Peppermint oil has a long history of medicinal uses practiced by many cultures around the world. The most well-known and widely used is as a digestive aid. The powerful organic compounds in this essential oil have a soothing effect on the muscles of the digestive tract, calming muscle spasms, and preventing such maladies as nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, bloating, and flatulence.
Another traditional use of peppermint essential oil is to focus the mind, improve memory, and promote wakefulness without causing the signature nervousness and anxiety associated with other stimulants like caffeine.
Historically essential oil of peppermint has been used to reduce pain caused by muscle tension and inflammation such as headaches, joint pain, muscle soreness, and swollen lymph glands. Peppermint oil is also well-known for its anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic qualities and has been widely used throughout history to treat bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections, both internally and externally. Modern science now recognizes these qualities to be due to the high concentration of menthol (around 40% of the total composition) found in the essential oil. Peppermint oil can also ease the symptoms of cold, flu, and other respiratory illnesses again thanks to its high concentration of menthol.
There are many uses for peppermint oil. You can explore other posts to dive deeper into the multitude of uses. Discover here:
6 ways to use Peppermint Oil for Cold & Flue Symptoms
Cold & Flu Remedies
Modern over-the-counter medicine manufacturers commonly use peppermint oil for its ability to soothe cold and flu symptoms. Before cold and flu season strikes again, prepare yourself with these all-natural cold and flu remedies using peppermint oil.
Soothe Sore Throat
Peppermint oil may be used to soothe a sore throat. The chemical properties of menthol temporarily cool and calm pain while at the same time thinning mucus. The anti-inflammatory properties of the oil can also help to reduce swelling and provide further relief. Try brewing peppermint tea, made from the leaves themselves, then flavor with honey and lemon to help combat infection and speed recovery.
To help control coughing, clear airways, and boost your immune system, try mixing two drops each of peppermint, lavender, and lemon essential oils in a diffuser. Alternately, you can mix these oils and apply them to a small cloth or other object to create your own portable inhaler.
Menthol Chest Rub
There are many menthol chest rubs available over-the-counter however there are many benefits to making your own menthol chest rub using peppermint oil. Jill Winger of The Prairie Homestead shared this great recipe for a DIY chest rub which is both easy to make and inexpensive:
You will need:
- A double boiler
- 1/4 oz beeswax
- 2 oz olive oil or coconut oil
- 10 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
- 10 drops Peppermint essential oil
- 10 drops Wintergreen OR White Fir essential oil
In your double boiler, melt the beeswax and olive oil/coconut oil. Remove from heat. Once the mixture is slightly cooled but still liquid, gently stir in your essential oils.
Store this mixture in a small resealable glass container (like a mason jar) in your medicine cabinet – preferably away from light which can damage the oils. Apply to chest and bottoms of feet to treat symptoms of respiratory illness.
A mild to mid-grade fever is a normal and helpful immune response when fighting off infection but temperatures in excess of 104°F can be harmful to the human body. Use peppermint oil while getting in touch with a medical professional to help reduce a dangerously high fever. Apply 2 – 3 drops of peppermint essential oil on the forehead and temples, back of neck, back, and/or bottoms of feet where the oil will absorb quickly and help to bring body temperature back into the safe range. For those with sensitive skin, you may want to first dilute peppermint oil in sweet almond or olive oil before applying.
Try this steam inhalation technique to clear sinus congestion. Boil a pot of distilled water. Remove from the stove and – while the water is still steaming – add a few drops each of peppermint and tea tree essential oils. Immediately close your eyes, lower your face over the water, and drape a damp towel over the back of your head. Be sure to also cover the edges of the pot to trap the steam. Inhale deeply and regularly for several minutes to reduce inflammation and open up your airways. Remember to keep your eyes closed the entire time!
A Few Precautions
Peppermint oil may be irritating to people with sensitive skin. Some people may have or develop allergies to essential oils. Always perform a skin test on the back of the hand a few hours before applying essential oils to large areas of the body, inhaling, or ingesting.
Always use caution when taking any essential oil internally. Only use high quality food-grade essential oils for this purpose and always be aware of possible interactions with medications or other supplements.