Peppermint is definitely one of the flavors and scents of the holiday season, but this popular plant is good for more than flavoring Starbucks holiday drinks and candy canes. First identified in England in 1696, this aromatic plant has many healing properties that make it an essential scent for the holiday season and beyond! You may already know that peppermint is valuable for digestive problems, as it soothes the muscles and lining of the colon, but that’s not all the seasonal flavor is good for! Rather, it can also relieve headaches and colds, replace your morning cup of Joe, give you a mid-day pick-me-up and even increase mental clarity and reduce stress!
To Wake Up. Start your day off right with a whiff of peppermint to get your mind and body ready for the day ahead. Not only will peppermint invigorate your senses and wake you up but will also actually promote mental clarity and get rid of that early morning brain fog that all too often sets in before we’ve had enough coffee! Plus, peppermint oil has antibacterial properties, even better! To get the benefits, try taking a morning shower with peppermint scented products like Organix TeaTree Mint Shampoo ($6.99) and Conditioner ($6.99), Burt’s Bees Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Body Wash ($7.99), and Malin + Goetz Peppermint Body Scrub ($30).
To Workout Harder. Peppermint has been shown to help reduce fatigue and boost mood for a better workout! And washing your face before you workout is essential for eliminating pore-clogging dirt and grime, so why not was wash your face with this exfoliating scrub that will not only leave your face feeling fresh and clean but also will give you a better workout! We especially love Renee Rouleau’s Mint Buffing Beads ($40.50).
For Better Digestion. The American Botanical Council states that peppermint assists with indigestion, upset stomach and colic – studies have even shown it to be an effective treatment for people with irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint oil can get your digestive system working the way it should by facilitating the release of chemicals that aid in digestion. Peppermint oil is safe enough to use daily. It can also relieve digestive problems like cramping, nausea, gas and colon issues. Taking peppermint oil every day can help prevent these problems from happening – which is especially useful this time of year with all our holiday indulgences! So, how are we adding peppermint to our daily routines? Well, we’re brewing Aveda Comforting Tea ($15) and making Peppermint Ice Water by placing peppermint leaves in an ice tray, filling the tray with cold water, pushing down any mint leaves that stick out, putting the tray in the freezer for several hours and then adding the peppermint ice cubes to a glass of water, sparkling water, or any other beverage that you enjoy having cold!
For Improved Brain Function. Though we cannot promise that peppermint truly will make you smarter, some people swear by it, and if even the placebo effect works for you we say go for it! It is believed by some that rubbing peppermint oil on the forehead can improve brain function. You’ll be able to remember more things and think more clearly. Those who believe this even rub peppermint oil on their forehead when they know they are going to have to be at their best mentally. It’s seen as a natural way to improve brain function. So, when you need a midday pick-me-up at work or just need to pump yourself up for a big meeting, turn to peppermint. The scent actually triggers the hippocampus, a part of the brain linked to memory to relieve not only mental fatigue but also nausea and dizziness (for those pre-meeting jitters!). Try lighting a peppermint-scented candle like h.wood.beauty’s Tea Infused Lotion Candle ($44), apply 21 Drops’ Focus Blend ($28) on your temples and neck and swipe on OCC’s Lip Tar ($12.50), which is infused with peppermint for good breath, sexy lips and better brain function – and you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way!
To Decongest. It’s that time of the year again and peppermint oil is here to help! Peppermint oil is useful for dealing with the symptoms of cold and flu. It can also relieve symptoms like chest and nasal congestion, sore throat, and fever, as well as help relieve everyday aches and pains. Feeling under the weather? Spray your home or office with Amala’s Peppermint Room & Linen Mist ($24), shower with Lush’s Ice Blue Soap ($5.95) and massage your achy muscles with Sweet Grass Farm’s Spring Chicken Muscle Rub ($7.95).
To Cool Off. Okay, so this may not be a problem in this frigid weather right now, but when the weather warms (or you head on vacation) peppermint is great because of its cooling effect! In particular, Carol’s Daughter’s Peppermint Foot Lotion ($12) is great for combating the effects of swollen feel from traveling and for a full body effect we love Naturopathica’s Peppermint Foot & Body Cream ($25.70).
To De-Stress. Peppermint’s effect on our brain’s is not only great for helping us concentrate, but also for helping us to relax and regroup – and it can even help us sleep better! So, when you wash your dishes, kill two birds with one stone! With Caldrea’s Peppermint Amaryllis Dish Soap ($8.29) you’ll not only have clean dishes, but also a rested mind! When you’re done, dab Origins’ Peace of Mind ($10) on your temples, spritz your bed with Earth Therapeutics’ Elixer of Dreams Pillow Mist ($7.99) and you’ll be ready to rest in no time!
For Holiday Cheer. Peppermint may have health benefits, but this time of year we just love how it puts us in the holiday spirit! For a gift, we love Bath & Body Works Twisted Peppermint line – it’s perfect for a hostess! And candy canes, of course! (Just remember, artificial peppermint flavorings do not carry the healing properties of the natural peppermint plant & oil.)