Sunday, October 14, 2007

Minding the Mint

peppermint (pep er-mint, -ment) n. 1. a kind of mint grown for its strong, fragrant oil used in medicine, candies, etc. 2. the oil itself 3. a candy flavored with this. (1)

Well that may be what the dictionary says, but happily, and as you probably surmised, I have more to add.

The word “peppermint” itself dates back to the 17th century England. It is a compound word invented to describe the flavor and scent of the herb that is a cultivated hybrid between two wild mints, Mentha viridis (aka spearmint) and Mentha aquatica (aka water mint) now known as Mentha piperita. But the herb has roots in ancient Egypt, and is found extensively in food and medicinal references throughout Greek and Roman histories.

Throughout history, peppermint has been used as an aid to relieve colds, nausea, vomiting and stomach maladies. Maybe it’s the grassy-minty scent, or maybe it’s the effects of menthol on the human system – whatever it is, peppermint seems to work wonders, more often than not.

From Iowa to Italy, peppermint is cultivated worldwide, but thrives in rich, moist, dark soil. The best oils and extracts come from northern regions. Here in the United States, our northern central and northwestern states grow superior quality peppermints, including my favorite, Yakima (Washington, USA) peppermint. I love the Yakima type for its round, sweet note and low menthol count. While menthol is undoubtedly the reason why mint smells so minty, too much of a good thing can be a problem. Yakima peppermint offers a lovely, balanced note, reminiscent of peppermint candy. It’s the only peppermint oil we sell at Snowdrift Farm – and it’s on sale throughout October, along with our peppermint herb.

Wondering how to use peppermint in your daily routine? Here are a few suggestions:

1) Create a Foot Fetish! Add several drops of peppermint oil and ¼ - ½ teaspoon to 2 ounces of moisturizer. Massage into feet and ankles. Rinse. Follow with peppermint foot spray: mix 8 oz. distilled water with 40 drops of peppermint essential oil and .1 oz. of potassium sorbate (as a preservative). Dispense from a pretty spray bottle.

2) Have a cup of peppermint tea to relax and soothe you

3) Make your own toothpaste by mixing one tablespoon of baking soda, 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide and 5-7 drops peppermint essential oil

or, consider these formulas from Snowdrift Farm:

Lavender (& Peppermint) Linen Spray

Whipped Shaving Cream Soap

Doggie Dry Bath & Deodorant

Gently Moisturizing Self-Heating Mask

Restorative Herbal Mineral Soak

Cooling Aftershave

Thick Gel Hand Sanitizer

The Original Beach Time Foot Scrub

Herbal Astringent


(1) Oxford-American Dictionary


Michelle said...

Peppermint is my favorite EO. I just ordered some from you. I can't wait to use it.

Trina said...

Hi Michelle,

Peppermint is a wonderful essential oil -- so versatile and refreshing. I'm sure you'll enjoy your peppermint eo -- let me know!

Trina at SDF

Michelle said...

I just made my soap with the EO I received from you. It smells wonderful.