Peppermint is possibly one of the best known herbs in existence. It is thought to originate in the Mediterranean and North Africa and has been used in cooking and herbal medicine since around 1500 BC. The reason for the early use of peppermint is the amazing benefits this herb provides, some of the benefits may not be that obvious. Did you know cheese makers use to use the strong smell of mint to keep rats and mice out of the store room? Once the benefits of mint were discovered, its uses became ingrained in herbal medicine and cooking.
After using a product with peppermint oil and feeling that lovely cooling effect, the herb tweaked my interest and I decided to do some research on the peppy stuff. As a result I compiled a top 10 list for the benefits of peppermint. Are you intrigued?
1. One of my favourite things about peppermint is the cooling effect the oil leaves when applied to your skin. This cooling has a calming effect on the muscles of the body. This helps to relieve muscles tension and inflammation.
2. The cooling effect has a long history of banishing tension headaches. Try massaging peppermint oil - dilute or straight - onto your temples, behind your jawbone and across your forehead for rapid relief.
3. The aroma of peppermint is a natural remedy to help improve your concentration, focus and boosting memory. Whether you use peppermint oil (a few drops to some water and spray a mist) or have a lovely cup of peppermint tea you should find your mind has that extra pizzaz to keep you concentrating. Perfect when you are stressed out of your mind from study or your annoying boss.
4. Peppermint oil is known for its ability to calm the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract. This results in improved flow of bile – the chemical which our body’s use to digest fats. As a result, peppermint oil helps food to pass through the gut more quickly and efficiently. Try a cup of Peppermint tea to aid digestion after a big meal.
5. Although this doesn’t work for everyone - some people find that the smell of peppermint eases nausea. The next time you feel nauseas or are suffering from morning sickness, try taking a whiff of some peppermint oil.
6. Do you have a nasty cold or flu? The chemical properties of menthol within peppermint can temporarily calm the pain and inflammation of a sore throat as well as help to thin mucus.
7. The smell of peppermint can help to clear your sinuses when you are all blocked up. Boil a pot of water and take it of the heat. Add a few drops of peppermint and tea tree essential oils. Close your eyes, put your head over the pot of water, put a towel over your head and breath in. Aah, that will clear your nose up great.
8. Peppermint inhibits the growth of bacteria in your mouth because of its antibacterial properties. This can help to prevent tooth decay, gum disease and other oral problems. The added bonus is it freshens up your breath.
a) Chew peppermint leaves daily to help keep oral problems at bay.
b) Brush your mouth with toothpaste that contains peppermint.
9. Peppermint has potent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. This works wonders on acne prone skin. The herb can also be used to calm infected and itchy skin.
a) Rub fresh peppermint juice on your skin directly on the pimples or affected areas and leave for 10 - 15 minutes then rinse off.
b) You could also add a few drops to your skin several times a day and massage in.
10. Your hair will also love peppermint oil as it improves hair growth, fights dandruff and improves circulation. To add peppermint to your hair care regime you could either.
a) Add a few drops of peppermint oil to your normal shampoo.
b) Add a few drops to olive oil (or your other favourite carrier oil) and leave this in your hair for about 30 minutes before rinsing out.
Peppermint isn’t for everyone though. Before you use peppermint oil you should patch test on your skin as you maybe one of the few that are sensitive to peppermint oil and your skin may react. If you do use peppermint oil, remember it is highly concentrated. You should use it in a carrier oil if you intend on putting it on your skin.
Give it a go, buy yourself a little bottle of peppermint oil and try a few of the above ideas. It won’t take you long to see why peppermint has been popular for 3500 years.
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