Photo by kazmulka -- Getty Images
Peppermint has a long history of being used as a medicinal herb for issues like stomach problems, muscle pains, and even headaches. Peppermint essential oil, botanical name Mentha piperita, is extracted by steam distillation and is an extremely potent essential oil. It blends well with basil, bergamot, cajeput, cedarwood, eucalyptus, lemon, lime, mandarin, marjoram, niaouli, pine, rosemary, spearmint, and thyme.
Peppermint oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, insecticidal, antispasmodic, and carminative properties and the entire plant contains menthol. This fragrant oil is often used in aromatherapy, lozenges, toothpastes, balms, and rubs, because of the methanol and menthone components.
Using peppermint oil
Because peppermint is an essential oil, and a rather potent one at that, using it in its undiluted form is not recommended. Applying peppermint essential oil directly to the skin can be irritating, so we recommend diluting it with a carrier oil such as almond oil or jojoba oil. With its cooling effect and sweet smell, it can be misjudged as safe for everyone but it can trigger side effects in people with sensitivities.
Benefits of peppermint essential oil
This oil contains a host of minerals and nutrients including, calcium, copper, folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. It has omega-3, vitamins A, and C, and due to the menthol, menthone and methyl esters in peppermint essential oil it is widely used in cigarettes, chew gum, teas, ice creams, soaps and shampoos. It is widely used to aid with indigestion, dental care, stress, and even respiratory problems.
Benefits of peppermint essential oil for hair
This oil is a powerhouse of nutrients and minerals with some fatty acids and that cooling effect from menthol, which you have probably experienced in shampoo and scalp products. It also has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, which help to cool the scalp, eliminate dandruff and fight lice. It is used in hair products to relieve a dry scalp, stimulate hair growth, and give hair a healthy shine.
You can mix your own oil for stimulating scalp massages or give your shampoo or conditioner a boost by adding a few drops of oil to them. These treatments help increase blood circulation to the scalp which contributes to stimulating hair growth. This is one of the reasons you find this oil in products for baldness or hair thinning. There are many hair products that carry this great oil in their formula, but you always have the option of creating your own DIY oil yourself.
How to make your own peppermint oil pre-poo
If you love the feeling of a tingly scalp (and don't find it irritating) then you can create your own pre-poo mix to harness the scalp stimulating properties of peppermint.
What you'll need:
- 5 drops of peppermint oil
- 6 drops of coconut oil
Apply the oil mixture to your scalp for 20-30 minutes before your normal cleansing routine. Be sure to use the pads of your fingers - you don't want to scratch your scalp at all with your nails. Then rinse your hair and shampoo or co-wash as you normally would. You can learn more about this peppermint oil pre-poo and its benefits here.