Peppermint essential oil is so useful that is it comes as no surprise that even folks that are not well versed in the use of essential oils will have a bottle in their first aid kit. In my own case, peppermint oil was added to my collection in the '80s when I started suffering debilitating migraine headaches. Thankfully, the headaches are gone, but peppermint essential oil remains a core component in my medicine cabinet.
There are many ways to use peppermint essential oil: topically either neat or mixed with a carrier oil, internally as a tea or as an addition to water, or aromatically in a diffuser or in a steaming bowl of water. Peppermint oil may also be ingested provided it is what is called “therapeutic grade”. You will know this by the supplement information on the label.
WHAT IS PEPPERMINT?
First and foremost, peppermint is a prolific garden plant that is so profuse that in my area. it must be confined to pots or planters lest it take over the entire garden. Trust me on this; left unchecked it is like a weed.
There is archaeological evidence that peppermint was used by the ancients for medicinal use. Most likely, the plant leaves were ingested in food as well as in teas, much as they are used today. Whether the ancients had their own version of the Mojito is up for grabs but chances are they did!
Peppermint and peppermint essential oil have many health-promoting properties. Peppermint is a great digestive, helps the respiratory system, promotes good circulation, and is an excellent anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. It also smells good and makes a superb air and breath freshener.
According to the National Institutes of Health, peppermint oil reduces spasms in the digestive tract. When applied to the skin, it creates surface warmth, which in turn relieves pain beneath the skin.
Of the hundreds of potential uses for peppermint oil, I present 20 that are the most practical and most useful in a survival situation.
1. Zap Headaches: A few drops of peppermint oil massaged around the temples, the base of the skull and along the hairline will help chase away a headache. You may also dilute the oil in a carrier oil first. If you are prone to frequent headaches, add both peppermint and lavender essential oils to a roller bottle along with some fractionated coconut oil. Keep the bottle handy to apply whenever you feel a headache coming on.
2. Eliminate Bad Breath/Halitosis: Bad breath is typically a symptom of some underlying factor. If the issue is digestive, 4 drops of peppermint oil diluted with water and swished in the mouth like mouthwash will bring relief. Better yet, add a few drops to some brandy and swish.
3. Relieve Heartburn: Add a drop or peppermint oil to your tea along with a teaspoon of honey. Or, try a drop of two of peppermint oil in a glass of milk. You can also mix 5 drops with a teaspoon of carrier oil (coconut oil, olive oil, etc.) and massage onto your upper abdomen.
4. Cool a Fever: A few drops of peppermint mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the torso can reduce body temperature by 3 degrees in minutes. You can also place a few drops of oil on a wet washcloth and apply head to toe to comfort and cool a fevered body.
5. Prevent Drowsiness: Combine peppermint with a citrus oil such as lemon or orange and apply to the back of the neck. Inhale the oil that is left on your hands. I love this; it really does work.
6. Soothe a Stomach Ache: Put one drop in a large glass water and drink up.
7. Reduce Bloating: Rub on the stomach to help with bloating caused by gas and indigestion.
8. Combat Nausea: Rub a drop of peppermint oil on the abdomen or place a drop in a cup of hot water and sip it.
9. Stop Itching: Apply peppermint oil to stop itching caused by bug bites, hives, poison ivy or poison oak.
10. Relieve constipation: Combined with a carrier oil and massaged over the lower abdomen, peppermint will relieve the constipation and get things moving again.
11. Deter Mice: Place cotton balls with peppermint in areas around your home where mice like to congregate. Mice do not like peppermint (and by the way, neither do raccoons).
12. Repel spiders and ants: Place peppermint oil on a cotton ball or cotton pad and place in areas where you find spiders and ants. Better yet, make a peppermint bug spray. Add 4-5 drops of peppermint essential oil to water in a spray bottle. This also works to get rid of aphids in the garden.
13. Tick removal: Soak some peppermint oil on a q-tip then dab on the tick. Look for the tick to withdraw its head and then remove it.
14. Tendonitis and joint pain: I have shared this one with you before. Mix 10 drops each of peppermint, lavender and rosemary oil with 2 tablespoons of carrier oil. Massage away your aches and pains. This is also the basis for Miracle Healing Salve. It simply works!
15. Relieve seasonal allergies: Combine lavender, peppermint and lemon essential oils together with some carrier oil and rub on the bottoms of the feet, the back of the neck and across the forehead. Then take your hands, cup them over your nose and inhale with deep cleansing breaths. This will bring instant relief.
16. Relaxing foot soak: Add peppermint oil to a pan or bowl or warm water for a relaxing foot soak Follow up with some DIY Peppermint Scrub. The same applies to tired aching feet. Add a few drops to a foot bath to relieve sore, swollen and overworked feet.
17. Stress relief: Add to a diffuser to provide relief from stress, depression and mental exhaustion. There is something uplifting about peppermint and will leave you refreshed. This is also effective when your are feeling anxious and restless.
18. Freshen air: Ditto. Add to a diffuser to freshen the air.
19. Household cleaning: Mix with vinegar and water to make an effective, all purpose household cleaner that I call “Peppermint Juice”. Here is the recipe from Prepper Checklist: DIY Cleaning Supplies:
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 32 oz. (1 quart) cups water
- 1/4 tsp. to 1/2 tsp. peppermint essential oil
THE FINAL WORD
I have been slowly introducing you to my favorite essential oils, namely those that belong in every preppers survival kit. So far we have tea tree (melaleuca), lavender, clove, rosemary and peppermint. There is one more to go in the essential kit, namely lemon.
The good news is that all of these oils are inexpensive and highly affordable.
Of course there are other E.O.s and especially some dynamite blends that do everything from provide relief from aches and pains to to help with getting a good nights sleep. But for now, let’s stick with basics. Learn to use them alone and in combination to help solve those everyday annoyances that prevent us from being our best.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye started Backdoor Survival to share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. She considers her sharing of knowledge her way of giving back and as always, we at Natural Blaze are grateful for her contributions. If you would like to read more from Gaye Levy, check out her blog at http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/. You can also visit her Facebook page or sign up for updates by email by clicking on Backdoor Survival Updates.