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Cool as Peppermint by Jessica La Grassa

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For years, when I worked in an office, I’d have a cup of peppermint tea around 3pm. I’m not entirely sure how or why this started but it quickly became a daily habit that brought a moment of peace and made me feel good. Five whole minutes to myself while I waited for the water to boil and the tea to steep. They were glorious. Looking back, and now knowing a bit more about the healing properties of peppermint, I can understand why I enjoyed this so much and why I continue to drink and use peppermint regularly. You’ll soon understand why, too.

Peppermint (Menthe Piperita) is part of the Labiate family (like lavender!) and is a perennial herb. As anyone who has this in their garden knows, the roots are wide spreading and strong with some countries even classifying it as invasive. Originally from France, the essential oil comes from steam-distilling the leaves and flowering tops. The smell is very distinct and when asked to describe it, most will say it smells: clean, cool, strong, minty or fresh. It has been used as a medicinal herb for hundreds of years as it aids the digestive system with issues such as travel sickness, nausea, stomach pains, cramping or indigestion (to name but a few). Applied topically, peppermint also helps with muscle pain and tightness, as it increases circulation and cools the area while paradoxically warming it as well. Its stimulating properties encourage mind clearing and mental awareness while also easing headaches and migraines. Last but not least, it supports the respiratory system by providing relief to coughs and colds. Sadly though, peppermint’s predominant use nowadays is flavouring in food and beverages and as a fragrance in toiletries and cosmetics.

Going back to the peppermint tea just for a second: I’m pretty sure it became a daily habit because the aroma worked to clear my mind and make me calmer; while the actual steeped tea eased any nerves or digestive issues.  

Before we dive into some fun blends and ways we can bring peppermint essential oil into our lives, I’d like to point out some precautions. When using it in a blend try to minimize the number of drops, as the smell will overpower almost any other oils that you’re using. It does however blend well with eucalyptus, lavender, lemon and rosemary. The dilution factor should not be greater that 1%, again because it can be overpowering and strong given its chemical constitution (of Menthol and Menthone). Placing this essential oil directly on the body, which I do not agree with (please use a carrier oil!) will leave a cool and tingly sensation.

Okay, now onto the fun stuff! Let’s play with peppermint essential oil and create the following:

Foot Scrub

This is great for tired or aching feet. In a medium sized bowl mix half a cup of either brown or white sugar with a quarter cup of carrier oil (olive, sweet almond or jojoba are good options here), 6 drops of peppermint essential oil and 8 drops of lavender essential oil. Once fully mixed, transfer to a low jar or container with a lid. To use, sit on the edge of a bathtub or over a large basin and rub a small amount of the mixture onto wet feet, one at a time, for at least 5 minutes, concentrating on problem areas. Rinse. Then dry. If you’ve done this in the bathtub make sure to wash it afterwards as the oils could make the bottom slippery.

Room Sprays and Diffuser Blends

This room spray is great at clearing and energizing the mind. Fill a 50ml spray bottle with distilled water and add 6 drops of peppermint essential oil, 8 drops of lavender essential oil and 4 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Place the lid on and shake. To use, just spray away! Note: you’ll need to shake before each use. I call this blend of essential oils (i.e. peppermint, lavender and eucalyptus) the spa blend because it reminds me so much of going to the spa. It works great in a diffuser too; just lower the drop count to 3 peppermint, 4 lavender and 2 eucalyptus.

Another great blend for when you’re fighting the common cold (hello winter, we see you) is peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary. Simply add 3 drops of each to your diffuser and up it to 6 drops each for the 50ml room spray.

Digestive Blend

In a 10ml roll-on bottle place 2 drops of peppermint essential oil, 2 drops of fennel essential oil and 4 drops of sweet orange essential oil to 10ml of carrier oil (again, any will do here). Place the lid on and shake. To use, roll onto your abdomen and massage in.

How do you use peppermint essential oil? Share your experiences with us using #RitualFlowerPower

Jessica La Grassa is a transplant Hamiltonian and a certified Aromatologist who enjoys sharing her knowledge and green living recipes with others.

Get in touch! Email or find me on Instagram @jessicalagrassa