According to Greek mythology, a furious Persephone turned the nymph Mentha into mint. Although myth claims it was born out of anger, peppermint actually has calming effects. This popular candy flavor can be used as an herbal remedy for stomach upset and other indigestion issues.


Smooth the oil across your temples and watch a tension headache start to slip away. So said one preliminary study, as well as a double-blind one that found that a 10% peppermint oil lotion rubbed three times in a half-hour over the temples was more effective than “Tylenol” in relieving headache pain. Another one found that peppermint oil was just as effective as over-the-counter painkillers.

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Peppermint also is used topically for the cooling and relaxing effect it has on the skin. Various muscle rubs and “ices” contain peppermint oil to reduce pain, burning, and inflammation. Like other volatile oils, peppermint oil is absorbed fairly well and can have a temporary pain-relieving effect on muscles and organs that are cramped and in spasm. As with all essential oils, dilute this oil before putting it directly on your skin.

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Peppermint essential oil might help rheumatoid arthritis because of its analgesic, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties, which could all possibly alleviate the pain and inflammation associated with this condition. Peppermint oil has been used to fight pain and inflammation in numerous conditions, from toothaches to shingles. A December 2010 article in the journal “Dermatitis” notes that peppermint oil has been known to ease inflammation related to the skin. However, more research is needed to determine how effective peppermint oil is.

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Photo credit: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen / /Public Domain Mark 1.0