Are you a fan of peppermint? It is quite popular for a lot of people, well known for its cool and tingly sensation. However, peppermint is more than just a chilly flavor. It actually has some benefits that you might not expect. When used in essential oil form, it can contribute to health and contentment in a variety of ways. While the scientific backing for some of these benefits has room for improvement, what we know so far is quite encouraging.
Some studies have found that peppermint oil can contribute to better exercise performance. Because of its unique effects, peppermint oil cannot only instantly improve performance but also do so for long-term performance in a number of ways. For example, it can increase power, reduce reaction time, and improve respiratory function. That’s not to say you should start chowing down on thin mints before your run, but if you’re looking to improve your athletic performance, the ingestion of peppermint can invigorate you, body and mind, giving you a more rewarding workout.
If you find yourself looking for an alternative to coffee or energy drinks, you may want to consider peppermint instead. Even if you don’t plan to dive into a workout, Peppermint oil can bring you energy and focus for your day. You don’t have to consume it; even just inhaling it can help make you a little more alert, though a cup or two of peppermint tea would not hurt as well.
18. Cooling Relief
It goes without saying that peppermint can lead to cooling relief. The tingling sensation it provides can be soothing, particularly as it warms nearby tissue. This may help some people to feel less pain and soreness in their muscles after an injury or a really tough workout. It may also help with some muscle related chronic pain conditions, although there is room for more research on the matter. In the meantime, however, the cool sensation of peppermint can help people feel good in general, particularly in amorous situations.
17. Calming Effects
The cooling effects of peppermint can soothe your body, but peppermint can also help you mentally and emotionally. You may enjoy the scent of peppermint, but not think of its role in aromatherapy; however, it may prove beneficial for those tough days. While peppermint can get you excited and energized, it’s tingly sensations can also help you relax and unload your stress. For maximum effect, consider mixing in some lavender oil, which also helps with relaxation, but has been linked to improved memory as well.
16. Joint PainRelated: All You Need to Know About Debilitating Arthritis Pain
Much like the cooling muscle relief mentioned at an earlier point, peppermint oil and other oils can also help relieve pain associated with joint issues. For this reason, it is popular among those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, as it may help to alleviate some of the pain associated with the illness. Externally, it can provide a cooling sensation to the affected joint. Internally, it can play a role in alleviating inflammation, which otherwise contributes to the pain and stiffness of joints.
15. Itch Relief
If you suffer from dry, itchy skin, this one’s for you. After all, that cool, then hot tingling feeling brought on by mint doesn’t just generally feel good for the skin. When peppermint essential oil is applied topically, it can provide relief from conditions such as pruritus, otherwise known as extreme itching. This relief comes in two parts- aside from the effects of peppermint’s natural cool sensations, the fact that it is in essential oil form can help the skin to retain moisture. This is beneficial, given the fact that extreme dryness is one of the key factors involved in itching.
Dry, itchy skin is not the only sort of dermal problem that peppermint oil can resolve. Acne can be an unsightly and embarrassing problem. Fortunately, peppermint oil may play a role in combatting it. Applied topically to the affected area, peppermint oil can fight off the bacteria that make the skin oily and cause blockages. Of course, it will also leave your skin smelling nice and fresh. Overall, it makes a nice, natural alternative to chemical acne treatments and skin moisturizers.
13. SunburnRelated: 7 Ways to Use Aloe Vera Gel Beyond Soothing a Sunburn
If you’ve ever suffered a sunburn you know they are anything but fun. The pain. The redness. The itching. The peeling. All in all, it can be a miserable experience. Fortunately, peppermint oil can help some in your recovery. It will reduce the pain and itching, and on top of that, it will also help you keep your skin hydrated. You may consider mixing in other essential oils as well.
12. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition in which the bowels are, well… irritable. Inflammation, pain, and gas are common symptoms, and usually, the condition(s) that contribute to IBS are chronic in nature, so while there are treatments, there is no real cure. However, in speaking of treatments, peppermint may be able to help. According to some early research, peppermint potentially effects some of the symptoms that are commonly associated with irritable bowel syndrome, particularly nausea and vomiting. It may also cause some measure of pain relief due to soothing the smooth muscle that makes up much of the digestive tract.
11. Fresher Breath
This is another obvious one, though it is also a little more involved than you might think. Peppermint can contribute to fresher breath, at least in the short term. This, of course, would explain the prevalence of mint flavored gum (and the fact that mints are called… well, mints). While fresher breath can certainly help keep date night rolling, there may be more substantial benefits for the mouth when it comes to peppermint. There is some evidence for this, based on studies conducted among populations with significant levels of bad breath (halitosis).
1o. Digestive Aid
As mentioned briefly earlier, peppermint oil may be useful as a digestive aid. This is due to its ability spur the secretion of bile, which helps to digest food more efficiently with less discomfort. Furthermore, peppermint oil may play a role in calming down the smooth muscle involved in the digestive system, curbing spasms, pain, bloating, gas, and other discomforts. Drinking peppermint tea can provide these benefits; however, there is also some evidence to suggest that peppermint may aggravate other conditions related to digestion, such as heartburn, so use caution.
9. Potential Antiviral Properties
Like many uncomfortable odors, halitosis is the result of bacteria buildup. When it comes to the mouth, it is easy for bacteria to find a home, especially in the mouths of those who do not brush regularly. This is because leftover food debris can end up lurking in the mouth of long periods of time, giving bacteria a source of food upon which to thrive and grow. Proper brushing and flossing can help with this, as can an antiseptic mouthwash. As peppermint has breath freshening and antiviral properties, it is often a component of such mouthwashes.
8. Tooth Pain
Since we’re racking up dental delights, you should know that peppermint oil can help with tooth pain. Much like its topical application for muscle pain, peppermint oil can soothe pain in the moth with the same cool, numbing sensation. Considering the added antiseptic benefits of peppermint, along with the breath freshening action. However, don’t think a peppermint spritz every now and then is a substitute for a visit to your dentist.
7. Soothing Cold SymptomsRelated: 8 Things Doctors Do To Stop a Cold
You might not think of peppermint when you have a cold, but chances are good that you use its active ingredient menthol whenever you’re sick. Found in peppermint, menthol is often a component in decongestants, as well as analgesics, which are drugs for pain relief. Using peppermint in similar ways can help you breathe easier when you’re suffering from a cold, according to some research; additionally, other research suggests that peppermint oil may function as an expectorant, thinning mucus so that it is easier to cough up and clear your airways.
6. Respiratory Relief
Even if you aren’t feeling sick, peppermint can do remarkable things for your breathing. That cool, refreshing feeling you get with each breath after eating peppermint Is an indicator of its respiratory effectiveness. Because of the smooth muscle that makes up much of the respiratory tract, when you ingest peppermint, you’re bringing relief to your respiratory system. Much like the section about exercise, peppermint can reinvigorate you, improving your breathing via the expansion of your airways. This can lead to fuller breaths and leave you feeling more energized.
5. Hair Growth
When it comes to your hair, peppermint isn’t necessarily something you’d think about using on your head. Or, maybe you might, because you’re interested in getting a minty fresh scent on your scalp. Believe it or not, studies have found that peppermint oil can actually help stimulate hair growth, so if you are worried about thinning hair, you may consider mixing a little bit of peppermint oil into your shampoos (and your soaps).
4. Scalp RevitalizingRelated: 11 Smart Ways to Use Baking Soda For Your Home
Your scalp is a part of your skin that oftentimes simply doesn’t get as much attention as the rest of your body. It’s easy to end up with dry, flaky skin there, and some shampoos can leave you feeling even drier. Even if you aren’t concerned about hair loss, you should still consider mixing some essential oils into your shampoo to keep your scalp nice and fresh. Aside from the scent and moisture, the tingling sensation of peppermint essential oil can leave you refreshed and energized, ready to tackle your day, or to wind down and get a good night’s rest.
3. Headache Relief
Do you suffer from migraines or tension headaches? If so, you may find yourself reaching for painkillers quite often. While they are fine in small doses, too many painkillers in a short period of time can endanger your health. Fortunately, peppermint oil can provide you some relief. Some research has suggested that applying peppermint oil topically to the head can help reduce pain associated with headaches. Be quick about it, though. It seems that peppermint oil is most effective when it is applied at the onset of a migraine.
2. Insect Repellent
While peppermint may have a pleasing scent and provide soothing relief to humans, insects enjoy it much less. If you’re looking for a natural alternative to commercial, chemical-based insect repellants, consider giving peppermint oil a try. It, along with other essential oils, such as thyme and patchouli can stave off insects, most notably mosquitos for hours at a time when prepared in the right concentration. Consider mixing multiple essential oils to improve longevity or pure peppermint oil for a stronger effect.
1. Hunger SuppressionRelated: 10 Foods You Can Eat A Lot of Without Gaining Weight
If you are trying to lose weight, you might that it’s difficult, partially because you’ll have to fight off cravings all the time. Fortunately, there’s some evidence to suggest that peppermint oil can help combat those cravings. According to a study in 2008, participants who made a point to inhale peppermint oil every two hours for five days ended up having less of an appetite and had fewer cravings overall than those who did not smell peppermint oil. Generally, being hungry less means fewer calories consumed, and fewer cravings mean those calories will (hopefully) be of a higher quality.