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All about Peppermint Oil

Mentha Peperita (Peppermint) Oil

Mentha x piperita L.

Introduction

Peppermint is native to Southern Europe and was introduced into North America in the 19th century. Peppermint is now cultivated worldwide and is found in China, Japan, Europe and the USA. It’s a perennial herb of up to three feet in height. The plant has aromatic dark green leaves and tall spikes of purple colored flowers. Peppermint essential oil has a fresh, minty aroma and is obtained from the steam distillation of the fresh, flowering herb.

It has underground runners by which it easily propagates. This herb has many species, and peppermint piperita is a hybrid of watermint (M. aquatica) and spearmint (M. spicata). It has been cultivated since ancient times in Japan and China. Evidence of use was found in Egypt in a tomb dating back from 1000 BC.

According to Greek mythology the nymph Mentha was hotly pursued by Pluto, whose jealous wife Persephone, trod her ferociously into the ground, whereupon Pluto then turned her into a herb, knowing that people would appreciate her for years to come.

Peppermint has played an important role in the American tradition. While the Native Americans were using it even before the arrival of the European settlers, the early colonists brought this prized herb with them from the Old World since they had long honored it for its therapeutic properties, as well as for the delicious hot tea beverage made from its leaves.

What’s in Peppermint Oil?

Peppermint Oil contains several minerals and nutrients including:

  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • peppermint oil

    The chemical components of Peppermint Oil are menthol, menthone, 1, 8-cineole, methyl acetate, methofuran, isomenthone, limonene, b-pinene, a-pinene, germacrene-d, trans-sabinene hydrate, pulegone and dimenthalsulfide.

     

    Benefits of Applying Peppermint Oil to Skin

    On the skin, Peppermint Oil is used to relieve skin irritation caused by a number of ailments. Applying it in a 20% strength solution to skin can relieve symptoms of hives, poison ivy and poison oak. It is used for dermatitis, acne, ringworm, scabies and pruritus and also relieves itching, sunburn and inflammation of the skin, while at the same time having a cooling effect. If you apply Peppermint Oil, diluted in a carrier oil, immediately to a bruise it can help to relieve the pain.

    Peppermint Oil’s antibacterial properties helps to alleviate athlete’s foot when mixed with a base oil or aloe vera. If you suffer from a cold sore, using Peppermint Oil repeatedly on the spot can help to clear it up. Using Peppermint soaps on a regular basis will allow you to benefit from the antiseptic qualities that help prevent bacterial and skin infections. You may also apply diluted Peppermint Oil to the forehead and temples to help relieve a headache.

    Benefits of Peppermint Oil in Your Diet

    Peppermint is good for digestion and people often take Peppermint capsules to cope with indigestion. The carminative property in Peppermint helps to remove gas and is also a good tonic for those with a poor appetite. Peppermint is recommended for those who have motion sickness or an upset stomach. Some people believe that a combination of Caraway Oil with Peppermint can treat heartburn.

    Peppermint Oil aids in digestion by helping food move through the stomach more quickly. It calms the stomach muscles and improves the flow of bile, which helps digest fats. This can relieve gas, abdominal distension, upset stomach, nausea and diarrhea. Additionally, Peppermint Oil is an antispasmodic and may decrease intestinal spasms associated with endoscopic procedures. The enteric capsule form of Peppermint Oil may improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Enteric-coated capsules prevent Peppermint Oil from being released until it reaches the intestines.

    Medical Conditions that Benefit from the use of Peppermint Oil:

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
    Indigestion
    Flatulence / Bloating
    Itching / Irritated Skin
    Tension Headaches
    Colds and Flu
    Arthritis
    Eczema
    Acne
    Depression
    Hives
    Hysteria
    Inflammation
    Morning Sickness
    Rheumatism
    Toothaches
    Tuberculosis
    Asthma
    Bronchitis
    Respiratory Problems
    Urinary Tract Infections
    Candida / Yeast
    Diarrhea
    Halitosis
    Heartburn
    Hemorrhoids
    Hot Flashes
    Menstrual Irregularities
    Nausea
    Tumor Growth
    Varicose Veins

    peppermint-diagram

    Facts at a Glance:

    100% Natural
    A Cross Between Watermint and Spearmint
    Antiviral & Antibacterial
    Used for Flavoring
    Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    Contains Important Vitamins, Minerals & Antioxidants
    Relieves Many Skin Ailments
    Beneficial for Topical Use
    Aids in Digestion
    Contains Menthol & Menthone (causes cooling sensation)

    Peppermint Oil Contains:
    Iron
    Manganese
    Magnesium
    Folate
    Calcium
    Phosphorous
    Potassium
    Copper
    Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    Vitamin A
    Vitamin C
    Vitamin B2
    Zinc

    Classification:

    Kingdom Plantae – Plants
    Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
    Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
    Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
    Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
    Subclass Asteridae
    Order Lamiales
    Family Lamiaceae – Mint family
    Genus Mentha L. – mint
    Species Mentha ×piperita L. (pro sp.) [aquatica × spicata] – peppermint

    Additional Reading:

    About Peppermint

    Peppermint info by Botanical.com

    Resources

    “Peppermint Essential Oil”. Mountain Rose Herbs. n.d. web. 25 Aug. 2009
    <http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/eo/peppermint.html>

    “Health Benefits of Peppermint and Peppermint Oil”. n.d. web. 3 Dec 2010
    <http://www.diethealthclub.com/health-food/health-benefits-of-peppermint.html>

    For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
    This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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