Day 6: Peppermint
I’m beginning to think I need to start asking which do you want first … the good or the bad news..
In this case, I’ll begin where I essentially left off in the video; mentioning several contraindications where peppermint essential oil is concerned … If you haven’t seen the video yet, then this statement may come as a surprise. It’s no secret that peppermint is a rather common scent and flavor.. To be upfront, the primary concern has everything to do with the high menthol content, recognized for its ability to increase lung tissue permeability. And given the number of airborne chemicals that we’re exposed to on a minute by minute basis, excessive or even regular use of peppermint essential oil, our susceptibility to toxins increases.
In addition to this generalized warning, there are several other specific conditions where peppermint and all menthol products are best avoided. Those include:
Cardiac fibrillation - all applications
G6PD deficiency - all applications
Cholestasis - when taken by mouth
Cigarrette Smoking - menthol slows the ability to clear nicotine
GERD - when taken by mouth
Now that the ‘shady’ side of peppermint has been brought into the light, let’s take a look at what’s awesome about peppermint!
As some oils have warming qualities, peppermint offers the exact opposite, making this oil a sweet choice for fevers, hot flashes, and hot rashes. Because it contains a small amount of 1,8 cineole, it has an influence on both the nitric oxide synthase process as well as the Krebs cycle, which is needed for mental, digestive, cardiovascular and respiratory health. Peppermint has been reported as benefitting all 4 systems.
What’s more, menthol is a mild analgesic as it acts like an agonist to the kappa opioid receptor. I’ve frequently used it in a synergistic rub for tired, tense, and overworked muscles. However, as I’ve gotten to ‘know’ peppermint, I’ve been quite selective with who I use it with or recommend it to.
The one thing to remember about essential oils is the identified properties are generalized. At the same time, the genes involved with heart, gut, nerve, brain and lung health are broad, making it important to not only recognize the constituents but understand their influence on the body. While I continue to mention specific constituents, every essential oil is a blend of constituents that create a synergistic effect. In fact, according to plantphysiol.org
**In contrast to synthetic pharmaceuticals based upon single chemicals, many phytomedicines exert their beneficial effects through the additive or synergistic action of several chemical compounds acting at single or multiple target sites associated with a physiological process. As pointed out by Tyler (1999), this synergistic or additive pharmacological effect can be beneficial by eliminating the problematic side effects associated with the predominance of a single xenobiotic compound in the body. In this respect, Kaufman et al. (1999)extensively documented how synergistic interactions underlie the effectiveness of a number of phytomedicines.**
So, even though menthol is discussed extensively for all of its good qualities, it’s the way it interacts with the other components that make peppermint one to consider when facing muscle spasms due to a health issue i.e. muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis.
That said, peppermint oil does have some antibacterial and antifungal attributes; although, it’s not my go to antimicrobial. Again, depending on the individual, there are better options with broader benefits.
I trust you find this helpful and invite you to let me know if you have any questions. Please know I appreciate you joining me on this journey and happy to share my dilution chart and 60 minute video on essential oils and medications when you join my email list.