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The Many Uses of Peppermint Essential Oil

by Nikki Seay

Peppermint is one of the most widely recognized scents in the world. Popular for its use in chewing gums, candies, toothpastes and mouthwashes, peppermint has found its way into millions of homes across the world.  Pliny the Elder, a Roman natural philosopher and scientist from ancient times, famously proclaimed, “The smell of mint stirs up the mind and appetite to a greedy desire of food.”

History of Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint was first used in Egypt, playing a large role in making local incense and perfumes. In fact, dried peppermint was actually found in an Egyptian pyramid that was carbon dated all the way back to 1,000 BC. The Ebers Paprus is the oldest medical text in existence and the uses of peppermint are recorded within this book in great detail. Icelandic Pharmacopoeias of the 13th century mention the use of mint. John Ray classified and listed mint in London Pharmacopoeia in 1721.

Peppermint was eventually grown and cultivated in the United States during the late 1700′s. Its first medicinal uses were recorded in the state of Massachusetts, helping settlers remedy stomach and skin ailments.

How is Peppermint Essential Oil Extracted?

Peppermint oil has a fresh, sharp, menthol smell and is clear to pale yellow in color. Peppermint essential oil is extracted from the aromatic leaves of the mint plant. The oil is extracted from the whole plant when it is above ground, just before flowering. The extraction is achieved via steam distillation from the fresh or partially dried plant.

Peppermint Essential Oil Uses

Peppermint oil is wonderful for treating mental fatigue and depression. It helps to uplift the spirit, stimulate mental abilities and improve concentration. Additionally, peppermint works for treating shock, headache, migraine, nervous stress, vertigo and faintness. It is also used to treat dry coughs, sinus congestion, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis and cholera.

Peppermint essential oil is wonderfully effective for treating a range of digestive ailments, as it magically stimulates the gall bladder and the secretion of bile. The oil is used for colic, stomach cramps, dyspepsia, spastic colon, flatulence and general nausea. It can also relieve mild to moderate pain associated with toothache, aching feet, rheumatism, muscular pains and menstrual cramps.

Peppermint essential oil is also used to relieve skin irritation and itching. The oil helps to reduce skin breakouts, where redness and inflammation are present. It is often used for treating dermatitis, acne, ringworm, scabies and pruritus. Peppermint also relieves the itching, inflammation and tightness of sunburn, providing pain relief and a distinct cooling action.

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