Top Benefits of Diffusing Peppermint Oil
By Space Coast Daily // March 24, 2021
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) has been a popular flavoring and medicinal agent since the ages of the Greek and Roman empires. The mint plant is hearty and grows well in many climates.
The timeless benefits of the oil of peppermint are just as relevant today as they have ever been.
Ancient Uses of Peppermint
The dried leaves of the peppermint plant have been found inside the tombs of the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, and the earliest cultivation is thought to have been in North Africa. Similarly, native American peoples have long prized the plant for medicinal and culinary uses, probably for centuries.
Around the year 50 AD, the Roman scientist Pliny wrote of the many uses of peppermint. He recorded that the Greeks before the Romans utilized the plant and that both societies used it as a sweet-smelling herb around the home, in sprays on tables alongside flowers and other herbs. The oil of the peppermint was used also as a flavoring agent and was added to sauces and even wine, in some instances.
The Greeks gave the plant the name it is still called: “mint.” A fable about a river nymph named Minthe who seduced the god Hades was spoken of in early Greek religion. Hades’ wife Persphone was said to have caught the two of them in a romantic embrace, and in her jealous rage turned the beautiful girl into a low-growing plant that people trod upon. Hades, feeling bad about the whole ordeal, gave the plant a sweet scent, to remind people of Methe’s charm as they crushed the plant under their feet.
12th-century Icelandic pharmacopeia listed peppermint as useful. In the 1699 Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia, peppermint was listed as a remedy for venereal diseases, as well as any other kinds of sores, treatment for headaches, and a potable to aid in digestive difficulties.
How Peppermint Can Benefit You
Peppermint has clearly been used by many cultures since antiquity for its multiple uses. Modern studies on the plant have put it up against modern antibiotics to compare, with surprising results. When distilled concentrations of the essential oil of peppermint were introduced to disease-causing microorganisms, it inhibited the growth of a number of them.
The results were comparable to those of the widely used antibiotic gentamicin. The essential oils of the plant showed a broader spectrum of activity in this study but showed less strong inhibition when compared to the commercially available antibiotic. Still: pretty impressive stuff.
Peppermint tea is widely lauded as a digestive aid, worldwide. When you start to list the things that contain peppermint as a flavoring or an ingredient, it is staggering – everything from toothpaste to cigarettes use peppermint as an essential ingredient, including countless throat lozenges, nasal sprays, and other preparations meant to open the passageways when we feel congested and ill.
Anyone who has used Vicks Vaporub has essentially used a concentrated version of peppermint, and the natural version works just as effectively for the same key ailments it is used to relieve.
Using Essential Oils Safely
Using a peppermint essential oil diffuser benefits the respiratory tract, helping to ease congested breathing, as well as help all of the key symptoms that make us feel lousy when we catch a common cold.
If you are unfamiliar with using essential oils, it is very important to know that you should never put any essential oil directly onto the skin. Carrier oil is needed to use any essential oil topically, because many essential plant oils are far too damaging to the body’s cells to be used directly, undiluted, without causing various unwanted effects.
Note that the peppermint leaf is not the same as peppermint essential oil. Essential oil is a very concentrated form of active chemicals in a plant that has been carefully distilled for use in folk medicine, perfumes, and other useful preparations.