Botanical name: Mentha piperita
Why I keep it around:
Peppermint is an uplifting and bright essential oil known for its antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving and decongestant properties. I find it most useful though when I have a cold or headache.
When applied to the chest during a cold, peppermint opens and soothes the lungs. For a headache I apply a small amount, diluted in a carrier oil, to my fingertips and massage into the temples. If peppermint oil is a bit strong for you, you can create a mix with lavender to mellow the cooling effects of the peppermint. I’ve used this mix a number of times and it does the trick along with adding the calming benefit of lavender.
Other uses: Peppermint oil is used to treat indigestion, respiratory problems, nausea, fever, stomach and bowel spasms/pain, asthma, intestinal gas and more. It is also a good expectorant. Peppermint oil also contains numerous minerals and nutrients including manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium, folate, potassium, copper, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. It can be ingested in small quantities when it is of food grade quality.
Contraindications: Peppermint cools by constricting the capillaries and needs to be used in low dilutions. One or two drops in a bath, for massage or other skin applications is plenty. Spot test your skin with a diluted version of the peppermint oil before treating larger areas. It is also not recommended for people suffering from heartburn or gallbladder inflammation.