During this time of the year, we are surrounded by the many alluring and trendy scents of the season. From decadent dessert to seasonally-infused beer and artisanal-made cups of caffeine heaven, nearly everyone longs for some taste of the season. First comes pumpkin, then comes caramel, then comes peppermint hot chocolate in a beverage carrier. But desserts and specialty drinks are not the only type of seasonal indulgences we can enjoy. Seasonal skin care products can be found at nearly every spa and department store around the US. Yet what benefits do these seasonal products deliver? Let’s consider the benefits of one of the many natural ingredients found in numerous spa and body products: peppermint essential oil.
One of the many claimed benefits of peppermint essential oil is headache relief. However, are the claims justified? According to Benjamin Kligler, M.D, and Spana Chudhary, D.O., in the April 2007 issue of American Family Physician journal, “two clinical trials have shown that topical application of peppermint oil is effective in reducing symptoms of tension headache.” In one study, 32 patients were tested using a variety of topical herbal preparations. Compared with persons who received placebo, there was a significant analgesic effect in patients who applied a peppermint oil. So next time you feel a headache coming on, break out your peppermint essential oil.
Muscle Ache Relief
The oil that is extracted from the peppermint plant contains many different compounds. One of these compounds includes menthol. Menthol creates a cooling sensation by stimulating nerves that sense cold and it also inhibits those that react to pain, according to HealthBeat from the Harvard Health Publications. Even though relief does not last for a long period of time, short-term pain relief from a natural product is worth it. So next time the weekend warrior in you surfaces and you need a little natural pain relief, try a touch of natural peppermint essential oil.
We have found that peppermint essential oil relieves headaches and muscle pain but does it have any skin benefits? According to an article entitled, Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils and other Plant Extracts, found in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, essential oils contain powerful antimicrobial and antifungal activity. In one study, peppermint essential oil was effective at killing strains of bacteria and fungus including candida albicans, staphylococcus aureus, escherichia coli, klebsiella pneumoniae, pseudomonas aeruginosa and salmonella enterica. Due to its antimicrobial properties, peppermint essential oil can be found in many skin care products including skin care lines that treat acne. Peppermint essential oil also stimulates microcirculation in the skin, naturally flushing away toxins and impurities. However, caution in its use should be noted.
Safe Use of Peppermint Essential Oil
Below are a few tips on safely using peppermint essential oil:
- Essential oils should never be used undiluted on the skin. Using a 2% essential oil dilution is considered a safe guideline for topical application of essential oils on adults. For children or elderly, reduce the dilution down to 1%. Again, the safest rule of thumb is to never use any essential oil undiluted. Peppermint essential oil should be used well diluted since high concentration can cause a burning sensation and sensitization. Remember, less is more!
- Some oils can cause sensitization or allergic reactions in some individuals. When using a new oil for the first time, do a skin patch test on a small area of skin. To patch test a product, apply a small amount to the inner arm and leave for 24hrs, observing for any reactions. If none occur, repeat this process on the neck, applying a small amount and leaving for 24hrs, again observing for any reactions. If there are no changes to the area then you’re good to go!
- Avoid use during pregnancy.
- Never let children use essential oils without the presence of an adult knowledgeable about their use. Most essential oils smell wonderful and many essential oils such as citrus oils can smell like they are safe to drink. Keep your essential oils away from children. Treat the oils like medicines that are poison in unknowing hands.
- Essential oils should not be taken internally. Essential oils should only be taken internally after receiving a detailed consultation and prescription from a trained and qualified aromatherapy practitioner.
- Essential oils are flammable.
Have you ever tried peppermint essential oil for any of the above issues or for different reasons? We would like to hear from you!
Looking for bath and body products that contain 100% pure peppermint essential oil? Visit the Makes Scents Natural Spa Line website for products such as Peppermint Lip Balm, and our Organic Mocha Mint Cappuccino Body Scrub.