Peppermint oil should be in every natural first aid kit. The oil acts as an analgesic, anesthetic, decongestant, astringent, antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic and helps relieve pent up gas inside the bowels. This one essential oil can be used to treat colds, sinus infections, coughs, congestion, sunburn, skin rashes, nausea, upset stomach, kill germs in cuts and scrapes, help deaden the pain of minor cuts and abrasions, reduce redness of the skin, reduce menstrual cramping, ease muscle cramps and the pain of arthritis.
Growers of peppermint would need to steam distill the plant for the essential oils. A lot of plant material would be needed, however. Another, simple method of getting the oils from the plant is by crushing the fresh leaves and pouring olive oil over them. Allow the oil to pull the menthol from the leaves.
The oil can be purchased anywhere that essential oils are sold. It is fairly inexpensive and easy to mix with other oils or petroleum jelly to apply to the skin.
Because the oil is strong and could burn the skin if used full strength, is must be mixed with other oils, such as lemon, lavender or rosemary. A few drops can be put in bath water to soothe irritated skin or help relieve congestion. When mixed with petroleum jelly, it can be applied to the chest to relieve a stuffy nose or help break up congestion in the chest.
Dried peppermint can be used as a tea for coughs, colds, upset stomach or to relieve symptoms of bronchitis. Mixed with dried lemon balm, the tea will soothe a a sore throat. Adding a teaspoon of raw honey to sweeten the tea makes an excellent natural antibiotic.
Peppermint oil provides the body with vitamins A and C, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals including potassium, manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium and copper.
Peppermint oil is not recommended for children under the age of three. Pregnant women should discuss the use with their OBY/GYN before treating themselves with peppermint oil. Always discuss natural treatments with a family physician or naturopath. Although rare, some people have allergic reactions to peppermint.