Back in September, I went to an essential oils workshop, and have since been incorporating them into my health and beauty routine daily. I used to use Young Living Essential Oils (pictures), but have recently switched to Mountain Rose Herbs for all my essential oil and health food/product needs–much more affordable! You can find these from several other online retailers, at health food stores, and there is even a limited selection right at Whole Foods. As I continue experimenting with them and finding favorites, I want to highlight particular oils on the blog from time to time.
I’ll start with peppermint oil because I use it daily, love it and it’s super versatile. The health benefits of peppermint oil include:
- Digestive aid
- Reduce fever and headaches
- Alleviates nausea
- Curbs appetite
- Eases arthritis pain
- Helps combat depression
Uses for Peppermint Essential Oil
Here’s how I use peppermint essential oil in my everyday life:
Muscle Aches & Headaches
If I’m sore from an intense workout or just feeling achy (read: hungover), I love rubbing a few drops of peppermint oil over the affected muscles before bed. Really massage it in there. It’s like Mother Nature’s version of Icy Hot.
If you have a headache, rub a couple drops on your temples.
Put a drop in a glass of water and drink it down to help relieve bloating and upset stomachs. One thing to take note of: don’t put essential oils in plastic cups. Make sure you’re drinking out of glass or metal (or paper). I’ve found that drinking peppermint oil has been great for digestion and preventing bloating.
Cold Symptom Relief
If you’re stuffed up from a cold, peppermint oil is your new best friend. Rub a drop under your nostrils and it’ll have the same effect as inhaling hot sauce—those sinuses will be clear in no time! I do this before bed when I have a cold so I can breathe comfortably without resorting to the dreaded mouth breath. The one downside is that, while it clears your sinuses, it also makes you feel very alert. If you have difficulty falling asleep, rubbing peppermint oil under your nose probably won’t help the situation.
Supposedly, putting a drop of peppermint oil in your water will help curb your appetite. I’m sure it works for some people, but I find that the only thing that really curbs my appetite is…food. Still, I love putting a drop in my water bottle each morning (don’t use more than a drop or two—this stuff is poignant!) If nothing else, drinking something with flavor helps me avoid boredom-induced snacking.
If you have a diffuser, diffuse peppermint oil in your home to keep mice away. I happen to have a little f@*ker in my apartment this winter, but I just can’t bring myself to set traps or kill him, so I’ve been using peppermint oil. Haven’t seen Mickey in weeks!
Increase Focus and Alertness
Diffuse peppermint oil in your home office to increase focus and alertness. I find it really does keep me feeling sharp and mentally clear.
Peppermint oil really wakes you up. Get in the zone for a workout by inhaling some or by diffusing it in the room.
Instead of the Snooze Button
I’m a morning person (4:30 or 5AM wake-ups are no problem for me), but sometimes everyone needs a little help getting out of bed in the morning. I keep a jar of peppermint oil by my bed, and will just smell it or rub a drop under my nose in the morning if I’m feeling sluggish. HELLO. You’ll be wide awake—it’s like shoving Vick’s Vapor Rub up your nostrils (but in a good way).
During ladytimes, I rub a few drops into my abdomen to relieve cramps. Heavenly.
In the Kitchen
Add it into your baking to make peppermint brownies and fudge. Add it to tea for peppermint tea. Swirl it into vanilla ice cream and top with chocolate syrup. I admittedly haven’t experimented much with cooking with essential oils, but it’s on the to-do list!
And now is the part of the blog post where I totally defeat the entire purpose of using essential oils for their amazing health benefits by admitting that I mix peppermint oil with vodka, water and a lemon wedge for a low-calorie cocktail. DON’T JUDGE ME. Actually you can definitely judge me.
If you’re looking to buy your own bottle of peppermint essential oil, you can do so here ($13 for a 1-oz bottle).
Have you tried peppermint oil before? I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to use it!