Tuesday, December 3, 2013

5 Healthy Uses for Peppermint Oil

One happy side effect of the high cost of today's medical system is that it’s becoming more common for people to skip potentially dangerous prescription and over the counter drugs for natural alternatives that work with your body to help it heal.  The great thing about many of these natural products is that they can be beneficial for more than one problem.  A great example is peppermint oil.  It has been used to help with many different health issues. Plus, nothing says holidays like the scent of peppermint - bringing back memories of candy canes, minty hot cocoa, and more! Get in the spirit of the holiday season, and stay healthy this winter, with these 5 helpful tips for using peppermint oil.  (Remember, as with any essential oil, if you’re applying the oil directly, it’s best to dilute it in a neutral carrier oil before you apply.)* 

Mentha x piperita: Flowers and leaves.
Mentha x piperita: Flowers and leaves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. Digestive aid
The most common use of peppermint oil is aiding in digestion.  It helps promote the production of digestive juices, so you can use it on a regular basis to help your body - and it can especially be useful during the holiday season of overeating!  It also can be used to offer relief from digestive problems such as heartburn, nausea, gas, cramps, and even a spastic colon.  You can use peppermint oil when you experience symptoms, but it can also be used to prevent symptoms if you have a chronic condition like irritable bowel syndrome. 

2. Cold and flu 
Peppermint oil has several properties that can help with your cold and flu symptoms, along with other illnesses.  Peppermint oil is an expectorant, helping break up chest congestion. Rub some on your chest before bedtime to help relieve coughs, instead of over-the-counter creams containing harsh chemical ingredients. It has also been used to reduce fever, soothe scratchy throats and, get rid of headaches.  It’s a great natural alternative to over-the-counter medications that may contain alcohol or other unwanted ingredients.

3. Mental capabilities
Rubbing a dab of peppermint oil on your temples can help wake you up and improve your concentration and memory.  This is great when studying for or taking tests, or any other time you need to be alert and mentally clear.  It’s a great way to give brain a little boost without having to rely on coffee.  This can also be beneficial to help you feel better when you feel faint or dizzy.

4. Asthma
Peppermint oil contains menthol.  This is the substance used in many conventional medications that can help clear up any breathing difficulties.  The vapors produced from peppermint oil can clear out a stuffy nose, help with coughing, and even help stop an asthma attack (although you shouldn’t stop conventional treatment). Dab some under your nose to help with nasal congestion, or add a drop or two to a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam. 

Peppermint tea
Fresh peppermint tea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
5. Heart Problems
Peppermint oil has been used to help reduce heart palpitations.  It is also used to make the heart beat better and improve circulation throughout the body.  This can help ease several problems related with circulation difficulties.  Peppermint oil keeps your blood pumping strong. 

In addition to peppermint oil, you may also find some benefit from peppermint tea.  You can even put a few drops of peppermint oil in water for a different, but effective peppermint drink.  If you’re applying the oil directly, it’s best to dilute it in a carrier oil, such as almond oil, before you apply. 

Peppermint oil and tea are wonderful natural cure-alls that are great to have around the house.*

* Information provided is for informational/educational purposes only, and should not be acted upon without first consulting a qualified health professional.

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