Peppermint oil creates a refreshing, cooling, warming and activating feeling. It has been used in many cultures for thousands of years, mainly due to its extremely useful health-promoting properties. It is an excellent digestive aid, helps with the respiratory and circulatory systems and is a fantastic anti-inflammatory and antiseptic oil and this week we look a little deeper into the benefits and qualities of this incredible oil.
On top of this peppermint is an exceptional flavour, particularly when it comes to dark chocolate and is excellent to use in the bathroom as it’s familiar aroma and taste is in most toothpastes and mouth washes. It even keeps mice, fleas and ants away. There is no doubt every home should have a bottle of this on hand.
One of my most favourite ways to use peppermint is in a footbath. Simply fill a large stainless steel bowl with warm/hot water and place 3 drops Lavender and 3 drops Peppermint into the water. Agitate the water then immerse both feet and soak for a minimum of ten minutes. Even better place a face washer at the bottom and two large marbles on top of that. Now rub your feet over them massaging any sore points and triggering as much of the sole as possible. If you add ½ cup magnesium salt to this footbath you really are giving yourself the best of best home spa foot treatments around!
Peppermint compresses are also fantastic. A cold compress on the forehead and extremities when a fever or headache is present is ideal and the perfect way to help bring comfort when unwell. Placing a warm compress on the tummy when there are digestive issues is a real winner as is a peppermint spritzer when suffering with morning or travel sickness!
One of the most common questions I get asked in relation to peppermint is ‘How safe is the toothpaste I buy with peppermint oil in it? Let’s think about everyday toothpaste… Did you know that toothpaste is not regulated as a food but as a cosmetic product? Understandably we are not meant to swallow it but we all know small amounts do trickle down the back of the throat even when we do not intend to. And most international well-known brands – particularly if they are sold into China – will definitely have been animal tested as part of their importing legislation.
The safety testing of cosmetic products is incredibly lax compared to food products and we all know there are many cosmetic brands on the market today that have well known questionable and scary ingredients. This means sadly, that the manufacturers of toothpaste can just about fill the tube with whatever ingredients look, smell, feel and taste great without ever giving a thought to our health and wellbeing.
If you ever want to check your ingredients you can suss out the Environmental Working Group safety chart http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ but for now some questionable ingredients to look out for in your toothpaste are:
Triclosan – an antibacterial agent and preservative used in some toothpastes. According to the EWG Triclosan has been shown to be an endocrine disrupter, skin irritant and can cause allergic reactions.
Sorbitol – this is a liquid that stops toothpaste from drying out. It has a laxative effect if too much is consumed.
Aspartame/Sachharin – well known sweeteners that have been linked to all sorts of problems and conditions like alzeihmers, dementia. They are considered neuro-toxins so best to be avoided at all times.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – is a foaming agent and detergent that is added to most toothpastes on the market. It has known side effects that are detrimental to the body as well as during the process of it there may be ethylene oxide which has moderate cancer risk associated to it.
FD & C Blue Dye No 2 – this so-called fun ‘stripe’ in toothpastes is most likely from a synthetic dye which are known have adverse effects including hyperactivity in children, allergic reactions and even cancer.
Fluoride – probably the most publicized ingredient of all and deserves a whole article itself but put simply fluoride is dangerous and toxic. Too much can have serious side effects including fluorosis (spotting and discoloration on teeth). The FDA now requires all manufacturers put a ‘poison warning’ on all fluoride toothpastes.
Many natural health food stores will stock quality toothpastes without these nasties. I look for chemical-free ones that and contain no parabens, SLS, added fluoride, sugar and artificial sweeteners or petrochemicals and chemical bleach. It has mild foaming, a nice mint flavour and is NOT tested on animals.
Here is a link to some natural toothpastes as recommended by Women’s Health Magazine.
If you would like to make your own toothpaste then here is a recipe you can make at home!
6Tbsp coconut oil
6Tbsp baking soda
10 drops Peppermint oil
2 drops stevia
Mix all together and keep in a glass jar.
It might take a little getting used to at first but it may well be worth persisting.
If you would like to get yourself some organic Peppermint oil here is the Twenty8 one.
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