PEPPERMINT

PEPPERMINT
(mentha piperita)

 

Article by Kaniz F. Shah

Botanical Name: mentha piperita
English Name:  peppermint
Hindi Name:  pudina
Popular Name(s): mint, menta,pudina
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum/Division:  
Class:  
Order: lamiales
Family: labiatae (mint)
Genus: mentha
Species: m. piperita
Parts Used: leaves, stems
Habitat: Europe
Planting: cool, damp, stream environment
Height: 1.5'-3'
Taste:   
Odor: sharp, pungent
Effect / Energy:  cooling
Extraction method: steam distilled
Blends with:  

Aromatherapy

Best essential oil for energy

Psychological Properties:

      refreshes, energizes, uplifts, relieves mental fatigue

Subtle Properties:

      energizes & refreshes the mind, promotes alertness & clarity, encourages insightful thinking

Associated with:

      Bee
 

Nutrients:

Vitamin A, vit. C, omega 3, Menthol, methone, menthofuran, methyl acetate

 

Properties:

Digestive tonic, antispasmodic, analgesic, carminative, expectorant

Plant description and cultivation:

In the first century AD, Romans would deck themselves with wreaths of peppermint during feasts and eat it in flavored sauces, but the herb didn’t take its toll until its medicinal properties were acknowledged in the 17th Century. In the 18th century it was cultivated in England as a commercial crop. Germany and France have continued as major producers, and now most essential oil is produced in the USA.
Peppermint is a hybrid of two species, Mentha aquatic (water mint) and Mentha spicata (spearmint) and occurs in two varieties, called black or white. It is a tough, invasive plant with creeping roots and aromatic leaves. It thrives in damp, heavy soil and also likes shade. Once introduced, it is difficult to eradicate. Planting in large pots with drainage will prevent it from spreading all over.
Peppermint essential oil is rich in menthol (extracted by steam distillation) as well as bitters and tannins, giving digestive-tonic, antispasmodic, analgesic, carminative and expectorant properties.

Health Benefits:

Digestive Support: Peppermint is one of the best aids for digestive disorders. It is very effective for dyspepsia (indigestion), stomach cramps and nausea. It does not stimulate the uterus and so it is safe for morning sickness.
Peppermint is a rich source of Vitamin A and C and contains omega 3 fatty acids which help in fighting sun damage. Be sure to dilute the oil to prevent irritation.
Peppermint contains a nutrient called Perillyl alcohol which is known to prevent the formation of skin cancer cells.

Peppermint oil for hair:

Peppermint oil has long been widely used in many countries for hair treatments. Some benefits of the oil include:

  • Moisturization

    - Peppermint oil is a strong moisturizer. It can be mixed with a carrier oil (olive, almond, sesame or castor oil) for deeper penetration and dilution to minimize the chances of irritation.
  • Reduces Sebum Production-

    Peppermint oil functions as an astringent. It helps reduce excess oils produced by your scalp and balances the scalp’s pH level.
  • Promotes Hair Growth & Prevents Hair Loss-

    The oil penetrates into the scalp to stimulate the hair follicles. It improves blood circulation, which increases the oxygen supply, thus helping in hair growth. The increased circulation also brings nutrients to the hair follicle, which in turn, strengthen the roots and help prevent hair fall.
  • Fights Dry Scalp and Dandruff-

    Peppermint oil can combat both oily and dry scalp problems because it does not reduce or increase oil production. It simply balances the oil production to restore it to its normal condition. Similarly, it tackles itching, flakes and dandruff issues.

Skin Benefits of Peppermint:

  • Heals the skin

    - It’s soothing properties make it an effective treatment for rashes, poison oak and poison ivy.
  • Reduces oil production-

    Peppermint leaves have been used widely for ages to treat oily and greasy skin. Menthol in peppermint reduces the secretion of oil from the sebaceous glands, Apply a paste of freshly grounded peppermint leaves mixed with water (honey or aloe vera may also be added) on the face and leave on for 10 minutes. Wash off with warm water and pat dry.
  • Blemish relief-

    Peppermint is known to balance the pH levels of the skin, which balances the production of excessive oils in the skin thereby reducing acne and breakouts. It’s astringent, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties diminishes the appearance of acne, blackheads, rashes and redness of the skin. Mix 2 drops of peppermint oil to your regular face wash and wash you face with it 2 times a day. You can also mix a drop or two of this oil to your night cream or moisturizer to treat acne and skin rashes.

WARNING:

This article is for informational purpose only. Peppermint oil is not a treatment for any disease or condition. It is generally safe when used on the skin or hair, but to ensure safety, it is best to do an allergy test. Consult your doctor before using for medical purposes.

Bibliography:


1. Bull, Ruah. "The Spring Months." Daily Aromatherapy Transforming the Seasons of Your Life with Essential Oils. By Joni Keim. Berkeley: North Atlantic, 2008. 93. Print.
2. Moore, Michael. "Peppermint." Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West. Santa Fe: Red Crane, 1993. 200-03. Print.

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