Peppermint Essential Oil <br/><em>Mentha piperita</em>
That magical, cheerful place of innocence in Shel Silverstein’s poem captures the idea of peppermint perfectly. It is bright, enlivening, happy and breezy. For many of us, the thought of peppermint leads to thoughts of red-and-white candy and other special treats. That’s perfect, because peppermint is a treat. It’s a treat for the senses, the body, the mind and the spirit.
Cooling in the peppermint wind is actually pretty accurate. Peppermint oil is known for its beneficial cooling effects, perfect for an overheated body, angry emotions and an overactive energy field. Peppermint also blows the cobwebs from your mind, leaving you with a clear, focused mind that can reach for greater spiritual enlightenment.
Get Her to the Greek: The Myth of Mint’s Origin
Ironically, overheated emotions lead to the creation of the mint plant in Greek mythology. The myth begins with an alluring water nymph named Menthe. Her beauty caught the attention of Hades, god of the underworld, and the two engaged in a not-so-secretive affair. Hades’ wife Persephone exacted her revenge, stomping on Menthe and kicking her ceaselessly. This repeated trampling turned Menthe into a mint plant, releasing a teasingly delicious smell of mint with every stomp Persephone delivered. And so started the development of the mint plant species, at least according to ancient Greek mythology.
It’s not surprising that mint earned its own legend in Greek mythology. The ancient Greeks used mint liberally, as an element in funeral ceremonies, medicine, table decor, food and the drink kykeon. Incidentally, kykeon was the drink served to initiates participating in the secret religious rites of the Greek’s Eleusinian Mysteries.
Menthe piperita was found in Egyptian pyramids, so we also know that the ancient Egyptians cultivated and used the herb. The herb is also documented in the 13th-century “Icelandic Pharmacopeia”, but it wasn’t until England began touting the herb’s medicinal benefits in its 1721 London Pharmacopoeia that the herb’s medicinal properties became widely used in Western Europe.
- Muscle Pain. Peppermint oil can be used to massage into muscles easing tension on overworked, aching muscles.
- Sinus Congestion. The menthol found in peppermint oil makes easy work of getting rid of congested sinuses when inhaled with the help of an aromatherapy diffuser or burner.
- Digestive Issues. For thousands of years, peppermint has eased the digestive systems of people around the world. The oil’s uses are many in this respect. It can ease nausea, lessen colon spasms and ease irritable bowels.
- Appetite. If you’re trying to lose weight or weigh less at certain times of the day or night, smelling peppermint can help.
- Achy Joints. The effect of peppermint on joints and muscles is cooling, so it’s often used in joint and muscle pain ointments to ease the overheating that comes with aches and pains.
- Cooling Refresh. Peppermint is a cooling agent. Those who are outdoors in warm temperatures can find some relief from the heat by placing a few drops of peppermint oil on a wet headband, kerchief of wristband.
- Personal Fragrance. Give your personal scent a delicious little zing with a few drops of peppermint.
- Energising peppermint is a frequent addition to shampoos and hair treatments. The oil’s antiseptic properties also make it a good solution to combat lice.
- Focus. Peppermint oil helps sharpen senses and makes those who reap its benefits more aware of their surroundings and being.
- Throat Chakra. Peppermint clears your mind and opens your throat, allowing you to better see and speak your truth.
When ingested, peppermint oil can cause your liver to increase its bile production, which can be a problem for some. It can also cause heartburn, mouth sores and flushing. The oil can be neurotoxic, and it should not be used by those with cardiac fibrillation issues or those with G6PD deficiency. There is a moderate chance that peppermint oil can interact with a variety of drugs, including ibuprofen, so it’s best to check with your health professional if you currently take medication and you want to add peppermint supplements to your routine.
- Botanical Name: Mentha piperita
- Common Method of Extraction: Steam distillation
- Plant Part Typically Used: Leaves and flowers/buds
- Color: Clear with a yellow tinge
- Consistency: Thin
- Perfumery Note: Top
- Strength of Initial Aroma: Strong
- Aromatic Description: Minty, reminiscent of concentrated peppermint candies. More fragrant than spearmint.