I’m sure most people don’t open up their box of Junior Mints at the movie theater and wonder where that ridiculously gooey minty deliciousness comes from. And with Girl Scout Cookie Season in full swing, who is pondering the origins of that magically addictive cookie that could have only been born from a GS troop witch craft project, The Thin Mint. (Well played, witches, well played).
Well, that mint comes from our farm. Or at least some of it. Probably. Maybe. Farmer B grows peppermint on our eastern Oregon farm (amongst a few other crops including grass seed, wheat, oats & alfalfa) and is the producer of some of the country’s finest peppermint oil. It is used in internationally known brands of toothpaste (rhymes with Smolgate) and chewing gum (rhymes with Quigley’s). I am very proud.
Photo Courtesy of Wild Flavors.
So besides being a crazy delicious addition to chocolate, as well as its use in breath freshening products, there are tons of really cool (pun intended) uses for peppermint oil in your day to day life that you probably never would have guessed. Although there are dozens of uses and more being studied all the time, here are my top reasons why everyone should have a bottle of peppermint oil in their kitchen/bathroom:
1. Respiratory Benefits – Menthol is a compound derived from peppermint oil and is an active ingredient in the cold remedy Mentholatum. It has the ability to open your airways and act as a decongestant. If you’re not into store bought remedies that have undesirable ingredients, you can mix some peppermint oil with coconut oil and eucalyptus essential oil to make your own homemade vapor rub to help reduce the symptoms of colds, asthma and bronchitis. (My dirty little secret as a kid was that I would hide Mentholatum in my room just so I could smell it any time I wanted, sick or no. I still love that stuff and open it up for a quick whiff when I come across it in the medicine drawer.) It may also help with allergy relief. Peppermint oil is highly effective at relaxing muscles in your nasal passages and can help clear out the muck and pollen during allergy season.
2. Digestive Aid – Peppermint oil can help with a multitude of tummy issues including nausea, heartburn, constipation, stomach aches or even IBS. Simply adding a drop of peppermint oil to water or tea, or rubbing 1-2 drops behind your ears, or even diffusing it can help to reduce nausea, heartburn & stomach aches. Adding a few drops to a carrier oil and rubbing it on your abdomen may also help with constipation and bloating. Taking it in pill form has shown to reduce symptoms by up to 50% in IBS patients.
3. Hair & Scalp Care – Peppermint oil is used in many high quality hair care products because it can naturally thicken and nourish damaged hair. My absolute favoritest in the the world forever and always is Aveda’s Rosemary Mint (and don’t forget the conditioner and lotion). Obsessed with it. If you’re not down with paying $13.50 for a bottle of shampoo, just add some peppermint oil to your current shampoo hair loss and dandruff control, stimulate the scalp, energize your mind, and wake up!. It can also help with a sunburned scalp (the worst thing ever). If your one who has a coconut oil hair care regimen, try adding some peppermint oil for some added benefits. Because it is a powerful antiseptic, peppermint can also help get rid of lice.
4. Headache Cure -Peppermint oil has the ability to improve circulation and relax tense muscles. If you’re prone to headaches or migraines simply rub a small amount of oil on the forehead, temples and around the hair line for an excellent natural remedy. Using a flaxseed eye pillow infused with peppermint oil is also and excellent headache zapper.
5. Natural Energizer – Instead of a nasty energy drinks, take a few whiffs of peppermint. It will perk you up on long road trips, in school or any other time you need to focus. Peppermint oil may improve focus and concentration. I personally keep a small sprizter of peppermint and lavender oil (diffused in vodka and distilled water) in my car to keep me alert and to make my car smell not so much like kids & dogs. I also have my own special aromatherapy blend of citrus and peppermint that smell and dab on before my workouts.
6. Cooking – Use it in place of mint extract. The flavor will be much better and because it doesn’t evaporate, it can withstand high cooking temperatures. Because it is HIGHLY concentrated, start with 1/4 of what the recipe calls for of mint extract. You can always add more, but you certainly cannot take it away. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. I used mint oil in my Julia Roberts Cookies (thin mint-oreo smash up) and Farmer B said they were the perfect amount of minty goodness.
7. Household cleaning: Peppermint oil is antibacterial and antifungal. Some studies suggest that it may be effective in killing up to 99% of human pathogens within 24 hours. That is really amazing to me, and a really good reason to be using it to clean your home. And it smells way better than those nasty cleaners filled with chemically fake fragrance. Try making your own all purpose cleaner here.
8. Sore Muscle Relief – Peppermint essential oil is a very effective natural painkiller and muscle relaxant. Besides helping with headaches it can be extremely helpful in soothing an aching back, sore muscles & tired feet. Here is a good recipe for an achy muscle remedy. I personally add peppermint oil to my own blend of epsom salts and other essential oils for a relaxing and therapeutic bath soak.
So now that you know some really awesome ways that you can use peppermint oil in your home, now is the time to stock up. Now through the end of the month, I will be offering free shipping on my 1 Oz bottle of Mint Condition Pure Peppermint Oil. Your cost is just $8 for some of the worlds finest peppermint oil! Simply message me your email and I will invoice you via PayPal. Local customers can pick some up right now at the Community Bank Valley Branch. If you’re interested in more of my handmade, small batch bath and beauty products, locals can swing by Community Bank for a peek. If you’re far away, keep an eye out on my Instagram feed @thismodernfarmgirl for occasional flash offerings until I get my retail website up and running! Cheers until next time!