Peppermint and the lamiaceae family
Peppermint, spearmint, garden mint, lemon balm, patchouli, bee balm, or some variation is growing everywhere in my yard. Melissa, rosemary, motherwort, deadnettle, horehound, ajuga, hyssop, selfheal, skullcap, sage, and thyme…all are in the lamiaceae family.
The lamiaceae family has 829 species according to the USDA plant database; narrow it down to mint and there are 142 species, and narrow it down to peppermint there are 11 species.
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
Common name: Peppermint
Medicinal part used: Leaves
Aroma: Minty, herbaceous
Constituents: Menthol, Menthone
Therapeutic benefits: Analgesic, antibacterial, anticoagulant, antioxidant, anti- inflammatory, antipruritic, antispasmodic, CNS stimulant, and cooling.
The earliest thing I remember doing is making tea with my grandma. She would pick a garden mint; not sure of the species, put it on the stove and bring to almost a boil. Then she added a few tea bags and sugar. I make a variation of that, with spearmint, lemon balm, orange mint, and peppermint and a lot less sugar to this day!
What else can I do with peppermint?
A compress soaked in an infusion can cool inflamed joints.
A few fresh leaves in almost boiling water to make a steam can ease nasal congestion.
A recipe that I have for mouthwash starts with an infusion of mint.
Mint would make a cooling foot bath.
A few easy recipes using peppermint essential oil-
The essential oil can be used the same way as the herb above.
A dilution of 5-6 drops in 30 ml of jojoba or other carrier oil is a nice massage oil for headache. Just rub on your temples.
Here are a few easy recipes.
For a Peppermint foot scrub: Mix 1 Tbsp. sea salt and 1 Tbsp. carrier oil in a small bowl. Add 5 drops of peppermint essential oil. Stir well to blend. Use within a few weeks, keeping product in the refrigerator.
Peppermint foot spray: In a 30 ml spray bottle, mix 1 Tbsp. aloe vera ( not jelly ), and 1 Tbsp. witch hazel. Put the lid on and gently shake to mix. Add 9 drops of peppermint essential oil and 3 drops of tea tree oil (Melalueca alternifolia), and 2.4 ml Solubol. Replace lid and gently shake to mix. Use on feet to feel fresh.
Peppermint essential oil is a great oil to use for fatigue. I keep an inhaler in my purse for long trips.
Anyone familiar with over-the-counter medicines knows that some brands of external analgesic rubs contain menthol. These are good for spot applications for muscular pain.
Keep the dilution at 1-2 % for safety reasons.
Other safety concerns are: may dilute effect of homeopathic remedies. And avoid using with children under 5 years of age and pregnant women.