Thursday, April 9, 2015

Functional Friday no. 36 Essential Oil of the week - PEPPERMINT

Peppermint is a plant. The leaf and oil are used as medicine.1
Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen

According to webMD, "peppermint can be used to protect against seasonal threats, irritated throats, assist sinuses, and promote lung health. It can also be useful in conditions affecting your digestive system, gastrointestinal tract, sinuses and respiratory system, muscular system, and pretty much anywhere else you want to use it. It can help with morning sickness, relieving nausea, soothing an upset stomach after overeating. It can soothe spasms and discomforts in muscles, joints, teeth and gums, headache, skin abrasions, seasonal threats, and can even relax the colon."

Peppermint oil can be applied to the skin for head or neck tension, muscle, tooth and nerve discomfort, ache or soreness, irritation of the mouth, joint conditions, itchiness, allergic skin reaction, dry or irritated skin, unwanted bacteria or pathogens, relaxing the colon during barium enemas, and for repelling mosquitoes. Some people inhale peppermint oil for treating symptoms of cough and runny nose, cough, night sweat, or seasonal or environmental threats.

How does it work?
 Peppermint oil seems to reduce spasms in the digestive tract. When applied to the skin, it can cause surface warmth, which relieves pain beneath the skin."

My family uses peppermint oil relatively frequently.  I diffuse peppermint oil {heavily diluted} in my home to help freshen up the odors in the air. I have also diffused peppermint oil into a room when I've been nauseous and during pregnancy I would inhale spearmint or peppermint to settle morning sickness.  I have also dropped 1-2 drops into the shower {or on the cloth shower curtain} to diffuse with the steam, to help when not feeling well.  In addition to peppermint oil, peppermint tea is a great way to settle the stomach.

 I also use peppermint oil in combination with lavender and frankincense {in a carrier oil, applied to my temple and neck} to alleviate some of the pain associated with headaches.  I also use peppermint oil in my homemade bug repentant, because it is known to have natural pesticides.  I do have to be careful how much peppermint oil I am exposed to because I'm still breastfeeding and some studies show that peppermint can decrease milk supply for nursing mothers.

And of course, there are risks with any supplement, and peppermint is fairly potent, 1 drop of oil is equivalent to 27 cups of peppermint tea.  Some warnings include; "Due to the menthol constituent, topical use of peppermint oil around the facial or chest areas of infants and young children, especially around the nose, can induce apnea, laryngeal and bronchial spasm, acute respiratory distress with cyanosis, or respiratory arrest"2  So, of course, I do not put peppermint on my kids faces or on their skin directly anywhere, if I do use it for any reason on my kids, I dilute it heavily with about 1 spoonful of coconut oil and 1 drop peppermint oil, and only apply to their feet.  Also some medications can have interactions with peppermint oil, so it's important to research and ask your doctor before using any essential oils.  And remember I'm a blogger, not a doctor, I do not suggest any of the above uses for you to try, I'm simply sharing what works for me and my family.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Federal Drug Administration. The products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. 

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