." Researchers theorize that this and similar compounds, including carotenoids and retinoids, may act by blocking the action of cancer-causing substances in the liver. Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary results.

Allergies

Mint contains high levels of rosmarinic acid, an antioxidant that quenches free radicals and reduces allergy symptoms by inhibiting COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. A study published in the 2004 issue of the journal "Biofactors" found that 50 milligrams of rosmarinic acid per day for 21 days reduced levels of allergy-related white blood cells, called eosinophils, and inflammatory molecules and decreased allergy symptoms significantly. In a laboratory animal section of the study, topical application of rosmarinic acid reduced skin inflammation within five hours. Researchers concluded that rosmarinic acid may offer benefits for the treatment of seasonal allergies due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Candida

Mint may increase the effectiveness of medications used for yeast infections, also known as candidiasis, according to a study published in the March 2012 issue of the "Journal of Medicinal Food." In the test tube study, mint extract showed a synergistic effect against several species of candida when used together with the antifungal drug metronidazole. Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary studies. CoxHealth Medical Centers notes that while peppermint oil shows some effectiveness against candida in test tube studies, no clinical trials have been conducted to verify its usefulness in humans.


Peppermint oil– the BEST natural remedy for instant relief from a headache

By Tania Tarafdar

The sweet smelling peppermint oil will not only reduce headache pain but will also relieve stress. Try it out.

Essential oils are really popular. Peppermint is one such versatile essential oil that not only smells wonderful but has many medicinal properties too. The oil can pick-you-up when you have a bad headache by minimising the pain and helping you relax Here’s how it helps you deal with a headache.

• Peppermint oil contains significant amounts of menthol which helps relieve tension headaches by lessening the pain .
• Headaches are often a cause of poor blood flow in the body. Massaging the fresh smelling oil on your forehead will help open and close the blood vessels to promote optimum blood flow [2]. The oil also helps open up the sinuses so that more oxygen can get into the bloodstream.
• Peppermint oil acts as a muscle relaxant and is thus particularly beneficial for tension headaches.
• Stress is a major trigger of a headache. The scent of peppermint oil helps relieve anxiety and stress by promoting a sense of calmness.
Steps to use
• Take 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil on your hands and gently rub the oil on the temples of your forehead and over the sinuses. Ensure that you do not apply the oil anywhere near your eyes.
• You can also combine two drops of lavender oil with two drops of peppermint oil and massage it on the surface of your skin near your ears, on the back of your neck and your forehead.

Peppermint oil – the BEST natural remedy for instant relief from a headache

By Tania Tarafdar

The sweet smelling peppermint oil will not only reduce headache pain but will also relieve stress. Try it out.

Essential oils are really popular. Peppermint is one such versatile essential oil that not only smells wonderful but has many medicinal properties too. The oil can pick-you-up when you have a bad headache by minimising the pain and helping you relax Here’s how it helps you deal with a headache.

• Peppermint oil contains significant amounts of menthol which helps relieve tension headaches by lessening the pain.
• Headaches are often a cause of poor blood flow in the body. Massaging the fresh smelling oil on your forehead will help open and close the blood vessels to promote optimum blood flow [2]. The oil also helps open up the sinuses so that more oxygen can get into the bloodstream.
• Peppermint oil acts as a muscle relaxant and is thus particularly beneficial for tension headaches.
• Stress is a major trigger of a headache. The scent of peppermint oil helps relieve anxiety and stress by promoting a sense of calmness.
Steps to use
• Take 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil on your hands and gently rub the oil on the temples of your forehead and over the sinuses. Ensure that you do not apply the oil anywhere near your eyes.
• You can also combine two drops of lavender oil with two drops of peppermint oil and massage it on the surface of your skin near your ears, on the back of your neck and your forehead.

So would you consider using peppermint oil in place of the over-the-counter medicines for a headache?


5 natural remedies for steam inhalation to get rid of a blocked nose

By Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti

Every time you suffer from a blocked nose, steam inhalation comes to your rescue. Most people add a few drops of eucalyptus oil in steam but there are other natural remedies that can help you to deal with stuffy nose at home. Try using the spice in the last slide when you have a cold.

Mint leaves: Also known as pudina, mint leaves contain menthol, an active ingredient, which acts as an expectorant and opens up the airways, thereby aiding in relaxed breathing. To reap its benefits, add a handful of mint leaves in a litre of boiled water and inhale the steam to get rid of a blocked nose.

Carom seeds: To treat nasal congestion and cold naturally, inhale steam of ajwain infused seeds in hot water at least twice a day. The essential oils in ajwain loosen the mucus filled in the inflamed airway and help treat blocked nose and also pain and discomfort associated with sinusitis.

Peppermint oil: Add few drops (2 – 3 drops) of peppermint essential oil in a litre of boiling water and inhale the steam for instant relief. As the essential oil is a known decongestant, it not only clears the airways but also relieves symptoms like headache and body pain caused due to cold.

Camphor: This home remedy is known to act as an antitussive, nasal decongestant and expectorant agent and lead effective result as it is readily absorbed. It works by stimulating the cold receptors present in the nose and thus, increases air flow. Add 1 gm camphor in a litre of boiling water to get rid of stuffy nose.

Turmeric and tulsi: To a cup of water, add ½ a teaspoon of turmeric, few tulsi leaves and one teaspoon of crushed ajwain seeds and boil the ingredients for 3 – 5 minutes. Inhale the vapours to clear blocked nose [5]. Tulsi is a powerful antitussive (reduces cough) expectorant and turmeric is anti-inflammatory in nature and hence, the combination works to deal with nasal congestion.


What Is Peppermint Oil Good For?

By Joanne Marie

When you think of peppermint flavoring, a favorite ice cream, chewing gum or toothpaste may come to mind. Besides its use in such products, the peppermint plant and its aromatic oil also have a long history in traditional herbal medicine, Today, modern research suggests that peppermint oil may be an effective remedy for several health issues.

Peppermint Oil

The volatile oil extracted from the peppermint plant, Mentha piperita, contains more than 100 different components. However, Its major ingredients are menthol and several chemical variants of menthol, which are largely responsible for its aroma and its pungent flavor. When applied topically, peppermint oil has a numbing effect, a characteristic that has led practitioners of traditional medicine to use it for skin irritations and as a component of chest rubs to ease symptoms of respiratory disorders. As a traditional remedy, peppermint may also be eaten to ease digestive disorders, headaches, menstrual cramps and anxiety.

Effects

Menthol in peppermint oil has several effects on your body, according to experts at Harvard University. It blocks structures in cell membranes called calcium channels, which allow the mineral calcium to enter cells. In muscle cells, peppermint blocks calcium channels in such a way to make the muscles relax. This may explain the calming effect of peppermint on the gastrointestinal tract, where it may suppress nausea but speed the emptying of the stomach. Peppermint oil may also have natural antioxidant properties, according to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Antioxidants protect you from the damaging effects of free radicals, chemicals produced as byproducts of digestion or exposure to environmental toxins.

Research

Clinical research suggests that peppermint oil may help alleviate symptoms of several gastrointestinal disorders, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS. In one study published in the May 2010 issue of "Digestive Diseases and Sciences," subjects with IBS who consumed capsules containing peppermint oil for eight weeks experienced significant improvement in their symptoms, compared to a placebo group. In a laboratory study of peppermint oil extracts and cancer, published in the March 2011 issue of "International Journal of Toxicology," researchers reported that the oil significantly slowed growth and eventually caused the death of six different types of cultured human cancer cells. In addition, Memorial Sloan-Kettering reports that compounds in peppermint oil may provide protection against the damaging effects of several cancer-causing compounds. Evidence that peppermint oil may have anti-cancer effects is promising, but clinical trials with human subjects are needed to confirm this possibility.

How To Use

Peppermint oil is available at most health-food stores, usually in tablets or capsules. Although generally considered safe and without significant side effects, do not take peppermint oil if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, because the oil may worsen symptoms by relaxing the muscle separating your esophagus and stomach. The oil may also interact with some medications, including immuno-suppressive drugs, medicines that reduce stomach acid, diabetes drugs and medications used to treat high blood pressure. Do not take peppermint oil if you are pregnant because its safety during pregnancy has not been established. Discuss peppermint oil with your physician to decide if it might be helpful for your situation.


Beauty Benefits Of Peppermint Oil

By Syeda Farah Noor

There are various benefits of essential oils, specially when it comes to skin care. In this article, we are here to share some of the beauty benefits of peppermint oil. This oil is also known as "pudina ka tel" in Hindi. The oil that is extracted from the herb is pale yellow and aromatic. It has a minty aroma that is quite refreshing and cooling. Peppermint oil is generally used in commercial products such as toothpastes and massage oils.

The major constituent of peppermint is menthol, a volatile oil. This is commonly used in decongestant ointments and inhalers. Peppermint is generally consumed due to the health benefits it has in giving relief from stomach troubles and indigestion. It effectively relieves tension and headaches as well. Apart from these uses, it can also be used as a beauty product. Read on to know more about the various beauty benefits of peppermint and start using it in your beauty regimen for a glowing skin.

Used As A Topical Cream

Peppermint is used in topical creams to cure various skin-related issues. The soothing properties present in peppermint oil can give relief from rashes, poison oak and poison ivy. It has a strong healing effect on the skin.

To Treat Oily Skin

Peppermint leaves have been widely used to get rid of oily and greasy skin. The properties of menthol reduce the secretion of oil from the sebaceous glands that help you to get an oil-free skin. Apply some freshly grounded peppermint leaves or oil directly on to the skin and wash it after a few minutes. This helps to get rid of oily skin in minutes.

Maintains A pH Level Of The Skin

Using peppermint oil helps to manage the pH level of the skin by balancing the production of excess oils, thus reducing acne breakouts. The astringent, antiseptic and inflammatory properties present in this oil helps to reduce blackheads and redness of the skin. Add just 2 drops of peppermint oil in your regular facewash and clean your face to get the desired results.

Fights Sun Problems

Peppermint is a rich source of vitamin C and it also contains omega-3 fatty acids that help to fight against the sun problems. It is a great choice to get rid of sun tan and sun burns. If your skin is sensitive then dilute the oil along with any other essential oil and apply it on the skin.

A Good Facial Scrub

You can make a great scrub using 4-5 drops of peppermint oil, 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 3 teaspoons of table salt. Mix well and use it as a regular scrub. This helps to cool your skin. This is one of the best beauty benefits of peppermint oil.

Excellent Toner

Make your own favourite peppermint oil face toner by mixing peppermint oil (30 drops) along with apple cider vinegar (1/4th cup) and filtered water (3/4th cup). Mix well and store it in a spray bottle. Now, you may use it as a toner when required.

Promotes Hair Growth Peppermint oil has stimulating properties. It penetrates deep into the scalp and stimulates the hair follicles, thereby promoting a good hair growth. It also helps in promoting blood circulation and makes hair roots stronger.

Coconut-Peppermint Homemade Mouthwash Recipe

By Aylin Erman

This mouthwash recipe is a delightful accompaniment to your natural oral care regimen. It gives you that fresh and clean feel without the burning sensation or chemical taste in your mouth of conventional mouthwashes. It’s a mild but effective way to clean your mouth and maintain optimum oral health.

Sure, mainstream mouthwash brands do indeed fight bacteria and prevent gum disease, but they’re not exactly all that good for your overall, long-term health. The artificially blue, green, and off-red elixirs are full of unnatural ingredients, including thymol, hexetidine, and methyl salicylate, additives that are easily absorbed by the body. Luckily, it’s quite easy to pull together a natural mouthwash recipe that not only does the dirty work but also doesn’t harm your health.

In this mouthwash recipe, peppermint oil and coconut oil join forces to refresh your senses, fight bacteria, and prevent cavity formation. Peppermint oil is naturally aromatic and will leave your mouth feeling tingly fresh. Meanwhile, peppermint oil and coconut oil both have inherent antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties to do the work of fighting off tooth decay and gingivitis. Homemade Mouthwash Recipe

Makes 1 cup

• 1 cup lukewarm water
• 2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
• 4 drops peppermint oil
• Dash of sea salt
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Add all of the ingredients to a glass container. Seal the container and shake until all is well combined.

Store away from direct sunlight. When you want to use the mouthwash, swish around a mouthful of it for 30 seconds before spitting it out. Use in the morning or whenever you want to freshen your breath throughout the day.

Note that coconut oil can solidify at temperatures below 76 degrees Fahrenheit, so you may need to warm it slightly to use if this happens. You can soak the bottle or jar in a dish of warm water to return coconut oil to a liquid state.


Peppermint Oil for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

By Dr. Michael Greger

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic, episodic intestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. It affects 1 in 7 Americans, although most go undiagnosed. IBS can have a substantial impact on wellbeing and health, but doctors underestimate the impact the disease can have, particularly the pain and discomfort.

Using some measures, the health-related quality of life of irritable bowel sufferers can rival that of sufferers of much more serious disorders, such as diabetes, kidney failure and inflammatory bowel diseases. The first step toward successful treatment is for doctors to acknowledge the condition and not just dismiss the patient.

Another reason sufferers often don’t seek medical care may be the lack of effectiveness of the available treatments. There is a huge unmet therapeutic need. Since IBS has no cure, treatment is targeted to alleviate the symptoms. Typical antispasmodic drugs can cause side effects, including dry mouth, dizziness, blurred vision, confusion and fall risk. New drugs now on the market, like Lubiprostone and Linaclotide, can cost up to $3,000 a year and cause as many side effects as symptoms we’re trying to treat.

Antidepressants are commonly given but may take weeks or even months to start helping. Prozac or Celexa take 4 to 6 weeks to help, and Paxil can take up to 12 weeks. They also have their own array of side effects, including sexual dysfunction in over 70 percent of the people who take these drugs.

There’s got to be a better way.

I’ve talked about the ethics of so many doctors who effectively pass off sugar pills as effective drugs, arguing that the ends justify their means. There’s actually a way to harness the placebo effect without lying to patients, though. We tell them it’s a sugar pill. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome were randomized to either get nothing or a prescription medicine bottle of placebo pills with a label clearly marked “placebo pills” “take 2 pills twice daily.” I kid you not.

Lo and behold, it worked! That’s how powerful the placebo effect can be for irritable bowel. They conclude that for some disorders it may be appropriate for clinicians to recommend that patients try an inexpensive and safe placebo. Indeed, sugar pills probably won’t cost $3,000 a year. But is there a safe alternative that actually works?

As you can see in my video below, nine randomized placebo-controlled studies have indeed found peppermint oil to be a safe and effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. A few adverse events were reported, but were mild and transient in nature, such as a peppermint taste, peppermint smell, and a cooling sensation around one’s bottom on the way out. In contrast, in some of the head-to-head peppermint versus drug studies, some of the drug side effects were so unbearable that patients had to drop out of the study. This suggests it might be a reasonable approach for clinicians to treat IBS patients with peppermint oil as a first-line therapy before trying anything else.

The longest trial only lasted 12 weeks, so we don’t yet know about long-term efficacy. The benefits may last at least a month after stopping, though, perhaps due to lasting changes in our gut flora.

The studies used peppermint oil capsules so researchers could match them with placebo pills. What about peppermint tea? It’s never been tested, but one might assume it wouldn’t be concentrated enough. However, a quarter cup of fresh peppermint leaves has as much peppermint oil as some of the capsule doses used in the studies.

We doctors need effective treatments that “are cheap, safe, and readily available. This is particularly relevant at the present time as newer and more expensive drugs have either failed to show efficacy or been withdrawn from the market owing to concerns about serious adverse events.” Just like it may be a good idea to only eat foods with ingredients you can pronounce, it may be better to try some mint before novel pharmacological approaches.


In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

IBS: Peppermint Oil May Be a Treatment Option

By Ed Susman (Contributing Writer, MedPage Today)

- Slow-release formula offers relief within an hour.

WASHINGTON -- A slow-release peppermint oil (IBgard) appeared to significantly reduce severe abdominal symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), researchers said here.

At 28 days, the number of severe and unbearable symptoms was reduced by 66% among patients taking peppermint oil compared with a reduction of 42% among patients on placebo (P=0.0212), reported Brooks Cash, MD, of the University of South Alabama in Mobile, and colleagues.

When patients with severe or unbearable abdominal pain took peppermint oil, they reported a 79.4% reduction in symptoms while placebo patients reported a 40.2% reduction in symptoms after 4 weeks of therapy (P<0.0009), they stated in a poster presentation at the Digestive Disease Week annual meeting.

"I have begun to prescribe this peppermint oil formula for my patients with irritable bowel syndrome," Cash told MedPage Today. "We had no discontinuations in either the placebo or the active ingredient arm of the trial due to problems with the agents. In fact, we had some patients who, after completion of the trial, told me they wanted to continue the treatment. We had a lot of positive feedback from the patients."

Cash said that, even after 24 hours treatment, treatment with peppermint oil began to show an impact in symptoms. There was a 21% reduction in symptoms with placebo and a 30% reduction in symptoms with peppermint oil (P=0.0910), he and colleagues reported.

L-menthol, the main constituent of peppermint oil, has anti-spasmodic, anti-carminative, topical analgesic, anti-infective, and 5-HT3 receptor antagonism properties, the authors explained.

IBgard is "a unique formulation of ultra-purified peppermint oil," they wrote.

"The peppermint oil that you can buy over-the-counter comes typically as capsules or gel caps that are subject to unpredictable dosing delivery," Cash said. As a result, patients who have early release of peppermint oil can experience heartburn and dyspepsia, he explained, while patients who have later release can experience anal burning and lower gastrointestinal symptoms.

"It's really the [IBgard] delivery system that is designed to get the peppermint oil out of the stomach and into the small intestine where it is PH-released and where, we believe, it is having its primary effect," he said.

The group recruited 35 patients who were assigned to treatment with peppermint oil and 37 patients who were assigned to placebo. One patient in each arm withdrew from the study. All the patients were required to meet the Rome III criteria for IBS, and had to have an average daily score of 4 or greater on a 10-point scale, as well as a Total IBS Symptom Score of 2 or greater.

The patient population had a mean age of about 40 and 80% were women. The majority were Caucasian.

IBS symptoms that the patients rated as severe or unbearable included abdominal pain or discomfort, abdominal bloating, constipation, and passage of gas or mucus.

Across the groups, the reduction in symptoms ranged from 30% to 50% at 1 hour, while the reduction in symptoms after 28 days ranged from 70% to 90%.

"Peppermint oil [treatment] is not a new idea," Cash acknowledged. "The key here is to minimize those side effects that can occur with peppermint oil while taking advantage of the benefits."

Syed Shah, PhD, a researcher at IM HealthScience in Boca Raton, Fla., told MedPage Today that the product is expected to be on pharmacy shelves in June. He said IBGard, which is an IM HealthScience product, will sell for about $30 for a package of 48 tablets. During the study, two tablets were taken 30 minutes to 90 minutes before a meal, three times a day.

"Even though we didn't study it, I think patients will take the peppermint oil as needed," Cash said. "At this point we have no evidence that there is a carryover effect -- pain relief will be achieved after the medication is discontinued."

In commenting on the study, John Wysocki, MD, a fellow in gastroenterology at Tulane University in New Orleans, told MedPage Today that "peppermint oil has been used for generations, even hundreds of years for various stomach problems, so the use of this product in irritable bowel syndrome is not surprising. That's why they give peppermint [candies] away in restaurants."

"There haven't been great studies on it, but there is some kind of interplay between peppermint and discomfort after eating," he added. "It is helpful because it helps to relax things in the gut and lets digestive juices, air, etc., do what they need to do and calm down a stomach that might be uncomfortable."


10 Peppermint Oil Health Benefits That Will Shock You

By Rubelle Carmeli Tan

Here are some peppermint oil health benefits that will shock you. We may know it as flavoring in food and beverages. Peppermint is also a common fragrance in soaps and cosmetics.

The Peppermint oil health benefits will make you appreciate this accessible plant more. And what more, we can easily grow this herb at home, Asianet India reports.

Take a look at this 10 ways to use this incredible herb

Pain relief

Peppermint oil is an effective natural painkiller that can soothe an aching back, sore muscles as well as relieves a tension headache. It is also a muscle relaxant and has a cooling effect that works like an ice pack that soothes pain on an affected area.

Treat nausea and headaches

The anti-inflammatory properties of peppermint can also prevent symptoms of nausea. Using peppermint oil to treat headaches will help lessen the pain whether you use it by applying externally on your temple area or inhaling it for faster relief.

Relief for respiratory problems

The essential oil of peppermint can open the airways and act as a decongestant. It can unclog sinus and provides relief to itchy throats. Peppermint is also an effective expectorant and can provide relief for colds, cough, sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis.

Increase immunity

For a stronger immune system, include peppermint oil in your daily diet. The unique properties of peppermint can keep infections away and improve the function of your immune system.

Better blood circulation

A significant benefit of peppermint is its natural properties to improve blood circulation. The peppermint oil can offer improved blood circulation which will you in keeping diseases at bay.

Beautiful hair

The peppermint is a powerful antiseptic and can surely help remove dandruff and even lice. Include an essential oil in your morning shampoo and conditioner to stimulate the scalp, refresh the mind and generally perks you up!

Treat urinary tract infection

Antibacterial properties are also present in peppermint oil and can address UTI-related concerns. A number of studies show that this oil can prevent the infection from recurring.

Better digestion

Peppermint oil is a natural alternative to drugs that reduce spasms in the colon. The peppermint oil can relax the muscles of the intestines that will eventually reduce bloating and gas.

Acne treatment

Facial treatments using peppermint oil are also quite effective as the herb has an anti-microbial property that is an excellent ingredient that aids in natural acne treatment.

Natural bug repellent

Apparently, ticks are not the only bugs that hate peppermint oil. You may also include ants, spiders, cockroaches, mosquitoes and even mice.



Benefits of peppermint oil

By Simi Kuriakose

Peppermint is not just an an ingredient in flavoured chewing gums. Here's more to this herb. The herb is a hybrid of two plants, water mint and spearmint and is beneficial both cosmetically as well as medically.

When extracted as an pil, it is one of the many essential oils and is used extensively in perfumes and colognes. Peppermint oil is both rejuvenating and refreshing. It not only strengthens the immune system but also eases mental exhaustion. The oil can be used to give you a healthy scalp and healthy hair. Add a few drops of peppermint oil to your daily shampoo and it can help reduce that dandruff. Another benefit is it allows taming frizzy hair and brings about a shine to it. Peppermint oil can also bring about hair growth. The oil usage is not just a boon to the hair but also the skin and lips.

Not only does it help control oil secretion of the skin but also clears it and brightens tired skin. The oil prevents acne and helps open pores. Peppermint oil helps heal cracked lips, and this is the reason why this oil is an active ingredient in chapsticks and lip glosses. The oil has a soothing effect (because of menthol that's present in it), and so can be used on wind-chapped or sun-burnt lip as it will give a cooling and refreshing effect on the skin.

Please note that pepperment oil is really stong and when used, it should be diluted with a carrier oil, else it can cause side effects.


Fight hair loss and promote hair growth with peppermint oil

By Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti

If you are done with trying every product that claims to enhance hair growth, try peppermint oil this time!

Unless your hair fall is triggered by genetic factors, you can control hair loss and even promote hair growth by making few changes to your routine. Although with simple diet changes and following proper hair care tips you can control hair fall, in some cases it is not due to nutritional deficiencies. In such instances, investing in expensive and branded products is the only option left. However, going natural by including essential oil in your beauty cabinet might also do the trick. When you browse online sites for products to promote hair growth, check for peppermint essential oil this time.

How does it work?

According to a study published in the Journal Toxicological Research, peppermint oil not only aids in the hair growth but also increases the activity of alkaline phosphatase enzyme, which is a known biomarker for hair growth [1]. The topical application of peppermint essential oil (PEO) not only caused an increase in dermal thickness, hair follicle number and hair follicle depth but also promoted hair growth. After four weeks, PEO showed about 92% hair growth as compared to minoxidil (MXD, which is a widely used drug to treat androgenetic alopecia), which showed only 55%. Moreover, PEO promoted hair growth and strength as it stimulated hair follicles from the epidermis, topmost layer of the skin.

How should you use peppermint oil?

To deal with excessive hair loss and bald patches, dilute few drops of peppermint essential oil with coconut oil and apply it on the scalp. But don’t forget to massage the scalp as it improves blood circulation and stimulates the scalp for hair growth. You can even mix it with the shampoo or conditioner and use it for washing your hair. Do this for at least four weeks or a month for effective results.


5 Health Benefits Of Peppermint

(Huffington Post)

In the midst of all the indulgence and decadence this time of year, it’s comforting to know there are some very real health benefits to some of the most common flavors of the season.

Between candy canes and Christmas bark, peppermint is giving cinnamon a run for its money as stand-out spice of the holiday season. And we’re thankful for that, considering the following:

Peppermint Tames Stomach Trouble Folk wisdom suggests peppermint might aid all sorts of gut problems, ranging from nausea to menstrual cramps, but the most scientific evidence exists for its powerful response to irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. A 2007 Italian study found that IBS symptoms were significantly reduced among 75 percent of patients who took peppermint oil capsules for a month. Of those who were given a placebo pill, only 38 percent reported any alleviation, Harvard Women’s Health Watch reported.

A 2011 Australian study that set about to explain why peppermint seems to be so powerful discovered it “activates an ‘anti-pain’ channel in the colon, soothing inflammatory pain in the gastrointestinal tract,” according to a statement.

Peppermint Curbs Cravings

Here’s a neat trick: Just smelling a candy cane might convince you not to eat one. In a 2011 study, people were asked to smell peppermint oil every two hours. They reported not feeling as hungry as people who didn’t get a whiff, plus they ate 2,800 fewer calories throughout the week, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Peppermint Eases Tension Headaches

Tension headaches, most often brought on by stress, anxiety and alcohol consumption (during the holidays? Never!), may be quelled by a little topical peppermint oil. In a small 1996 study, rubbing a peppermint oil solution on the forehead and temples eased headache pain just as effectively as acetaminophen after 15 minutes.

Peppermint Could Boost Concentration

The scent of peppermint may also give us a mental perk. A small body of research conducted by Wheeling Jesuit University has linked smelling peppermint to greater alertness, motivation and even performance. One Maryland middle school went as far as ordering 3,600 peppermint candies for students to enjoy during a series of state-wide tests, the Washington Post reported.

Peppermint May Relieve A Stuffy Nose

One of the two biggest active ingredients in peppermint is menthol, the compound that gives so many of those over-the-counter cold and cough remedies their minty smell. There’s little evidence sniffing the stuff actually clears your nasal passages, but it seems to trick your brain into thinking it does. People report greater perception of an un-stuffy nose, even if little physically changed after inhaling pepperminty products. Sometimes when you’re really under the weather, that might be good enough!


Health Benefits Of Peppermint Oil

(Asia Net India)

Way before the advent of modern medicine, people across the globe used to rely on natural remedies to cure various health-related problems. Be it a respiratory problem or a skin-related one, natural remedies were used to not just cure illness but also to prevent them from recurring. One such remarkable natural remedy that is highly beneficial for your health is peppermint oil. It is an essential oil derived from the plant of peppermint. It is often used for culinary purposes, in skin and hair care products and even in a few dietary supplements. But, very few people are aware of the fact that this remarkable essential oil can treat an array of health problems.

It is hailed as a natural cooling agent and pain reliever that is jam-packed with antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These unique properties of peppermint oil enable it to combat infections and keep an individual healthy and safe from heath-related problems.Here are some health benefits of peppermint oil.

Health benefits of peppermint oil are:

1.For Pain Relief: Often hailed as a mighty pain reliever, peppermint oil is a natural refrigerant that works like an ice pack to soothe pain. Applying it on the affected area, be it on an injury or spasm, can you give you relief from the pain and also reduce inflammation.

2.To Treat Nausea And Headache: You can either externally apply this oil or inhale it to get relief from the agonising and annoying headaches. Also, it eases the symptoms of nausea, as it has anti-inflammatory properties.

3.For Respiratory Problems: You can either externally apply this oil or inhale it to get relief from the agonising and annoying headaches. Also, it eases the symptoms of nausea, as it has anti-inflammatory properties.

4.To Increase Immunity: A poor-performing immune system makes an individual fall sick every now and then. For strengthening your immune system, you can include this oil in your daily diet. Its unique properties will keep infections at bay and improve your immune system’s function.

5.For A Better Blood Circulation: Another remarkable health benefit of peppermint oil is that it is known to possess properties that enable it to improve the circulation of blood. An improved blood circulation is great for maintaining a healthy living and keeping diseases away.

6.For A Beautiful Skin And Hair : This oil is enriched with cooling agents that can treat an array of skin and health-related issues. Be it preventing acne, blemishes or getting rid of dandruff, this oil is a simple answer for getting beautiful skin and hair.

7.For Treating Urinary Tract Infection: The antibacterial properties present in peppermint oil can also treat UTI-related issues. As per a few studies, consuming this oil can also prevent this infection from recurring.

8.For A Better Digestion: If you’ve been suffering from bloating or indigestion, then you might want to consider including this oil in your diet. This oil can aid in your bowel movement and promote a better digestion.

These are the health benefits of peppermint oil.


3 Peppermint Oil Uses For Clear Skin And Healthy Hair

By Kristin Collins Jackson

My own personal hell is getting my nails done. My worst experience of life occurred the day before my college roommate's wedding: I reluctantly went with the rest of the bridal party to have my first mani-pedi combo. Not only did I secretly balk at the price, despite this being a gift from the bride, but I also wasn't stoked about the 50 shades of pink to choose from. After choosing a pink I felt I could live with (without my old punk rock buddies wondering if I was having an identity crisis), I begrudgingly sat in the chair. It wasn't until I was under a nail dryer that I started to notice the weird tingling sensation on my hands and feet was becoming less of a tingle and more of fire under my skin. I looked at my feet and they were covered in hives. I ripped my hands from underneath the dryer and they were beet-red. A horrifying amount of bumps now covered my hands. Turns out, the sweet almond oil found in a lot of lotions at nail salons is not so sweet when you have a tree nut allergy. Once the swelling went down however; I loved my nails. I wanted them painted for the rest of my life and needed to find a way to give myself and my pals a killer manicure sans hives!

Enter peppermint oil: Its cooling menthol and fresh minty flavor makes this one of my all-time favorite essential oils. The reason you can find it in so many shampoos, face washes, and toothpastes? Peppermint oil is a natural antiseptic with an ability to wake up worn-out skin and manage oil production. That means it's a dope ingredient for your hair, skin, and nails.

Unlike its sister oils, peppermint has scientifically proven medicinal and therapeutic properties, as well as holding the title as the world's oldest medicine! This minty ingredient has Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin A & C, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium — so it'll to whip dry skin, stubborn nail beds, and blemish-prone skin into shape!

The best news is that you can easily grow your own peppermint. Personally, I'm a terrible gardener, but the two things I've mastered are basil, and peppermint. Convenient, since these are herbs I use often and cringe when I see the prices at my local grocer. Check out this super-easy and cost-effective way to maintain your natural beauty and brush up on your gardening skills from Little House Living's page on growing and extracting your own peppermint oil. Whether you've decided to harvest your own oil or take a quick trip to the grocery, check out these choice recipes below.

Nail Treatment

Every so often, I sit down and give my nails some actual TLC, instead of just adding more paint to my chipping nail beds. To do this I mix about 2 ounces of castor oil, which has bomb anti-fungal and healing properties, and several dashes of peppermint oil. I like to dip each nail in the solution, then let my fingertips chill and absorb the oil for a few minutes before I rinse or do any serious nail maintenance. The castor strengthens my nail beds during filing or buffing and the peppermint oil provides that much desired cooling effect while acting as an additional moisturizer. Bonus tip for your pedi: Dilute Epsum salt with peppermint oil to relax tired, dry feet. You'll get the ultimate spa treatment for only a few bucks!

Peppermint Toothpaste

There are a ton of natural recipes for toothpaste out there. I like to limit my ingredients, so my favorite rendition is super simple, affordable, and includes ingredients that I already use on my hair and skin. To make a batch, you'll need coconut oil, baking soda, and peppermint oil. Mix about 3 parts baking soda to 1 part coconut oil (shoot for a creamy paste) and then add about 5 drops of peppermint oil. As always, use your judgment with these portions — you will learn with trial and error how much baking soda to coconut oil you want to use. Once you've whipped up your paste, apply directly on your toothbrush, and brush as normal. Say 'ahhhh' because not only have you made an alternative to a pricey all natural toothpaste, you're also naturally brightening your teeth and fighting bacteria!

Blemish Spot Treatment

This is what I love about peppermint oil: You can literally use it everywhere! I first used peppermint oil as a spot treatment on my face, albeit reluctantly, when I ran out of my usual acne-fighting essential oil. Fortunately, I found that peppermint works amazing on pimples and is super effective at diminishing the redness and swelling of that not-so-cute zit. Just use equal parts vitamin E and jojoba oil (or grape seed), and add a few drops of peppermint oil. PS: This is a great substitute for anyone that has a low tolerance to tea tree oil. Apply your treatment directly onto your blemish before bed until you see that sucker vanish! The additional benefit to using peppermint oil over tea tree is most definitely the scent but also I find it less drying when I want to treat an entire section of my face that's prone to breakouts.

Great news if you can't get enough of that natural menthol flava: peppermint oil is a solid choice for shiny hair and stimulates hair growth, too.


Peppermint oil, cinnamon may help treat, heal chronic wounds

By Stephen Feller

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Researchers found a way to package compounds from peppermint oil and cinnamon into tiny capsules to kill bacteria and promote the growth of cells important in wound healing.

Essential oils, concentrated hydrophobic liquids that contain extracts from plants and flowers, have previously been shown as effective anti-microbial agents in studies for wound dressings.

"Essential oils and other natural compounds have emerged recently as alternative substances that can get rid of pathogenic bacteria, but researchers have had a hard time translating their antibacterial activity into treatments," researchers said in a press release.

In the study, published in ACS Nano, peppermint oil and cinnamaldehyde, the compound in cinnamon responsible for its flavor and aroma, were packed into silica nanoparticles. Microcapsules of these particles were shown to be effective against four types of bacteria, one of which was antibiotic-resistant.

In addition to the substances' antibacterial qualities, researchers found the combination of oils also promoted the growth of fibroblasts, a cell type important in wound healing.

Researchers said their hope was for the new material to be used in topical antibacterial treatments and disinfectants.

Similar combinations of essential oils have also been found to be effective in studies for fibrous wound dressings and to create alginate films, which could be used for food packaging and indoor air quality improvement materials.


2 Ways To Get Relief From Sore Throat Using Peppermint

By Somya Ojha

Does your throat feel scratchy? Does it hurt to swallow food or even water? If you nodded and answered yes to the above questions, then you must read on. Sore throats are often caused by harmful viruses and bacteria. However, a number of other reasons can contribute to this problem. There are a plethora of over-the-counter pills that you can take to subside the symptoms and get a good relief from the discomfort.

But, popping in those pills could cause side effects or harm your body in general. That is why, it is always better to opt for home remedies that can give your relief in a natural way. One such home remedy, which is often deemed as a powerful one for treating sore throat is peppermint. Peppermint possesses unique properties that enable it to treat infections and give relief from inflammation. It is antiseptic and antibacterial in nature. So, read on to know more about the ways in which you can use peppermint to get relief from sore throat.

1. Gargle With It:

This is a traditional way of soothing sore throat. Just steep 2-3 peppermint tea bags in a cup of hot water. Keep it steeped for 5-10 minutes and then, let the mix cool off. Then, use the cooled peppermint tea to gargle. Do this at least 2-3 times and you'll be able to feel the difference.

2. Take A Steam With It:

Taking a steam is considered to be highly beneficial for treating respiratory problems. Just add a few drops of peppermint oil in a bowl of hot water and take the steam for 10-15 minutes. This will give your a great relief from the discomfort and scratchy feeling. It is critical to be mindful of the fact that if the feeling of sore throat is persistent in nature, it could be a warning sign of a repressed health issue. In that case, it is highly advised to consult with an ENT specialist.


How to make your own herb tincture or peppermint oil

By Peg Moline

Many of the studies done on herbs use an extraction of the plant. Oils are usually used externally; tinctures are for internal use (oil of oregano is actually a tincture).

Here are recipes for a tincture and peppermint oil from Gayle Engels of the American Botanical Council:

For an herb tincture

1. Pack fresh herbs into a clean glass jar with a tight lid.

2. Fill with 80-proof vodka.

3. Cover the mouth of the jar with wax paper or plastic wrap. Close the lid tightly and shake well. Keep in a dark place for four to six weeks, shaking daily.

4. Strain and keep the liquid in a glass bottle. Label with the name and date. It will keep for years in a brown glass bottle in a dark cabinet. Add 10% glycerin to make it more palatable, or you can use glycerin if you don't want to ingest alcohol.

For peppermint oil

1. Crush or muddle fresh peppermint leaves in a glass jar with a tight lid.

2. Cover the leaves with olive or grapeseed oil. Close the jar and shake.

3. Store for three days. Strain into a bowl and discard the leaves.

4. Pack the jar with fresh leaves, pour the oil back in the jar and cover with fresh oil. Repeat until you have the desired amount.

Twenty drops of the oil should be diluted with 1.5 ounces of another oil — coconut or almond, for example — before using it topically, and with water (1 cup per five to 10 drops of oil) for mouthwash. Never put essential oils directly on your skin (they can burn).


Peppermint Aromatherapy for Nausea

By Dr. Michael Greger

One of the most common fears patients express when facing surgery is postoperative nausea and/or vomiting, which ranges from minor queasiness to protracted periods of vomiting.

Feeling sick to one’s stomach and throwing up after surgery is a common problem, affecting between a quarter and a half of those placed under general anesthesia, and more than half of those at high risk, meaning women who don’t smoke and have a history of motion sickness.

We’ve explored the science behind treating nausea with ginger, but if you’re too nauseous to eat, what do you do? Well, people are often sent home with anti-nausea rectal suppositories. Surveys, however, show that cultural and sexual attitudes may make a number of people sensitive to anything involving the rectum, especially when you’re feeling sick and throwing up.

And for women after a C-section, they might not want to take drugs regardless of the orifice if they’re breastfeeding, so researchers decided to put aromatherapy to the test. Research has shown that essential oils of both spearmint and peppermint are effective in reducing nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy, but this was after taking them internally—swallowing them.

Would just the smell of peppermint help with nausea? They had women take deep whiffs of peppermint extract (like you’d buy at a store) and it seemed to work. While none sniffing plain water with green food coloring felt better, 80 percent of the mint sniffers felt better within just a few minutes.

The study was criticized for being small, and for not using pure peppermint oil. Peppermint extract is peppermint oil plus alcohol. Maybe it was the smell of alcohol that made people better? And that’s actually not too much of a stretch.

In 1997, researchers reported a simple, innocuous, and inexpensive treatment for postoperative nausea and vomiting—the smell of isopropyl alcohol, which is what is found in those alcohol wipes, the little prep pads that nurses swab you with before shots. They found that they could just effectively tear one open and wave it under someone’s nose and relieve nausea and vomiting in more than 80 percent of folks after surgery. It has been since shown to work as well as a leading anti-nausea drug, and may even work faster, cutting nausea in half within 10 to 15 minutes, rather than 20 or 25.

So was it the alcohol, the peppermint, or both? Researchers decided to put it to the test. They instructed patients to take three slow, deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, smelling alcohol, peppermint, or nothing. The smell of peppermint cut nausea in half within five minutes, and so did the alcohol. But so did smelling nothing! So maybe it had nothing to do with the scent; maybe it was just the instruction to take slow deep breaths. That would make it a really cost-effective intervention. Maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising, given the proximity of the vomiting and breathing centers within the brain.

And indeed controlled breathing was effective with or without any scent. So next time you feel nauseous, inhale deeply through your nose to the count of three, hold your breath to the count of three, and exhale out the mouth to the count of three. And do that three times.

Ironically, the researchers continued to advocate using those nasty smelling alcohol pads even though they themselves showed they weren’t any more effective than breathing alone. Why? Because since isopropyl alcohol has a readily detectable odor, patients are more likely to think that their post-operation nausea and vomiting is being actively treated when they inhale alcohol vapors rather than just engaging in breathing exercises.

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.


The Healing Power of Peppermint

By Brandi Woolf

Spring is floating around out there somewhere, just waiting for its moment to, well, spring. It’s been quite the winter around the majority of the country, bringing moisture that was well needed; there is no arguing that. I think for most of us though, we are ready to move on. We are ready to dig our hands into the dirt and feel the sunshine on our faces.

One of the things I most look forward to is the smell of mint in the air. It grows wild throughout my yard and when a strong breeze kicks up, it sets me on a peppermint cloud, bringing me to a standstill from whatever task I happen to be involved in at the moment. I know that for many, the mint family is a nuisance, spreading like wildfire wherever its heart desires. But for me, that nuisance was a blessing for my less than green thumb when I began my journey into the gardening world. And when I discovered just how useful the sprawling bugger was, it was easy to say: let it grow.

Peppermint Healing Properties

Though many in the mint family pack a whole health wallop, the herb we are loving on presently is Mentha Piperita, or Peppermint. This common weed is widely used for its properties as an antibacterial (inhibiting the growth of bacteria), antiseptic (applied to skin to prevent bacterial growth), and carminative (to relieve gas and griping). It is also a mild analgesic (pain relief without loss of consciousness) and has nervine (calm nervous tension and nourish the nervous system) properties.

Let’s begin with the easiest and most common form for getting that healing dose of peppermint: A simple cup of tea, made by steeping about 1 tsp of the dried herb or 2 tsp of the fresh leaves in 8 ounces of boiled water for about 15 minutes, is a lovely remedy for many everyday ailments, including headaches and stomach upset. Drinking a cup of peppermint tea about an hour after a meal helps to keep your digestive juices in working order and when taken prior to eating, might help you to avoid gas pains. Its mild anesthetic properties can sooth the stomach wall and relieve the vomiting associated with pregnancy and motion sickness.

Peppermint can help to relieve anxiety and maintain focus, aiding those who deal with daily stress. And while it can be a soothing herb, it also has the opposite function of encouraging circulatory flow and treating lethargy. A cup or two of a stronger brew, say a tbsp of herb per 8 ounces hot water, can offer you a boost without the caffeine hangover. It’s a valuable help for colds and flu. I usually turn to peppermint when I feel a cold coming on. Making an extra strong dose and letting it steep for an hour or two will usually do the trick when caught early. Right now though, I go easy on the peppermint because I’m breastfeeding and it has been known to reduce mother’s milk.

Other Uses for Peppermint

Another way to utilize the tea is for compresses. Soaking a clean towel in the hot, steeped herb can do wonders for headaches. Just place the towel on your forehead, lie down and relax. You can use the same method for sunburn. Just allow the towel to cool and replace as needed.

In addition to the herb, I always keep some pure peppermint essential oil on hand. It packs a bigger punch than the fresh or dried herb and one or two drops will usually do the job. A drop massaged into each temple always eases my headaches. Be sure to wash your hands afterwards because you DO NOT want to get it in your eyes. If you do: washing your eyes out with cool water will usually help. Because of its antiseptic properties, a couple drops of the oil on a minor kitchen burn or scrape can help sterilize the skin and ease the pain.

Putting a few drops into steaming water and draping your head over the water with a towel can relieve sinus congestion. You can also put a couple drops into your palms and rub them together briskly, creating warmth, and then cup your hands at your nose and breathe deeply. This also helps for concentration and focus. But be careful to only breathe this two or three times, as this can stimulate the heart and possibly cause lightheadedness and burning eyes. Use in an aromatherapy diffuser to provide an overall uplifting and enthusiastic feeling to any room.

I keep a bar of peppermint soap in my shower. For me, there is nothing like the magic of mint in a steaming bath or shower. It lifts my spirit and is super soothing for skin rashes. Adding a few drops of oil to your favorite lotion makes a great foot balm, and gargling with an infusion of the herb freshens the breath!

While the benefits of this herb are far-reaching, exercise caution if you are pregnant or nursing. Do not overuse peppermint in any form for any condition. The suggestions printed here are from experiences I’ve benefited from personally and do not mean they will work the same for you. Every body is different. Consult your doctor if you are more comfortable doing so.

The possibilities of this aromatic herb are many, far more than what I’ve included here. I encourage you to explore it further and maybe plant some in your own yard to enjoy its plentiful benefits. However, if you would like to avoid a mint takeover, I’d suggest potting it.

Visit me at Folkways Farm, to read about urban farm life and the happy shenanigans of my family! Thanks for reading Mother Earth News!

My resources for this article include: The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal, by David Hoffmann, The Essential Herbal for Natural Health, by Holly Bellebuono, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, by Valerie Ann Worwood, and The Way of Herbs, by Michael Tierra.


Peppermint oil and cinnamon could help treat and heal chronic wounds

(ACS)

"Nanoparticle-Stabilized Capsules for the Treatment of Bacterial Biofilms" -- ACS Nano

Infectious colonies of bacteria called biofilms that develop on chronic wounds and medical devices can cause serious health problems and are tough to treat. But now scientists have found a way to package antimicrobial compounds from peppermint and cinnamon in tiny capsules that can both kill biofilms and actively promote healing. The researchers say the new material, reported in the journal ACS Nano, could be used as a topical antibacterial treatment and disinfectant.

Many bacteria clump together in sticky plaques in a way that makes them difficult to eliminate with traditional antibiotics. Doctors sometimes recommend cutting out infected tissues. This approach is costly, however, and because it’s invasive, many patients opt out of treatment altogether. Essential oils and other natural compounds have emerged recently as alternative substances that can get rid of pathogenic bacteria, but researchers have had a hard time translating their antibacterial activity into treatments. Vincent M. Rotello and colleagues wanted to address this challenge.

The researchers packaged peppermint oil and cinnamaldehyde, the compound in cinnamon responsible for its flavor and aroma, into silica nanoparticles. The microcapsule treatment was effective against four different types of bacteria, including one antibiotic-resistant strain. It also promoted the growth of fibroblasts, a cell type that is important in wound healing.

The authors acknowledge funding from Firmenich, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.


What sorghum and peppermint oil have in common

By Cathy Barrow

Once the weather turns seriously cold, and seasonal DIY pickings are slim, I keep my curiosity fueled by exploring ingredients new to me. In past years, such focused cooking has led to a February of piment d’Espelette, a March of single-source honeys and an entire winter devoted to California olive oils.

This year, it’s sorghum, a thick, sweet syrup sold across the South, and peppermint oil, an alternative to peppermint extract. Although they couldn’t be more different, these two intriguing flavors are made for do-it-yourself Valentine’s Day sweets.

I’ve been getting to know sorghum, and I’m not the only one. Sorghum seems to be having a moment in the sun, but it’s not new by any stretch of the imagination. The sorghum plant grows across Africa and was carried to the United States on slave ships and planted across the southern part of our country. It is particularly productive, offering grain for a fine flour and a sweet syrup made from its stalks.

North Carolinians have been pouring sorghum syrup over biscuits forever. Once I had sorghum in the pantry, I made plenty of biscuits, but I also learned to add a glug to a marinade for grilled chicken. And when I swapped sorghum for molasses in a cookie recipe, I understood why it’s called a gingersnap. Sorghum makes for a snappy cookie. Molasses wishes it had sorghum’s complexity: that dusky tang, rich sweetness and smooth finish.

It wasn’t until I met sorghum that I discovered my perfect caramel. I’ve made caramels with chilies and chocolate, with honey and with brown sugar; in this caramel, particularly when paired with brown butter, sorghum practically sings “Hallelujah!” This is a caramel worthy of your valentine.

As with sorghum, it has taken me time to get to know peppermint oil. A friend recommended that I try baking with peppermint oil instead of peppermint extract, emphatically stating that the flavor was clean and better and would change my mind about minty chocolate baked goods.

Peppermint oil is pressed from peppermint leaves, and it’s sold at baking supply stores, at natural-foods stores and via online purveyors. The more familiar peppermint extract is made by infusing mint leaves in alcohol and is widely available. The flavor of the oil is clear, bright and fresh, suffusing the food with a minty oomph. The flavor of peppermint extract dulls with cooking as the alcohol burns off. Food made with extract doesn’t hold a candle to the same food made with oil.

I tested the two by making brownies, white chocolate bark and ice cream sauce. I am sold; I will forevermore use peppermint oil instead of extract. Because peppermint oil is meted out in drops, a small bottle of it will last a very long time. Be wary, however; it is strong. Too many drops, and the mint flavor can overwhelm everything (and stay with you for hours, like bad takeout). Start small — a drop or two — then add more only after tasting once the first drops have been fully incorporated.

In just a few minutes, melted chocolate and cream with no more than five drops of peppermint oil transforms into a shiny, rich, dark chocolate sauce ready for spooning over ice cream, drizzling on pound cake and enrobing marshmallows. Pour it into the prettiest jar for gift giving.

Beyond delicious sweets in time for Valentine’s Day, I’m sure these wintertime experiments will find their way into my summer jams. A dab of peppermint will sharpen the naturally tart flavor of strawberry. And I can’t stop thinking about sorghum ice cream over a bubbling peach crisp. I bet it will be a match made in heaven.


20 Nifty Reasons to Use Peppermint Oil Around the House

By Rona Horowitz

Peppermint is one essential oil you probably don't have at home, but should! As one of the oldest European herbs used for medicinal purposes, peppermint is great to have on hand to remedy a variety of aliments, but that's not all! Peppermint oil has tons of unexpected benefits you'll be glad you know about.

• Clean surfaces: Peppermint oil is full of natural antibacterial and antifungal properties. Just mix some of the oil with water and vinegar to create an all-purpose house cleaner and get scrubbing!
• Fight hunger: Smelling the scent of peppermint will make you feel fuller faster and help curb your appetite!
• Odour control: A few drops of peppermint oil at the bottom of your kitchen or bathroom garbage will mask smelly odours.
• Toothache: Gargling peppermint oil with water will give you toothache relief and a dab of diluted peppermint oil, applied with your finger, is also great for teething babies!
• Stop the itch: Applying a few drops of peppermint oil will stop the itching from bug bites, hives, or poison ivy.
• Alertness: A few drops of peppermint oil under your nose will keep you alert throughout the day.
• Beverages: Give your favourite beverage a peppermint twist by adding a few drops of peppermint oil (to taste).
• Ticks: Soaking a cotton ball in peppermint oil will free a tick from its tight latch on your skin.
• Bad breath: A drop of peppermint oil will give you minty-fresh breath, and if you mix a few drops with water, you can make peppermint mouthwash.
• Indigestion/Constipation: Massaging the oil into your lower abdomen will relieve indigestion pain and get things moving again.
• Chest cold: Rubbing a few drops of peppermint oil on your chest will help break up mucus and open up your airways.
• Hiccups: Applying peppermint oil to both sides of the vertebrae on your neck will help you get rid of the hiccups.
• Motion sickness/Nausea: Massaging a few drops of peppermint oil into your wrists and abdomen will help combat your nausea. Making a cup of peppermint tea will also soothe your sick feeling.
• Sore feet: A peppermint oil foot bath will give your aching feet some much-needed relief.
• Headache: Rubbing a few drops of peppermint oil into your temples and the back of your neck will help subdue your headache pressure.
• Allergies: Mixing peppermint oil with lemon will open the airways that are under attack.
• Stomach pain/Menstrual cramps: Peppermint oil has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic qualities. Massaging a few drops into your sore muscles will help relieve pain, reduce boating, and combat spasms that cause cramps.
• Plant maintenance: Spray peppermint oil mixed with water to kill the aphids on your plants.
• Keep bugs and rodents away: Mixing 10 to 15 drops of peppermint oil with water creates a homemade bug repellent. Spray any cracks where bugs can get into your home, and it will keep them out. Placing soaked cotton balls also works great to keep pesky mice and raccoons out of your home.
• Shampoo: Adding peppermint oil to your shampoo will help stimulate your scalp and help get rid of dandruff



News: Peppermint could improve exercise performance

By Katharine Watts (Associate Web Editor, Best Health)

If you want to give your workout an extra boost, you might want to add a drop of peppermint oil to your daily diet.

A new study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, shows that peppermint is an effective way to boost athletic performance.

Study volunteers (12 healthy young males) drank a bottle of mineral water containing 0.05’ml peppermint essential oil for ten days. A treadmill test showed that it had a positive impact on their performance.

"The results of the experiment support the effectiveness of peppermint essential oil on the exercise performance, gas analysis, spirometry parameters, blood pressure, and respiratory rate in the young male students," the study’s authors wrote.

In other words, peppermint oil could make you a better runner, boost your breathing during a workout and improve your blood pressure and heart rate.

Would you use peppermint oil to boost your performance?



Enhance Athletic Performance with Peppermint

By Dr. Michael Greger

Ever since smoking was prohibited in night clubs, customers have increasingly noticed other unpleasant smells present in the club—like body odors. So, researchers in Europe thought they’d try to cover them up. The researchers measured the effects of peppermint, for example, on dancing activity and asked people to rate their energy level. They found that with peppermint scent, people felt more cheerful and danced more, and so, concluded the researchers, “environmental fragrancing may be expected to have a positive effects on club revenue.” Innovative nightclubs are already inviting “aroma jockeys” to smell the places up.

The business community caught whiff of this and thought maybe peppermint smell would get their secretaries to type faster. And it worked! There was improved performance on clerical tasks associated with the administration of peppermint odor.

In an age where athletic competitions are frequently won or lost by mere hundredths of a second, athletes are continually looking for new ways to excel in their sport. Researchers threw some collegiate athletes onto a treadmill and piped different smell into their nostrils, and those on peppermint reported feeling less fatigued, more vigorous, less frustrated, and felt they performed better. But did they actually perform better?

A different study published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology measured actual performance, and participants were actually able to squeeze out one extra pushup before collapsing and cut almost two seconds off a quarter mile dash with an odorized adhesive strip stuck to their upper lip. Interestingly there was no significant difference in basketball free throws. The researchers think the reason is that free throws actually require some skill, and all the peppermint can do is really improve athlete’s motivation.

Unfortunately follow-up studies were not able to replicate these results, showing no beneficial effect of smelling peppermint on athletic performance, so how about eating peppermint? Researchers measured the effects of peppermint on exercise performance before and after ten days of having subjects drink bottles of water with a single drop of peppermint essential oil in them. And all the subjects’ performance parameters shot up, churning out 50 percent more work, 20 percent more power, and a 25 percent greater time to exhaustion. Improvements were found across the board in all those physiological parameters, indicating increased respiratory efficiency. They attribute these remarkable results to the peppermint opening up their airways, increasing ventilation and oxygen delivery.

Now, you can overdose on the stuff, but a few drops shouldn’t be toxic. Although, it’s ideal to blend fresh mint leaves in water rather than use the oil.


Essential Oil Labs Reveals Peppermint Oil Can Be Natural Mice Deterrent

(Digital Journal)

A Los Angeles, CA business has released new information on an unexpected use of peppermint oil, particularly with deterring mice the natural way. One of the more unusual and lesser known benefits of the said essential oil is that it can repel mice as demonstrated many people. The company hopes to encourage more people to use this oil as a humane way to keep pests at bay.

Quinton Jeffries of Essential Oil Labs says: "Mice are pests and if you get them in your home, it is very difficult to get rid of them. While people traditionally turn to mouse traps or poison, these are inhumane ways of solving the problem, not to mention that these can pose significant risks to pets and people in the home. Peppermint oil is a natural alternative that is relatively safe and will keep mice away."

Essential Oil Labs prides itself in creating multi-functional essential oils that can be used for home, garden and overall health and beauty. All their products are 100% natural and are made from responsibly sourced ingredients. In so doing, they know that they do not cause any damage to the planet, while at the same time harnessing the powers of Mother Nature herself.

The said essential oil in particular has proven to be very popular. "Essential Peppermint Oil is a wonderful all natural product that has a multitude of uses," says Becca L. "I love the fact that it is so invigorating. The scent is fantastic and very pure. I am blown away by it's powerful aroma. This aroma actually opens my airways and helps me to breathe easier. Also this oil is a great natural pest control product. Bugs don't like the scent of the peppermint. Actually works. Also great for getting rid of lice and using in hair as a repellent to prevent it."

People are also encouraged to follow the Essential Oil Labs Twitter account. This will give them an opportunity to hear of more uses for the oil as they are uncovered. They can also share their own particular uses of the peppermint oil with the company and with the general public as a whole.


Peppermint oil may help those suffering IBS

(News4Jax)

Study: Peppermint oil helps IBS sufferers

BOCARATON, Fla. - In a national survey conducted in October 2015, U.S. gastroenterologists were asked about their use of peppermint oil in the management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The survey revealed that the majority (83 percent) of these gastrointestinal specialists were recommending peppermint oil for their IBS patients.

"These findings may be somewhat surprising to many people, but there is a growing body of evidence supporting the use of peppermint oil in IBS," said Michael S. Epstein, M.D., a leading gastroenterologist. Dr. Epstein is also the Chief Medical Advisor for IM HealthScience, innovators of IBgard, a novel medical food containing peppermint oil for the dietary management of IBS.

In an article entitled, "Therapy Options in Irritable Bowel Syndrome,"[1] published in December 2010, in theEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the authors conducted a meta analysis of the options available in the management of IBS. Management options analyzed included various prescription therapies, such as antispasmodics, antidepressants, and non- prescription options, such as peppermint oil, probiotics and fiber. With respect to peppermint oil, the analysis included four studies with a total of 392 patients. Three out of four of those studies had a Jadad score (validated scoring system that measures quality of study on a scale of 0 to 5) of four or higher.

The authors analyzed the outcome of various options for IBS management. Based on their analysis of overall efficacy, they concluded that the "highest efficacy is currently found for peppermint oil, followed by psychotherapeutic and psychopharmaceutical interventions and probiotics. Traditional antispasmodic therapy has moderate efficacy, whereas the list of (partially failed or cancelled) motility-affecting drugs yielded weak clinical results, and therapies of bran and fiber are of no value in IBS."

In an American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) monograph on the management of IBS published in August 2014,[2] the ACG summarized, "In specific formulations, which may not be universally available, peppermint oil is effective in IBS." No strong recommendation was made for any product category, including peppermint oil, for the management of diarrhea predominant (IBS-D), one of the most prevalent types of IBS. This monograph also identified a need for more studies and longer clinical trials with peppermint oil.

Photo Gallery of Peppermint