Not Just for Candy Canes: Peppermint Perks & Health Benefits

BY REBECCA SANTANA

Between the candy canes and peppermint mochas, it is easy to forget that peppermint is more than just a holiday treat. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), using mint in medicine dates back to the early Egyptians and today herbalists use peppermint oil and fresh mint leaves (Bo He)

to soothe sore muscles, awaken the senses and ease digestive problems. Put down your recipe book and start on those at-home remedies.

According to Pete Taylor, acupuncture physician and herbalist, he utilizes Bo He often in his practice at Gainesville Holistic Healthcare and often combines it with other herbs to create a formula applied topically or ingested. When used topically, Bo He can relieve skin irritation and clear up rashes. When ingested, it can help ease cold and flu symptoms as well as soothe a sore throat. Additionally, you can use it to make tea to alleviate a variety of health ailments.

Because peppermint oil is extremely concentrated, you won’t want to add more than two drops to your tea and in high doses, peppermint oil can be toxic. Peppermint oil used as a tea or additive to tea can help with stomach pains, bloating and digestion. Though peppermint oil tea can be enjoyed hot or cold, you’ll want to drink it hot to experience digestive benefits.

Peppermint oil is highly concentrated, so think about diluting it with a carrier oil like jojoba oil, avocado oil or coconut oil before putting it directly on the skin. For exfoliation and invigoration, try a peppermint sugar scrub. Combine 1cup of sugar,8 to10 drops of peppermint oil and1⁄4 cup of a mild oil (such as avocado oil or coconut oil) in a jar. Just like that you have a fun and festive body scrub that will invigorate the senses and get you in the mood for the holidays.

To soothe a dry, itchy scalp, dilute a few drops of a carrier oil of your choice and apply it straight to the scalp. Leave in for about 30 minutes before washing out with a gentle shampoo. You can also add a few drops of oil to your conditioner to revitalize and refresh every time you wash your hair, but do not worry, it will not make your hair greasy as peppermint oil is light and evaporative.

For full body revitalization, you might consider a Bo He tea bath. According to Align with Plants, herbal bathing is an efficient way to align our bodies with the healing powers of plants and can help revitalize our skin and help expel toxins from our body. ere are numerous places to purchase it, such as Walmart, Whole Food or Amazon, or you could grow your own to have the freshest Bo He for a bath. Put the herb in a porous, drawstring bag and add optional essential oils for other skin and body benefits. Once you have filled your drawstring bag, you can attach the bag to your bath faucet and let the water run. Soon you’ll have a rejuvenating bath that will invigorate your skin and leave you smelling like the season.

Change up the way you use peppermint oil this season and instead of only using it to cook delicious treats, use it to help you get healthy on the inside and outside!

*Always consult your physician before adding any essential oils to your routine or diet.

Peppermint oil used as a tea or additive to tea can help with stomach pains, bloating, digestion, and itchy eyes.