Peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita) is a very useful addition to your natural remedies kit. This stimulating and refreshing oil is a home remedy for headaches, colds and sinus congestion. I use it in footbaths, too.
How to Use Peppermint Essential Oil at Home
1. Use Peppermint essential oil in a steam inhalation during colds or sinus infections: it is a decongestant and really clears the nasal passages. However, it can irritate the mucus membranes, so use just a drop or two. It also fights the germs that cause infections. Try blending it with a couple of drops of Eucalyptus or Lavender for an inhalation.
2. Make a Peppermint compress to relieve a headache. Add a couple of drops of the essential oil to a bowl of cold water, dip a small towel (such as a face towel) into the bowl and make sure you get the oil on the towel – the essential oil will float on top of the water. Wring the towel to get rid of excess water, place the compress on your forehead and lie down. Make sure not to get any oil into your eyes, it can really sting. You can also rub a little oil on your temples, but it is best to dilute it with carrier oil, and be really careful to not get it too close to your eyes.
3. Take a refreshing foot bath with Peppermint essential oil. This energizing and stimulating oil is great for tired feet. Add 2-3 drops of the essential oil into your footbath – if you want to, add a little sea salt or Epsom salt, or about a tablespoon of sweet almond or jojoba oil to soften the skin. Try a blend of 1-2 drops of Peppermint and 2-3 drops of Lavender or Lemongrass.
4. If you’re feeling faint and dizzy, or are in a state of shock, it may help to open a bottle of Peppermint oil under your nose and inhale. Alternatively, put a drop on a hankie or a tissue and inhale. This trick also helps when you’re feeling tired or lethargic and a little out of focus.
One of the main benefits of peppermint is that it can relieve stomach upsets, but instead of using the essential oil, it is better to drink peppermint tea (or take peppermint capsules). Peppermint tea is an easy-to-make home remedy against nausea, flatulence and indigestion.
Some say Peppermint oil is stimulating in small amounts, but sedative or relaxing in large amounts. I have never used more than a couple of drops at a time, so I can’t comment, but a couple of drops are usually enough for most purposes anyway. Don’t use Peppermint essential oil at the same time with homeopathic remedies, though, as its strong scent can affect the homeopathics.
Patricia Davis: Aromatherapy: An A-Z: The Most Comprehensive Guide to Aromatherapy Ever Published (Random House, UK, 2004)
Robert Tisserand: Aromatherapy for everyone (Arkana, 1990)