Peppermint Essential Oil



Peppermint-bannerAs nature’s immaculate coolant, the world celebrates Peppermint as the most distinguished member of the mint family, Labiatae along with Spearmint, Pennyroyal, Corsican mint, Lemon mint, Watermint, Lavender, Field mint, Apple mint or Chocolate mint, Patchouli, Thyme and Silver mint. Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE), the Roman natural philosopher, scientist and naturalist rightly said “The smell of mint stirs up the mind and appetite to a greedy desire of food.”

Peppermint essential oil is extracted from the aromatic leaves of this plant and is known since ages as an excellent digestive aid with a bundle of other health benefits as well. The encyclopedia of Ayurveda talks about the notable use of Peppermint essential oil as a cooling carminative that enhances digestion and elimination by eradicating blockages and facilitating the flow of energy from within.

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Historical importance of Peppermint and its oil:

Peppermint dates back to 1000 BC when the dried leaves are said to be found in Pyramids. Indigenous to Europe, this herb was first used by the primeval Egyptians as a natural digestive support. Few mythological studies say that the word Peppermint has its origin from Greek myths in the outline of a love triangle involving Hades, his wife Persephone and the nymph Minthe (who was later turned into Peppermint).

Interestingly, Peppermint is a natural hybrid of Spearmint and Watermint. The ancient Romans loved growing Peppermint in their gardens and in the pathways of stepping stones for greeting their guests with its wonderful aroma and for its innumerable medicinal benefits.

It was also used as a form of currency for the kind of esteem and admiration it had in Egypt. Peppermint was used as a tooth polisher by the ancient monks.

The Biblical importance of Peppermint has added even more to its value. Jesus Christ says to the Pharisees,But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” It was also used as a culinary herb in the folklore cooking for seasoning meat and assisting in quicker digestion.

Listed as a natural remedy for treating all kinds of illnesses from venereal disease, cold, sores, headache and digestive problems, Peppermint emerged as a distinguished species in the London Pharmacopoeia in the 16th century.  It was also mentioned in the Icelandic Pharmacopoeias as a much valued herbal remedy in 1240 AD. Peppermint was used as a prized herb by the Native Americans and now the United States is the world’s largest producer of Peppermint essential oil contributing to more than 75% of the total production.

Chemical constituents Gas Chromatography Report of Peppermint essential oil:

According to the Gas chromatography report, Peppermint oil constitutes of 10 major chemical components that contribute to its distinctive fragrance, remedial properties and quality, among which, menthol has an upper hand with about 38.6 percent.

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For learning more about the exclusive information of these key constituents of Peppermint oil.

The table below on the Gas Chromatography report talks about the principal chemical constituents and its role in granting the therapeutic properties and other attributes to Peppermint oil.

Pepper-mint-oilTherapeutic properties of Peppermint essential oil:

The therapeutic actions of Peppermint essential oil are carminative, decongestant, immune stimulant, anti-infectious, febrifuge, cardio tonic, nervine, hypertensive, antipruritic, antifungal, sedative, expectorant, antibacterial, mucolytic and anti-carcinogenic.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Peppermint essential oil:

Known as Pudina in Sanskrit, Peppermint is a popular culinary herb used for its minty, fresh and enriching aroma for enhancing taste and adding extra flavor to the lip-smacking dishes. Ayurvedic remedies wholly depend on Mother Nature trusting that every single thing on the earth is an incredible part of nature including human beings.

The strong principles of Ayurveda establish that every individual is made up of three vital energy elements known as doshas (vata-air, pitta-fire and kapha-water), which determine the personality, character, behavior and health conditions of a person. A person is said to be healthy when there is perfect balance between all the three doshas and dosha imbalances cause illness. Peppermint and its essential oil in Ayurveda is said to calm all the three doshas.

Peppermint according to Ayurveda has cooling and heating energy (virya), sweet and pungent taste (rasa), dry, penetrating and light quality (guna), benefits the nerve, blood and plasma tissues (dhatu), with a post-digestive effect (vipaka), Peppermint stimulates the circulatory, nervous, digestive and respiratory channels (srotas).

Let’s have a look at the major Ayurvedic health benefits of Peppermint essential oil:Pepermint-broucher1. Keeps away from harmful bacteria and fungi:

Peppermint is a powerful antibacterial oil mainly because of the presence of menthol that aids in fighting against harmful bacteria like salmonella, e.coli and staph.

A 2010 study on ‘Protective effects of bioactive phytochemicals from Mentha piperita with multiple health potentials’ proved that Peppermint oil has effective antimicrobial and antioxidant effect that fights against harmful microbes and supplemented for nutritional benefits and food preservation. Bacterial infections are responsible for wounds becoming septic and other skin problems like acne.

The Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran proved that the menthol component in Peppermint oil is defiant to fungus including candida. The State University of Brazil also established that Peppermint essential oil varieties have anti-candida effects. For all these reasons Peppermint oil acts as a natural remedy for treating fungal infections like athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch and other yeast infections.

Applying 2 drops of Peppermint essential oil blended with gentle carrier oils like coconut oil aids in treating bacterial and fungal infections. You can also add 2 drops of this oil in warm foot bath or in bathing water for fighting against such detrimental microbes.

2. Enlivens the mind:

The invigorating, refreshing, cooling and reassuring aroma of Peppermint essential oil boosts mental power.  Inhaling the aroma of this oil grants a complete stream of freshness to fight the challenges of a rising day.

Adding 2 to 3 drops of drops of Peppermint oil in your air freshener, diffuser or in your handkerchief can grant you immense energy and confidence throughout the day. This therapy employed in your study room can help improve your memory skills and concentration power.

3 to 4 drops of Peppermint oil blended with Sesame oil can act as an efficacious massage oil and as a bathing oil for enhancing your mental strength, treating stress, reducing fatigue and anxiety. It also helps in treating anger, mental strain, confusion, nervousness, palpitations, vertigo and depression.

3. Alleviates tension headache better than the other alternative therapies:

Peppermint essential oil is also an effectual natural remedy for treating tension headache. A clinical trial on ‘Effectiveness of Oleum menthae piperitae and paracetamol in therapy of headache of the tension type’ witnessed “Peppermint oil thus proves to be a well-tolerated and cost-effective alternative to usual therapies for alleviating tension-type headache.” This study also proved that there was not much significant difference in efficacy between acetaminophen and Peppermint oil and there are no reported adverse effects as well.

4. Clears all kinds of stagnation:

Peppermint essential oil is a proven stimulant and tonic especially to the brain, pancreas and heart. It is known for clearing away all kinds of stagnations including physical and mental. Peppermint oil clears stagnation in the blood, lymph, stomach and gallbladder. It also breaks emotional blockages.

The expectorant and decongestant properties of this oil help in open the blocked sinus passages and aid in clearing mucus deposits from the respiratory tract by adding 2 drops of this oil in steam inhalation.

The diaphoretic quality of Peppermint oil aids in reducing the body temperature in the early stages of fever by releasing the heat of the body through sweat. Applying two drops of Peppermint oil blended with coconut oil on your foot helps in quicker recovery from fever. This blend can also be rubbed on the chest, back and neck for treating congestion, cough and blocked nose.

5. Stimulates the digestive system:

The essential oil of Peppermint and the herb itself are known to the world as a promising digestive remedy. Numerous research studies have proved that Peppermint oil is effective in relaxing gastrointestinal smooth muscle, more or less due the antagonistic effect on calcium channels in the gut.

The American Family Physician Forum states that Peppermint oil is effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, non-ulcer dyspepsia, tension headache and lessening spasm at the time of gastrointestinal procedures.

Peppermint oil along with the combination of caraway oil has been proved in reducing the symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia like bloating, fullness and gastro-intestinal spasm. Gently rub 3 drops of Peppermint essential oil with Sesame oil on the stomach and abdomen to help relieve indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, constipation and pain.

6. Absolute care for hair and skin:

The skin-friendly attributes of Peppermint oil aids in treating eczema, lesions, acne, insect bites, rashes, allergies, irritation and itchiness. Gently massaging your skin with 2 drops of Peppermint oil blended with sweet almond oil helps in nourishing and hydrating dry, dull and lifeless skin. You can also add 2 to 3 drops of oil in your daily lotions and creams and apply it on the affected area.

Dandruff, dry itchy scalp and lice are the major problems associated with hair. Peppermint oil has stimulating and cooling effects. When added to sesame oil and massaged on the scalp helps improve blood circulation, enrich the scalp, conditions your hair and improves hair growth. Adding 3 to 4 drops of Peppermint oil to your shampoo or hair conditioner can add shine to your hair and make it look smooth and silky.

Other health benefits:

Few believe that adding 1 drop of Peppermint oil besides your pillow can bring dreams that reflect your future. Peppermint essential oil when used in massage, added to diffuser or diluted in bath can help relieve menstrual cramps, muscular pain, urinary infections, belching, nerve pain, uterine spasms and much more. The presence of menthol makes Peppermint, a much valued oil in making toothpastes, mouthwashes, cough syrups, ointments, shampoos and soaps, vaporizing rubs etc.

Disclaimer: Never use essential oils internally or apply directly on skin as essential oils are highly concentrated liquids. Always remember using essential oils blended with carrier oils or diluted in bath or in diffusers. Speak with your Ayurvedic Practitioner before using essential oils for your specific body type and your unique state of health.

The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) of Peppermint oil is readily available for your enhanced safety and better usage.

Gas Chromatography Report of Peppermint essential oil.

Thought for the day:

The world is like a little marsh filled with mint and white hawthorn.
-Mary MacLane

Suggested Reading:

  1. HEALING POWERS OF PEPPERMINT OIL (The Aromatherapy Professional: Healing with Essential Oils) by KG Stiles
  2. How to Use Peppermint Essential Oil (Aromatherapy) by Miriam Kinai
  3. Digestive Wellness: Strengthen the Immune System and Prevent Disease Through Healthy Digestion, Fourth Edition by Elizabeth Lipski
  4. Integrative Gastroenterology (Weil Integrative Medicine Library) by Gerard Mullin

Reference Links:

  1. Peppermint History by Indepthinfo on Peppermint
  2. Peppermint Oil by American Family Physician
  3. Protective effects of bioactive phytochemicals from Mentha piperita with multiple health potentials by Shahed University, Tehran published in PubMed
  4. Effectiveness of Oleum menthae piperitae and paracetamol in therapy of headache of the tension type, published in PubMed

Ayurveda and Turmeric Essential Oil: The Natural Bond



You can seldom find an Indian kitchen without this noble herb named ‘Turmeric’, used since 4000 years in the ancient healing system known as Ayurveda. The power of this herb is being realized by the contemporary researchers and innumerable research studies prove its efficiency, fighting for its stand in healing even the most complicated of the diseases. Each and every part of the turmeric plant is beneficial in its own ways and the essential oil is extracted from the rhizomes or the roots of this plant and that is why most of the times, Turmeric essential oil is favorably called as Turmeric root essential oil. Whenever and wherever you talk about or think about Ayurveda, you can never neglect the essence and health values imparted by this grand herb known as ‘Kanchani’ in Sanskrit meaning ‘The Golden Goddess’.

Healing properties of ‘versatile’ herb Turmeric: Turmeric herb is scientifically known as Curcuma Longa. The essential oil extracted from  the roots or bulbs of  this Indian Saffron plant by steam distillation process is said to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, analgesic, anti-oxidant, anti-spasmodic, antiseptic, diuretic, anti-allergic, digestive, vulnerary, carminative, astringent, cardiovascular, cholagogue, anti-tumor, appetizer, stimulant and alterative properties proven to be the best natural cure for the most problematical human illnesses like cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, urinary tract infections, amenorrhea, hemorrhoids, gallstones, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) like Genital Herpes, Hepatitis-C etc, liver problems and even the most obscure skin disorders. Ayurveda suggests the use of turmeric in daily cooking for its priceless medicinal benefits.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Turmeric essential oil: Ayurveda has proudly named Turmeric as an ‘All-Purpose Cleanser’, insisting on the benefits of this herb in purifying the body from internal and external disorders. This energizing herb is meant to support the imbalance of Kapha body type (who are generally fat, obese and with a hefty body) with its warming properties and that is why Turmeric is used as an effective remedy in numerous natural weight-loss treatments. It also helps in resuming the function of pitta and vata body types also.

Nature’s shield against cancer: Cancer is hard to think and difficult to digest and I have personally felt the pain of losing my near ones to this deadly disease, being ignorant of the curative values granted by Ayurveda few years back. Turmeric has been used in numerous Ayurvedic treatments to help fight against cancer as it is said to restrain the development of fresh blood vessels in tumors and holds its growth. An accepted research in 2011 has witnessed that Turmeric essential oil has the capacity to fight against the free radicals in the body and act as excellent antioxidant, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory agents. Ayurveda’s uses of Turmeric oil as an effective tool for preventing cancer has again been proved by this research which says that Turmeric essential oil increases the level of Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and augment carcinogen detoxification in the human body and effectively function as a perfect cancer-preventing force.

Brilliantly assists the digestive system: Along with imparting irresistible aroma and flavor to the food, turmeric supports the function of the digestive system. The safety prescribing authority of herbs in Germany known as the German Commission E has allegedly approved the use of Turmeric in treating digestive disorders. It stimulates the mucous element in the gastric juices and aids in curing irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, constipation and other chronic digestive disorders. Turmeric essential oil strengthens digestion and eliminates the toxins that are stored in the gastrointestinal tract.

Pampers the skin perfectly: Turmeric is the beauty secret of Queens since the prehistoric period. Ayurveda suggests the use of Turmeric daily as it protects the skin from harmful bodies and gives a flawless fair complexion. You might have come across the use of Turmeric essential oil in innumerable skin care products in the market for it is celebrated to treat wounds, eczema, wrinkles, pigmentation of skin, pimples, acne, psoriasis, cuts, burns and other skin infections.

Other health conditions: According to Ayurveda, turmeric is said to reduce Kapha (mucous secretion) and hence it is used an as effective aid in treating respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, accumulation of phlegm, common cold, cough, flu etc. It improves blood circulation and helps in treating female health problems like amenorrhea, dysmennorhea, uterine tumors, endometriosis and cysts. It protects the liver, treats diabetes, kidney pain, colitis, food poisoning, headache, vascular dysfunction, blood pressure, inflammation, swelling and reduces excess cholesterol.

How to use Turmeric essential oil: This powerful essential oil can be diluted with carrier oils and used as a topical application or for a relaxing Ayurvedic massage. Few drops of oil can be added to potpourris, vaporizers, candles or diffusers for combating germs in the air and protecting the environment naturally. It can also be added to your bath tub for an aromatic, healing, stimulating and energizing bath. Turmeric essential oil is generally ingested for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties but it is strictly advised to consult an expert Ayurvedic Practitioner before using this oil internally and if you are pregnant or getting ready for a child.

All that glitters is not gold’ is a popular adage. With the bright golden color, Turmeric in the Ayurvedic world can be remembered by saying ‘All that glitters is Turmeric’ (rightly called as the Golden Goddess).

Thought for the day♥

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.

                                                                                    -Thomas Carlyle

Suggested reading:

  1. Turmeric: The Ayurvedic Spice of Life by Prashanti DeJager MS
  2. Curcumin: The 21st Century Cure: Prevent and Reverse: cancer, depression and dementia, digestive disorders, diabetes, pain and arthritis, heart disease and more by Jan McBarron M.D.
  3. Turmeric and the Healing Curcuminoids by Muhammed Majeed, Vladimir Badmaev, Frank Murray

Reference Links:

  1. Turmeric: ‘The Golden Goddess’ by California College of Ayurveda
  2. Turmeric by University of Maryland Medical Center
  3. An evaluation of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antinociceptive activities of essential oil from Curcuma longa. L by PubMed
  4. Uses of Turmeric in Ayurveda by IndiaNetzone

Ayurvedic Treatment For Cracked Foot



Ouch!!! It aches, especially on every step that I take. What can I do?’ These are the mind words of people who have sore, cracked foot. Women are often affected and suffer with dry, cracked and not so appealing heels more than men. Your dream footwear will just be sleeping on the shelves of the shoe rack, till you treat your cracked foot. I have seen people hide their foot, with the fear of unveiling their thorny, flaky and busted heels also known as heel fissures. Painful, cracked and dry heels is a predominant cosmetic problem and has been termed as Padadari in Ayurveda and has been explained in Kshudra Rogas in Sushruta Samhita. There are innumerable remedies for cracked foot in Ayurveda and let’s have a look at the promising Ayurvedic essential oils for healing heel fissures.

Causes for cracks or fissures: Human foot is the powerful part of the body helping one to withstand all severe climatic conditions and roam around, yet it is this part of the body that is often neglected. Cracks on foot have no age limit and it can affect anyone for that matter irrelevant of the sex, color and origin. The major causes for cracks or heel fissures are:

  • Cracks are occupational especially for farmers and other people who are involved in laborious tasks that demand standing always, which lead to huge pressure on the foot forcing it to develop cracks.
  • Prolonged standing on hard floor and this is the reason why most of the homemakers develop cracks.
  • Dry, dull and lifeless skin that lacks moisture, especially during winter has the tendency to develop cracks.
  • Uncomfortable, not so fitting or open back footwear compels pressure on the foot, while widening and deepening the cracks.
  • Obesity or excess accumulation of fat and deficiency of essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
  • Dry, hot, humid and tropical climatic conditions make your feet dull, dry and hard paving way to develop cracks.
  • Aging and skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, athlete’s foot etc.
  • High exposure of feet to dust, dirt, germs and other harmful organisms leading to infection in the foot.
  • Excess sweating of feet or other causal illnesses like thyroid and diabetes can also cause cracks on the foot.

Symptoms: Cracks generally appear on the external or outer walls of the heels, when it is thick and dry. The symptoms of cracked foot are dry, itchy and painful heels with flaky and red patches and partition of skin looking like root hairs. When left unnoticed, fissures may start bleeding with excruciating pain and might even lead to developing Calluses, Cellulites, and Lymphangitis etc. Anyone with cracked feet will have greater discomfort while walking and the cracks can act as a dangerous channel for bacteria, virus, fungi and other harmful organisms to enter into the body and complicate the situation.

Ayurvedic treatment for Cracked foot: Ayurveda, the natural healing science suggests the systematic way of living in harmony with nature. Following an Ayurvedic routine can weaken your illness woes and strengthen your immunity. Padadari or cracked heels occurs mainly due to Vata imbalance. Ayurvedic texts recommend human beings to keep themselves clean and maintain perfect personal hygiene, which can help in controlling and preventing illness.

1. Pamper your feet with an Ayurvedic massage: Feet is one such vital part of the body that needs complete pampering and with such care it would remain soft, supple and glowing. Abhyanga or an Ayurvedic massage with effective natural and hydrogenated vegetable oils like Coconut oil, Sesame seed oil etc can heal your cracked heels effectively. Essential oils like Lavender essential oil, Lemon essential oil, Eucalyptus essential oil etc, can heal your infected heels and make the foot skin soft. This helps the hard, rough and dry skin to turn tender and smooth by enhancing the blood circulation in your feet.

2. Comforting foot bath or Padasnana: For cracked foot, this miraculous science suggests foot bath also known as Padasnana to revitalize your foot skin and prevent the fissures in the future as well. Padasnana along with certain effective Ayurvedic essential oils can help you save your foot from such painful, displeasing and unappealing heel fissures.

Take a small tub of warm water and add 2 to 4 drops of Patchouli essential oil, Tea tree essential oil, Rose essential oil and Lavender essential oil. Soak your feet in this water for about 15 to 20 minutes and the cicatrisant, antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, calming and anti-inflammatory properties in these essential oils will make your feet petal soft when done two or three times a week.

Adding few drops of Tea tree oil, Peppermint oil, Eucalyptus oil and Lemon oil to a small basin of water and soak your feet into this medicated solution for about 10 to 15 minutes. This relaxes your heels, loosens the cracks, moisturizes the dry scaly skin and helps combat fungal infections as these oils have anti-fungal, analgesic, anesthetic and astringent properties.

3. Moisturize your feet with soothing essential oils: The best essential oils for moisturizing your feet are Peppermint oil, Myrrh oil, Lavender oil, Rose oil, Geranium oil, Patchouli oil, Tea tree oil and Eucalyptus oil. These oils can be used for massaging your feet either as a blend with carrier oils like jojoba oil or coconut oil or can be added to warm water for your foot bath. 5 to 10 drops of essential oils of Geranium, Benzoin, Lavender, Myrrh and Tea tree mixed with 1 ounce of natural cream or mild lotion can act as the best daily moisturizing rub for your feet, especially after a shower.

4. Care your heels with Carrier oils: Carrier oils like Jojoba oil, Calendula oil, Avocado oil, Olive oil and Sweet Almond oil can guard your foot from cracks and other infections. These oils enrich your skin with the presence of essential vitamins and minerals. A gentle massage with any of these oils can aid in nourishing your dehydrated and dry skin while preventing it from painful cracks.

5. Healthy and nutritious diet: Drink enough water daily and eat a balanced diet with rich nutrients like essential fatty acids, minerals and vitamins, which make your skin smooth and combat dead skin cells in your body. Green leafy vegetables and juicy fruits can supply the essential resilience to your skin.

Regular physical exercises and yoga can help you in treating your cracked heels. Hmmm…. Now you can use your dream footwear on your shelves again and dance in joy with the comfort and confidence of having crack-free, clear and supple heels. Happy Dancing!!!

Thought for the day:

The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.                                                                        – Leonardo da Vinci

Suggested Reading:

  1. Natural Foot Care: Herbal Treatments, Massage, and Exercises for Healthy Feet By Stephanie L. Tourles
  2. Whole Body Massage: The Ultimate Practical Manual of Head, Face, Body and Foot Massage Techniques By Francesca Rinaldi, Nitya Lacroix, Sharon Seager, Renée Tanner
  3. Absolute Beauty: Radiant Skin and Inner Harmony Through the Ancient Secrets of Ayurveda By Pratima Raichur, Mariam Cohn

Reference Links:

  1. Kshudra Roga Critical Understanding by Scribd
  2. Effect of Madhusiktadi Lepa and Padasnana in the Management of Padadari by S.J.G. Ayurvedic Medical College
  3. Dry Cracked Feet by essential3