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By Karen Appold
Peppermint is well known for its delicious flavor and minty aroma. But peppermint is not only good for its taste and smell; its oil has a host of health benefits, too.
Peppermint oil, which is clear with a slight yellow tinge, is extracted from the herb by steam distillation. It contains vitamins (A and C); minerals (calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, folate, potassium, and copper); and omega-3 fatty acids. Menthol, its main component, is responsible for its famous minty aroma and amazing cooling sensation when it’s touched or tasted.
Here’s are some health conditions that peppermint oil can help with.
Dental care: Peppermint oil, which has antiseptic properties, can get rid of bad breath, help fight germs in your mouth, and relieve toothaches.
Headaches: Smelling a cloth containing peppermint drops can bring headache relief. Or, try massaging a few drops onto your forehead, temples, or back of your neck to relieve your headache and stress.
Indigestion: Put a few drops of peppermint oil in a glass of water and drink it after you eat. It will help to remove gas. It can also help to prevent upset stomach, heartburn, bloating, and motion sickness.
Irritable bowel syndrome: Peppermint oil has relaxing properties that can ease irritable bowel syndrome.
Pain relief: Peppermint oil’s cooling properties can help to reduce fever. Because it has anti-inflammatory properties, this oil can lower pain and swelling when massaged into joints and muscles.
Respiratory problems: Peppermint oil contains menthol, which can help to clear your respiratory tract. As an expectorant, it can give relief from colds and coughing, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, and nasal congestion.
Stress and depression: By breathing in peppermint’s refreshing scent during a hot bath, some people have found relief from stress, depression, and mental exhaustion. It has also helped people with anxiety and restlessness.
Other health benefits of peppermint oil include increasing your immunity to diseases, improving blood circulation, removing lice and dandruff, and improving oily skin. It has also been used to treat cancer and tuberculosis.
Given its bounty of benefits, it’s no wonder that peppermint is added to many medications and supplements, as well as foods, soaps, and cosmetics.
Peppermint oil is also sold as a nutritional supplement in both tablets and capsules.
Karen Appold is a medical writer based in Lehigh Valley, PA.