A blog by runners. For runners.

Natural healing: peppermint

Natural healing: peppermintAt this time of year, there’s a good chance at least half of you are currently eating or drinking something with peppermint. Peppermint comes from a mixture of the spearmint and watermint and can be found in several varieties including fresh from your garden or produce section, as an edible oil capsule, as a dried tea, or as an essential oil applied directly to the body.

Peppermint has many benefits including:

  1. Muscle reliever: Use peppermint essential oil to relieve achy muscles. Simply rub a few drops of the oil directly onto the affected area and massage in for a cooling effect. Think of it as a natural version of Icy Hot. If you also struggle with headaches, you can rub a few drops of oil onto your hands then massage the oil directly into your temples for relief from tension headaches.
  2. Chest decongestant: The menthol in peppermint is great for breaking up chest congestion from colds, like an all-natural Vapor Rub. Place a few drops of peppermint oil in your hands, massage directly onto your chest, then breathe in the smell to break up congestion.
  3. Gut Health: There’s a reason you often receive a mint at the end of a meal. Peppermint is known to soothe the gut and offer digestive relief from symptoms such as IBS, indigestion, bloating and even heartburn. Try a warm mug of peppermint tea after your meal or add a few mint leaves to your water to take advantage of its benefit.
  4. Relieves nausea: I personally found a lot of relief from first trimester morning sickness by chewing peppermint gum to settle my upset stomach. I was also lucky enough to work in a yoga studio that has peppermint essential oil on hand for use during savasana. If I was feeling extra iffy one morning I would take a big whiff of the peppermint oil before class, which helped to ease my nausea. If you suffer from nausea, you can also consider buying edible peppermint oil capsules.
  5. Great for skin, hair, and nails: Running can be hard on the skin, hair, and nails. A few drops of peppermint can be used as an astringent to help clear up oily skin. Add peppermint oil to your shampoo to help clear up dandruff. It is also has antifungal properties and can be used to clear up fungal infections in the nails.

So the next time you see a candy cane, remember the benefits of peppermint are much greater than just a sweet holiday treat.

 Written by Lisa Chase.