Peppermint is some potent stuff! I was first introduced to peppermint in my introductory class at the Troy Community Center about a month or so ago. It was passed around for us to put a drop in our hand and sniff it. I couldn’t even take a complete breath in — it was strong! But it does give that nice, minty clean feeling in your nasal passages and throat, similar to Vicks Vaporub.
Since I really wanted to give essential oils a good, fair trial, I also got a book about them, so that I could learn about each oil, its uses and applications. (The following facts about peppermint are from the book, “The Essential Life,” by Total Wellness Publishing.)
Peppermint is listed as being good for:
- Allergies and Hives
- Asthma and Sinusitis
- Bad Breath
- Decreasing Milk Supply
- Emotional Balance
- Fevers and Hot Flashes
- Gamma Radiation Exposure
- Gastritis and Digestive Discomfort
- Headaches and Migraines
- Loss of Sense of Smell
And has the following properties:
Now for my personal experience with peppermint. It’s a little mixed, and I’ll tell you why…. It’s potent! This is one of the oils which is listed with a safety warning: “Dilute for topical application as may cause skin sensitivity.” THIS IS NO JOKE, PEOPLE! A friend stated that she used peppermint topically on her forehead and back of the neck for headache relief, so when I had a headache, I decided to give it a try.
I forgot that I have sensitive skin.
So, I ended up with a huge rash and a bad allergic reaction. Like, affecting my breathing bad. The rash lasted for about a week and a half and then went away, but it was red, raised and itchy while I had it.
Moral of the story: pay attention to any warnings that are on the oils! Some are not meant to be ingested, some may be irritating for sensitive skin, etc. There are carrier oils, like fractionated coconut oil or almond oil that you can use to dilute the essential oils, and these may be helpful for some of the more irritating oils.
While I’m sitting here typing out this post, I have a cough from a mild cold. Since my essential oil book is right here, I decided to look up what you can use to treat coughs. In order of efficacy, they suggest lemon, cardamom, respiration blend, peppermint, and cinnamon. I only have the peppermint, so I decided to give that a try. I put 2 drops in an 8 oz glass of cold water and have been sipping on that while writing. Since it’s in my glass, I can also inhale it as I sip. It has helped my cough somewhat. Better than a cough drop, actually. Be careful not to exhale into the glass with your eyes open, you don’t want to get peppermint into your eyes!