Can you think of anything more energizing and vibrant than peppermint? Perfect as a breath refresher after a warm Italian meal, and a popular flavor for holiday treats, peppermint has been around for centuries, used in food, medicine, and skin care.
Today, we know that peppermint is a natural source of “menthol,” which helps wake up tired, dull skin. But it’s also a great source of vitamins and minerals, and has a natural ability to soothe.
Peppermint has a natural ability to cool and soothe.
A little bit about the ingredient itself
Though peppermint seems like an original, it’s actually a cross between spearmint and watermint. A perennial, it grows from 12-35 inches tall, with smooth stems, leaves with dark veins, and an overall “hairiness.” Flowers bloom from mid to late summer, and are tiny and purple with thick, blunt spikes.
Scientifically known as Mentha x piperita, or M. balsamea, it’s grown widely around the world, and spreads quickly once it sprouts. It likes moist ground, like what you may find alongside streams or creeks, or in drainage ditches. In fact, it grows so easily that in areas like New Zealand, Australia, and the Great Lakes region of the U.S., it’s considered like an invasive weed.
Internal health benefits of peppermint
Peppermint has long been known for its medicinal properties. Traditionally, it was used to calm indigestion, and was a popular digestive aid thousands of years ago in Egypt. More recently, modern studies have shown that it may help treat symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, several studies have shown that peppermint capsules can help treat pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea associated with IBS. Peppermint’s calming effect on digestion is why you see so many peppermint and mint candies given away at nice restaurants after the meal.
Because of the natural menthol, it can also help loosen up phlegm and break up coughs. Germany’s Commission E (regulatory agency for herbs) recommends 1 tablespoon of leaves in a cup of boiling water for tea to help digestive and congestion issues.
Peppermint oil's benefits to the skin
One of the best-known benefits of peppermint is its ability to soothe and cool. Always dilute the oil in a base like grape seed oil, aloe vera, or jojoba.
Other benefits to the skin include:
- Stimulating: You know how peppermint makes you feel—energized and alive, right? It does the same for your skin. Promoting blood flow, it helps liven up the feeling of your skin.
- Controls oil: Though peppermint can be used on any skin type, it’s especially helpful for oily and combination skin, as it helps balance natural oils. That means fewer clogged pores.
- Soothing: You find peppermint in many lip balms and chapsticks because of its soothing ability.
- Refreshing: When we’re talking about peppermint, we can’t ignore the scent! It’s lively and energizing, and helps wake you up in the morning.
We have peppermint in both of the following products because it helps clean, revitalize, and wake up your skin on your face and body.
Do you use peppermint oil? Please share your tips.