In more ways than one, peppermint really is the world’s best friend. This versatile herb has been used for thousands of years to address practically every challenge in everyday life. Think about it: we use mint to freshen our breath, clean our teeth, season our food, calm our senses, and even wash our houses. And with recent studies around the effects of peppermint essential oil, we’ve learned that this universal plant can actually support many of our bodies’ most important functions, including digestion, mental clarity, skin health, and even headaches! Keep reading to learn a few of our favorite peppermint essential headache relief options to increase peace of mind and help you live your best life.
The History Behind Peppermint Essential Oil
A natural combination of spearmint and water mint (Mentha aquatica) peppermint was first recognized for its universal appeal in 1700s Europe and North America, but the use of mint for health, healing, and housecleaning has been around for even longer than 300 years. In fact, ancient civilizations in Greece, Rome and Egypt all used mint in their everyday lives!
Today, we use mint for everything from food flavoring to fresh breath. And with the distillation of steam from the peppermint plant, we get peppermint essential oil!
Why Do We Get Headaches?
Before understanding how peppermint essential oil headache relief works, it’s important to get to the root of what’s causing your discomfort. The cause is often unique for each person. After all peppermint oil will only truly help your headache if you understand and stop what’s triggering it in the first place!
Perhaps the most common cause of headaches is related to diet. Frequent sufferers should keep a daily log of what they eat, keeping track of what triggers headaches. Common dietary causes of headaches include:
- Meats with nitrates like bacon or hot dogs
- Peanut butter
- Lack of water or dehydration
- Magnesium deficiency
In addition to diet-related headaches, another common ailment is a tension headache. These headaches are caused by stress, over-exertion (of either physical muscles or mental focus), and exhaustion. Many people suffer from frequent or infrequent tension headaches or headaches from their diet. Thankfully, temporary peppermint essential oil headache relief can address both types of headaches, and it can come in many different forms. Read on to learn how.
Peppermint Essential Oil Headache Support: Why It Works
The basis for how peppermint oil may provide temporary relief for symptoms related to headaches is found in the properties of this universal essential oil. Of course, most people know that the menthol found in peppermint has a calming and soothing effect on the body, but how exactly does that work for headaches?
Well, most headaches are the result of poor blood flow, and it just so happens that peppermint supports the relaxing and widening of blood vessels. These vasodilating characteristics means that when peppermint essential oil is applied topically or even inhaled as steam, it can help promote blood circulation and provide temporary relief for headaches.
And the potential for peppermint essential oil headache relief is also based in research. A 1996 study in Germany compared the effects of peppermint oil to aid in headache relief as compared to both acetaminophen (the main ingredient in over-the-counter Tylenol) and a placebo. The project studied 164 tension headache episodes in 41 patients between the ages of 18 and 65. At the onset of a headache, patients spread a combination of peppermint oil and ethanol across their forehead and temples every 15-30 minutes and the results were positive. According to the study, the peppermint and ethanol solution “significantly reduced the clinical headache intensity already after 15 minutes [and] this significant clinical reduction of the pain intensity continued over the one hour observation period.” Overall, the study found that peppermint oil “proves to be a well-tolerated and cost-effective alternative to usual therapies.”
Peppermint Essential Oil Headache Support: How It Works
There are many ways to use peppermint essential oil for your headache, but here are three of our favorites.
Peppermint Essential Oil Tea
Take a break and steep up a soothing mug of peppermint tea. While you can also use a peppermint tea bag from the store, making your own tea out of hot water and a couple drops of peppermint essential oil will ensure more pure and direct potential benefits of the peppermint for your headache.
Peppermint Essential Oil Massage
Perhaps the best way to fight headaches with peppermint essential oil is by topically applying it to your forehead or temples. Simply place a drop on each of your index fingers and gently massage the oil into your temples. Like the study above mentioned, you may experience temporary relief from your symptoms in as soon as 15 minutes!
Peppermint Essential Oil Bath or Steam
Sometimes the best way to experience the positive effects of peppermint oil is to simply inhale the aroma and steam. Combined with the relaxing nature of hot water and a bath may be just the thing you need to keep a headache from getting worse or occurring in the first place. Add a few drops to a warm bath, turn off the lights (harsh lights make headaches worse), and relax!
So What’s Next?
Are you ready to get started and try peppermint essential oil for yourself? Consider three of our favorite products from Natural Healthy Concepts, and get started on your path to a headache-free life!
Organic Peppermint Essential Oil from Dr. Mercola brings feelings of calm and peace that can help alleviate temporary symptoms related to headaches.
Organic Peppermint Essential Oil from Plant Therapy can be applied to your temples or forehead for temporary relief.
Certified Organic Peppermint Essential Oil by Wyndmere Essential Oils is a great oil to use in a diffuser to help surround yourself with the calming and soothing effects of peppermint essential oil.
Have you used peppermint essential oil headache support products? Tell us about it in the comments below!