Peppermint is a herbaceous plant that grows throughout Europe and North America. Its leaves, oil and extracts have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
Peppermint has several health benefits, including aiding digestion and easing headaches. It’s also a good source of antioxidants that may help ward off cellular damage.
1. Aids Digestion
Many people use peppermint gum or mints after a meal to help with stomach pain or bloating. But did you know that peppermint oil, diluted in water or tea, can also provide the same relief?
Menthol, the main ingredient in peppermint, works by relaxing the muscles of the digestive tract and speeding up digestion. In addition, it reduces spasms in the colon and helps ease bloating and cramping.
Historically, people used peppermint as a treatment for general gastrointestinal disorders and to improve the flow of gas in the intestines. Today, it is recognized by researchers as effective in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastritis.
The herb can be consumed in capsule form or as a tea, although you will need to consult your doctor for the proper dosage. It is recommended to take 0.2 to 0.4 milliliters three times daily in enteric-coated capsules, which break down in the intestines instead of the stomach.
When taken in this way, peppermint oil can significantly improve symptoms of IBS such as bloating and abdominal pain. In one study, peppermint oil reduced intestinal cramping by up to 60% and improved overall symptom severity by about two-thirds compared with placebo.
It is important to note, however, that peppermint relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, which can trigger gastroesophageal reflux in some people with GERD. If you suffer from this condition, you should avoid eating minty chewing gum or candy mints as a preventative measure.
Peppermint tea is a low-calorie, sugar-free beverage that can help keep you hydrated and improve your mood. The menthol in the tea has an uplifting effect on your brain, which can help you process problems faster without feeling mentally fatigued. It is also a great calorie-free option to replace sugar-laden soft drinks and fruit juices that can cause an energy crash after a high sugar intake.
2. Soothes Headaches
Peppermint is known to be very effective at reducing the pain and swelling associated with headaches. It can also reduce symptoms of migraines like dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
One study even found that it was as effective as acetaminophen at relieving a tension headache (along with lavender essential oil, which has similar effects). The best way to use peppermint is to mix a small amount of diluted peppermint oil into a carrier oil and massage the affected areas.
Another effective way to use peppermint is by inhaling it. It is thought that the smell of peppermint helps stimulate the brain and calms the body, which can reduce the severity of a migraine or headache.
Aside from inhaling, a few drops of peppermint oil mixed with a little water can be applied to the temples and neck area to ease tension, and a cold washcloth can be used as a headache compress. This is a natural alternative to over-the-counter medication and can be used safely and effectively with no side effects!
Some people also find that chewing gum can help relieve a headache. Just be sure to avoid mint candies and drops, as they are not recommended for those with a sensitive stomach.
Other oils that can soothe headaches include lemon, rosemary, Roman chamomile and lavender. These can all be diffused or added to a warm bath for a relaxing effect.
While these oils are safe to use, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before using any of them. Some essential oils can interact with certain medications you may be taking or trigger an allergic reaction in some people. They can also irritate the skin or cause a sunburn, so be careful when applying them to exposed skin.
3. Aids Sleep
If you’re struggling to get a good night’s rest, try adding peppermint essential oil to your diffuser. It can help clear your airways and reduce snoring, both of which can contribute to poor sleep.
It’s also known to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which can promote a sense of calm and relaxation. This can be especially helpful for those who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, as it can help you drift off to sleep more quickly and stay that way.
Several studies have found that peppermint essential oil can help improve sleep quality in people with cardiac issues. In one study, participants who used peppermint essential oil before bedtime reported sleeping more deeply and feeling less fatigued the next day compared to those who didn’t use the oil.
In another study, 105 people with heart problems were randomly assigned to receive peppermint or lavender essential oil before bedtime for a week. Results showed that both groups improved their sleep quality compared to the control group, which received distilled water.
The calming effects of peppermint may be due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It can also reduce airway congestion caused by allergies and dust.
A calming effect can make it easier to fall asleep, so peppermint can be a great way to promote better rest during the holidays or any time of year when you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep. You can also add a few drops to your favorite bath salts or a hot shower before going to bed for some added relaxation.
Peppermint oil can also improve memory and alertness. It may help you process problems longer without becoming mentally tired, and it can even increase your energy levels and keep you more alert throughout the day.
4. Aids in Weight Loss
Peppermint has many benefits, but one of its best is the ability to aid in weight loss. The essential oil of the herb contains menthol, which can help you reduce your appetite and suppress cravings. In addition, peppermint is also a great natural remedy for stomach related issues such as constipation and nausea.
Another key benefit of peppermint is that it can aid in fat digestion. This is because peppermint relaxes your abdominal muscles and increases the flow of bile, which improves the body’s ability to digest fat.
In fact, a study found that the herb can even promote regular bowel movements, which helps prevent constipation and bloating. Plus, it can improve your metabolism, making you burn calories more effectively throughout the day.
If you are looking for a calorie-free beverage that will aid in weight loss, try peppermint tea. It is a hydrating drink that has a pleasantly sweet taste.
It’s a great way to kickstart your metabolism and keep you feeling satisfied for longer periods of time. It’s also a naturally calorie-free option that can help you cut back on unhealthy snacks.
Peppermint can also boost your energy levels and make you feel less fatigued. Its sharp scent may also boost your memory and keep you alert.
While there aren’t many studies that have looked at the effects of peppermint on weight loss, it is a natural ingredient that can be used as an effective supplement. It can reduce your appetite and control your food cravings, so it’s a great addition to any diet. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the risk of obesity and other health problems. It can be taken as an essential oil or a powder to add to your favorite tea.
5. Aids in Athletic Performance
Peppermint oil is an effective aid to help athletes perform better. It has been found to enhance a variety of aspects of athletic performance, including cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and exercise capacity.
It is also a great way to improve energy levels. The essential oil from peppermint is high in menthol and menthone, which can help to boost the body’s energy levels.
Researchers from the University of Mohaghegh Ardabili in Iran have discovered that ingesting 0.05 ml of peppermint oil daily for 10 days can lead to a significant increase in athletic performance. The participants experienced a fifty-one percent increase in their ability to run a quarter mile on a treadmill test, and had improved blood pressure and respiratory function.
The study found that peppermint oil helped to increase muscle mass, improve heart rate and reduce the amount of time it takes to exhaustion. The researchers recommend consuming a drop of peppermint oil mixed into a glass of water about half an hour before training to get the full benefit.
Another study has shown that smelling peppermint oil before a workout can improve your performance. This is because a person’s sense of smell plays an important role in the way they think and perform, so when you’re smelling peppermint you’ll be more motivated to train.
It’s a good idea to look for peppermint oil that’s in a capsule form or softgels, as these can be easier to take before training. I recommend ZenGest Softgels for this purpose, as they contain a blend of peppermint oil and other herbs. You can find them in most health food stores and online.