Welcome back to the next edition of Fragrant Friday, I am sorry it has taken me so long to post in this series again. For those of you unfamiliar with this series of posts, they are dedicated at taking a closer look at the use of aromatherapy and potential health benefits of essential oils and aromatherapy in Fibromyalgia. However, these posts aren’t just beneficial for those who live with Fibromyalgia but for anyone who may be looking to treat minor ailments with aromatherapy. This Friday we are exploring the popular herb, Peppermint.
I’ve been friends with peppermint in many forms for a long time. From enjoying that fresh mouth feeling (I promise this isn’t and advert) from chewing gum and toothpaste as a child, through to herbal teas with peppermint and essential oils as an adult, we have forged a lifelong alliance. Peppermint both tastes and smells great, is readily available in health shops (in essential oil and tea form), cheap and also easy to grow (but a bit of a bully to other plants if you don’t keep them in check!).
Many people will be familiar with peppermint in its tea form which is renowned to easing digestive complaints, such as bloatedness, nausea and vomiting, and also for its ability to ease water retention, particularly in pre menstrual women. It its oil form it not only smells glorious, but is incredibly versatile, and has the most amazing health benefits-
- Promotes healthy respiratory function
- Increases energy
- Heightens mood
- Relieves stress
- Suppresses appetite (great if you are intentionally losing weight healthily)
- Relieves headaches
- Pest control – natural alternative to ant powder
- Anti bacterial
- Anti fungal
- Relieves muscle aches
- Relieves fatigue
Again, as with my lavender post a few weeks ago, I could go on and on but these are a few of my favourite benefits, and most people at any one time will suffer with these symptoms for various reasons, peppermint to the rescue!
For me, I use peppermint to increase my energy, relieve muscle soreness, heighten my mood and relieve headaches. When I have a bad cold and sore chest, worsened by my asthma, I use peppermint to relieve congestion and this helps me to sleep. I also still religiously drink peppermint tea daily for water retention at that glorious time of the month, and to aid digestion.
As with most essential oils there are so many ways you can use peppermint, but these are the ways in which I have found them useful with my fibromyalgia symptoms.
- In the bath – I find peppermint oil, mixed with a base of sweet almond oil, useful in the bath in the evenings when my muscles are sore and tired and I’ve had a difficult day. The oil on my skin, along with the steam from the bath and warmth of the water, really helps me to relax my muscles and mind which in turn aids my sleep.
- In the shower – mixed with some water in a cup and poured over my head during a steamy shower really helps me to feel energised and alert, perfect if I know I have a challenging day ahead.
- Inhalation – Either over a bowl of hot water with a towel over my head or in a hot and steamy bath with the door closed relieves congestion from the many colds I seem to get these days. Applying peppermint oil to a handkerchief or a tissue is good for if I am needing to get about and can’t keep my head over a bowl all day long.
- Topically – If you find yourself reaching for the pills as soon as you get a headache, try reaching for peppermint oil instead. It is much more cost effective and research shows that it works effectively as a natural alternative to resolve headaches. Just a couple of drops applied directly across the forehead, on the temples and at the base of the skull can relieve a headache, I tend to apply it shortly after the headache has started and then again 15-20 minutes later. It doesn’t always work and some headaches are really nasty, but on those horrible little niggling ones it works a treat. I also sometimes use it on my abdomen when I have IBS type symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
As with any new method of treating symptoms for any reason, always take precaution. I AM NOT AN AROMATHERAPIST and all thoughts and opinions are my own based on the research I have made and the results I have had. I do however always follow these rules when trying a new essential oil –
- Some essential oils can have an allergic effect on some people so I always begin using essential oils slowly and carefully.
- I never put essential oils directly onto my skin without diluting in a base oil first unless it is safe to do so. I test for skin sensitivity by testing on a small patch of diluted oil my inner forearm and if there is no irritation after 48 hours I consider it safe for me.
- I always check which essential oils are phototoxic (sensitive to the suns UV rays) so that I make sure I have properly rinsed it off my skin before going into sunlight, to avoid burning.
- Less is more – just a couple of drops diluted into a base oil is enough to carry through to the whole mixture, so don’t get too excited and add too much essential oil, it will be too overpowering and may irritate.
- If I was pregnant, I would speak to an aromatherapist first to check what is safe to use.
- I don’t assume that all essential oils can be used in aromatherapy, some can’t, so I always check.
- I would never ingest essential oils without first speaking to an aromatherapist.
And lastly, I keep them out of reach of children and away from fire hazards.
I hope you have enjoyed this Fragrant Friday post and can find some use for it in your daily life. Remember you don’t have to be unwell to get use out of aromatherapy.
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