The Greek god Pluto, ruler of the underworld, fell madly in love with a beautiful nymph, Mentha. His jealous wife, Persephone, pounded her into the earth. Pluto then turned poor Mentha into an aromatic plant that gave him consolation. I’m thinking Pluto’s passions must have abated after a time because today’s popular essential oil suggests cool reality rather than anything romantic.
My personal relationship with Peppermint:
I never get tired of this old friend. Never. Peppermint’s piercing and clean hit of fresh menthol is always welcome in my nostrils. I use this oil a lot in the massage room as cli
ents tend to become congested after lying face down on the table for 30 minutes or more. I’ll often put a drop on a tissue and tuck it in the face cradle. I learned the hard way that this oil is to be avoided on the body as clients will end up shivering from the cold. I do, however, use it generously on the feet.
This essential oil is also a family favorite in the car. One drop on a tissue stuffed in the air vent and you’ve got a minty ride. It keeps the driver awake and settles any nausea from passengers that feel carsick.
Geographical Sources: USA, India, Australia, France
Plant Part: Leaves
Botanical Name: Whenever you find an “x” in the botanical name like Menta x piperita, it indicates that the plant is a hybrid and not an original species. Peppermint is a hybrid though the actual origin of the is confusing due to the large number of complex hybrids under cultivation. The general consensus seems to be that it is a cross between Spearmint (Mentha spicata) and Watermint (Mentha aquatica).
Other Species: There are several species of mint as you can see below. This demonstrates the importance of getting into the habit of knowing essential oil nomenclature.
Mentha x piperita: Peppermint
Mentha spicata: Spearmint
Mentha arvensis: Cornmint
Mentha aquatica: Watermint
Extraction: Steam distillation from the flowering herb. The plant is harvested at full bloom when it contains the maximum amount of essential oil.
Oil Characteristics: The essential oil of Peppermint is a pale yellow or greenish thin liquid with a highly penetrating, fresh, minty aroma.
Chemical Families: Monoterpenes, Monoterpenols
- Increases altertness and energy levels
- Supports digestion. It has an antispasmodic action on the colon.
Some Suggested Applications:
- Inhaler: 10 drops of Peppermint in a nasal inhealer is useful to carry in your purse or pocket for nasal congestion, headaches, nausea and motion sickness.
- Steam Inhalation: Used in a steam inhalation with Tea Tree essential oil, Peppermint is a valuable cold remedy.
- Headache: A drop on the fingertips massaged into the neck feels great when you have a headache, especially when combined with Lavender. Keep in mind that Peppermint has a cooling effect on the skin as the nerve endings that perceive cold are stimulated and the blood capillaries contract so don’t go overboard.
- Cleaning: I frequently clean my kitchen counter with a Peppermint, Lemongrass blend and add it to my homemade soft scrubs. Peppermint smells fresh and clean and gives a sense of tidyness and order.
Citrus Mint Foot Scrub Recipe
Subtle Properties: (vibrational and energetic):
- Solar Plexus Chakra: Peppermint resonates with this energy center to promote healthy self-esteem and integrity.
- Throat Chakra: At this energy center, Peppermint promotes clarity in communication and concentration.
- Third Eye Chakra: Peppermint stimulates conscious mind and promotes inspiration and insights.
Peppermint Affirmation: “I am awake and alert. My mind is clear and energized.”
Safety Information: Peppermint may be an antidote to homeopathic remedies. It is non-toxic but may cause skin irritation so use at 1% (5 drops: 1 oz carrier) Avoid using with children under 5 years; its too strong. May be more therapeutically effective in small doses. Menthol-rich oils should be avoided by people with clotting disorders.
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