Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Synonyms: Mitcham mint, balm mint.
Aroma: Piercing, refreshing, sharp, menthol.
Colour: Pale yellow or pale olive
Plant: Grows to around 100cm with underground runners. Purple blossoms grow from the axis of one or two leaves and form spikes at the end of each stem. It rarely seeds as it is a hybrid except in Japan where it seeds freely.
Main Growing Areas: USA, India, England, France, Australia.
Major Constituents: Menthol, menthone, pulegone, 1,8 cineole, sabinene hydrate, limonene, neomenthol, isomenthone, beta-caryophyllene.
Interesting snippets: Peppermint was used as a digestive herb and to scent the bath water by the Greeks and Romans.
Peppermint is thought to be a hybrid between spearmint (Mentha spicata) and water mint (Mentha aquatica).
It was used in the14th century to whiten teeth and later to mask the smell of tobacco.
Part of Plant used / Extraction: Flowering tops and leaves by steam distillation. Distillation of the dry material takes 45 – 60 minutes. The average yield is around 0.4% but can go as high as 1%.
Therapeutic actions: Small doses warm and tend to stimulate while large or frequent doses cool and tend to relax. Shock, sinus pain and congestion, indigestion, tension headaches, colds and flu, nausea, colic, flatulence, stomach pains, diarrhoea, muscular aches and pains, joint pain, bruises, insect bites.
Emotional and Spiritual: Clears the mind and stimulates clear thinking. Mental fatigue, motivation and self-confidence.
Robbi Zeck writes that peppermint assists in reconnecting you to your vital passion, whisking you away upon the winds of purpose. Being unfocused can turn you away from your bigger dream and when you are living passionately on purpose, the direction of your life will change.
Gabriel Mojay writes that while the oil enhances concentration and absorption on one level, it works on another level to facilitate the digestion of new ideas and impressions. Acting on our psychological “stomach”, peppermint is conducive not only to study and learning but to developing emotional acceptance and tolerance. We can think of it for those states characterised by the phrase, “That’s something I just can’t stomach!”
Keim and Bull write that peppermint promotes healthy self-esteem, integrity and ethics. Helps us to discover our hidden gifts and strengths.
Aromatherapy Insight Card:
Peppermint helps you connect with your purpose in life. Keeping your vital passion potent and ready to meet life’s challenges questioning your purpose and direction. Do not get caught up in other people’s games. Stay on your path, be true to yourself, go out on that limb and enjoy taking those risks to succeed.
Fragrant Change Healing Card: I stay true to myself and my highest potential.
Safety: Non- toxic, possibly sensitising, and may cause irritation in people with sensitive skin. Avoid in cases of cardiac fibrillation and G6PD deficiency. Don’t apply to or near the face of babies or children. If taken orally it may exacerbate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Note: Peppermint is frequently adulterated with cornmint oil (M. arvensis) also known as Japanese peppermint (Hakka)
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