Remember in grade school when you’d go to the nurse feeling sick and all you wanted to do was lay down? Instead, he or she would give you some mints and say, “Have these, they’ll help.” At the time, you thought, “How is a mint supposed to make me feel better?” Well, VALLEY can assure you that your school nurse wasn’t crazy because a minty smell or flavor can be the cure.
The most modern, grown-up version of a grade school mint now comes in the form of peppermint oil, one of the most essential essential oils. Peppermint alone is made of spearmint and water mint, while the essential oils are made of the distilled parts of the plant. The most active ingredients in the peppermint oil are menthol and menthone, which cause the cooling and calming sensations you feel when sucking on a breath mint. Peppermint oil has healing properties such as reducing stomachaches, relieving headaches, releasing tight muscles and cramps, clearing congestion and boosting energy.
When peppermint oil is applied to the skin, it produces a soothing feeling to help with pain. If you put the oil on your stomach when you don’t feel well, it will reduce the ache and help you feel better. In some cases, peppermint oil will even come in smaller beads that you can suck on, allowing the minty taste to heal your stomach.
Often, when Advil or Ibuprofen are not available for you to take to relieve a headache, try putting peppermint oil around your head and neck area. The peppermint gives off the cooling sensation that will help your head to calm down and reduce the pain. When the oil is applied to the upper neck area, the base and back of your head will feel better after it sits for a while. To relieve a tension headache, try putting the oil on your temples, so that when it soaks in, your head will no longer pound uncontrollably.
Releasing Tight Muscles and Cramps
Similar to its use for relieving headaches, when peppermint oil is applied to a tight or torn muscle or a cramp, it will help reduce the pain felt in that area. If you were to pull a muscle in your lower back, for example, put the oil there and it will relieve any discomfort you may feel. It works as a substitute to the well-known pain reliever, Icy Hot, but isn’t as overpowering; the peppermint oil is strong enough to fix the problem.
This time of year is notorious for colds and congestion because of the cold air and wind. Regular decongestants from drug stores or prescriptions from doctors may do the job, but they’re a pain to get and take twice a day. Applying the oil to your chest will help open it up and clear any congestion after it soaks even. Even inhaling the peppermint from the oil will unclog your sinuses and relieve scratchy throats.
Whenever you’re feeling tired or down, your first instinct to boost your energy would be to down coffee or orange juice, or just stuff your face with any kind of sugary food. Try to stray from doing that and turn to peppermint oil instead. Inhaling the peppermint can help energize you and perk you up from an impending slumber. It can also improve your focus and concentration if you need to do homework or study for hours on end.
So stock up on all things peppermint— essential oils, peppermint tea and even boxes of candy canes this holiday season! If you’re ever on the search for something to relieve pain and help you feel better, don’t be afraid to turn to peppermint oil. It works wonders.