Note: As always, if you are being treated for any medical condition, be sure to check with your doctor before trying any of these home remedies.
Simply put—headaches are horrible. You can't think, let alone act, when your head is pounding. Peppermint scented essential oil (or even real peppermint extract flavoring in a pinch) can make it stop.
- What to do: Dab a drop of peppermint oil onto fingertips, then massage into your temples, forehead, bridge of the nose, back of the neck, and other areas (being careful to avoid eyes).
2. Make the world stop spinning
If you are prone to dizziness, vertigo or nausea, you know just how disconcerting—and scary—an episode can be. Peppermint is a proven help for these issues.
- What to do: Follow the steps for headache relief, and then breathe in deeply over a small vial or bottle of peppermint oil.
3. Un-upset your stomach
Turns out my mom was onto something with those peppermint lozenges. Peppermint contains properties that encourage the release of gas and the easing of pain in the abdomen.
- What to do: Rub a drop or two of peppermint essential oil across your abdomen (alternately, rub into inner wrists or breathe over a vial of the oil). You can also drink peppermint tea or take peppermint capsules.
Bonus: If your indigestion comes from over-eating, breathe in essence of peppermint before your next meal, and you will find it easier to manage your appetite!
4. Relieve congestion
Peppermint—in its medicinal form as menthol—has long been a remedy for colds and congestion. But if you don't have menthol on hand, you can get the same effect using pure peppermint oil.
- What to do: Boil some water, then add a drop or two of peppermint oil (you can also use a humidifier to do this). Cover your head with a towel and breathe in and out deeply to ease chest and nasal congestion. You can also massage peppermint oil into the chest and sinus area to ease constriction and pain.
5. Ease soreness
If you are suffering from muscle fatigue and soreness, peppermint's natural analgesic, anti-spasm and anti-inflammatory properties are a ready source of relief.
- What to do: Massage a few drops of peppermint oil directly into the affected areas where you feel spasming, tension, soreness, or fatigue.
6. Stop the itching
Bugs keep biting and stinging all 12 months of the year. For this reason, it can be helpful to keep an effective remedy on hand at all times.
- What to do: Place a drop of peppermint oil directly over the area that has been stung or bitten.
Bonus: Ants and other biting, stinging pests hate peppermint. Whether you dab eau de peppermint on your temples or grow mint plants in your garden, the pests will stay away from those areas—guaranteed.
7. Get rid of dandruff
Dandruff is itchy and unsightly and no one wants it. The trouble is, sometimes it can be tough to get dandruff to go away—even with commercial anti-dandruff shampoos. Peppermint, with its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, can help the scalp restore natural balance and ease dandruff issues.
- What to do: Add a few drops of peppermint oil to any shampoo, then massage deeply into scalp. Wash and condition as usual.
Bonus: If your child has head lice, the peppermint-shampoo treatment can work for him or her too!
8. Dial down the stress
Peppermint is a natural anti-stress agent. It is also an effective antidote for mental fatigue, anxiety and depression.
- What to do: Add a few drops of peppermint oil to a warm bath, then soak. Drink mint tea. Inhale essence of peppermint. Plant a mint-centric garden. Burn a peppermint candle.
9. Gain energy and fight exhaustion
If you feel like you spend every day trying to do too much in not enough time, you are in good company. While there is no true substitute for rest and sleep, peppermint can definitely give you a boost until you can take deep rest.
- What to do: Dot peppermint oil directly under the nose. Rub peppermint oil into the back of the neck and across the shoulders. Breathe in peppermint essence. Diffuse peppermint oil.
Bonus: If you are cramming for an exam or that all-important meeting, breathing in peppermint can boost memory and retention!
Double bonus: If you find yourself nodding off while driving, but it is not safe to stop, breathe in peppermint essence to help yourself stay awake behind the wheel.
10. Reduce fever
If you or your child is running a fever, peppermint should be considered as a first responder. A simple application of peppermint oil can reduce fever by as much as 3 degrees in less than a minute.
- What to do: Run warm water over a washcloth, then add a dab of peppermint oil. Place washcloth on the forehead. You can also gently rub the peppermint-scented washcloth over the skin of the body. Finally, mixing a drop or two of peppermint oil with another oil (like mineral oil) and rubbing it directly onto the chest area can also cool a fever in a hurry.