Pertinent Peppermint Information
Peppermint, the world’s toothpaste epitomized. This fast-growing plant is a hybrid species of mint, formed from a crossover of water mint and spearmint. Like all hybrids in the natural world, it is sterile – it is found naturally in the wild where the two parent species grow near each other, and is farmed for commercial use. It is a popular plant which even held a place in ancient civilizations – as far back as the first century, Pliny the Elder wrote that Greeks and Romans crowned themselves with wreaths of the mint and used it to decorate their tables; cooks at this time boiled it into their sauces and wines for flavor. Commonly used today to flavor chewing gum and ice cream, this delicious plant has myriad benefits outside of confectionery.
What is Peppermint Oil Good For Anyway?
Medically, the hybrid mint has been shown to have antispasmodic properties, and is particularly effective in relieving pain in the GI tract. Renowned for its potent essential oils, it has been used to treat everything from common coughs and colds to headaches and sinusitis, and to relieve everything from muscle pain to gas.
Peppermint can maintain and rejuvenate the body’s systems; for example, tea made from its leaves helps maintain normal and healthy digestion, while its essential oil applied sparingly around the shoulders and neck is believed to maintain high energy levels. It’s easy to see why peppermint is such an effective wonder-cure – it is a rich source of the minerals magnesium, calcium, manganese, iron, potassium, and copper and contains omega 3 and vitamins A and C. It can aid in relieving toothache, nausea and a range of symptoms caused by IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
Less well known than its healing powers is this mint’s oil’s pretty miraculous potency when it comes to hair treatment. Those same oils believed to increase alertness and energy levels can trigger powerful reactions on the scalp when utilized through peppermint shampoo and conditioner, leading to amazing hair care results and even improved hair growth. Dandruff is caused by excess sebum production on the scalp – it’s kind of like hair acne. It produces the horrible white flakes we call dandruff that can lead to itchiness and dryness. Dandruff or dry scalp clog your follicles, the tiny holes in your scalp that hair grows from, leading to a tight, itchy feeling. Peppermint oil contains antimicrobial compounds that help your scalp fight off the bacteria that trigger overproduction of sebum. It revitalizes worn-out follicles and helps the scalp create new, healthy hair. Additionally, peppermint oil is effective at balancing pH levels of the scalp, further cooling the follicles and moisturizing the dry skin. Peppermint oil binds to the hair roots, minimizing follicle spaces and increasing blood flow to the scalp. This improved circulation helps the follicles to rejuvenate, possibly even increasing hair growth. A healthier scalp means healthier hair – boosted shine, a great smell and fantastically conditioned locks.
A word to the wise – take caution. Peppermint essential oil is highly volatile; too much can cause irritation instead of the soothing comfort sought. While small quantities can be applied directly to the scalp, it is definitely better to mix a few drops with a carrier oil – not only will this protect you from potential irritation, most carrier oils provide intense conditioning treatment for even better hair!