It’s official! Summer has finally arrived! After dreaming of summer during the cold winter months, are you now obsessing over how to stay cool?
Whether you’re baking yourself by the pool or on the beach, or simply going about your normal routine, no one wants to resemble a melting snowman! While an entire summer of sitting in the AC (disregarding the horrific electric bills) or camping out in front of the fridge or a fan, for those that do not have AC, may seem like the only viable option at times, it’s not really practicable or healthy to shut yourself away all summer.
Summer is to be enjoyed. No one should be missing out on all the fun of the carefree days and sultry nights which are synonymous with this season.
Luckily Nature has provided us with another solution. Peppermint essential aroma oil can help us to keep our cool this summer, and avoid excessive sweating and heat-induced headaches.
Thanks to the high content of menthol which it contains, peppermint produces an instant cooling sensation on the skin.
So how does it work? Put simply, menthol stimulates the body’s thermoreceptors to trick the body into thinking it is cool, which it does by blocking calcium currents in the nerves and triggering cold-sensitive TRPM8 receptors.
Here’s how you can use this natural cooling agent to your advantage this summer:
A refreshing body spritz
Dilute a couple of drops of peppermint oil with water, or a carrier oil (try a lightweight oil like argan or grapeseed) in a spray bottle to make a refreshing body spritz. Get that instant cooling effect without any nasty chemicals added into the mix. Avoid your face if you have sensitive skin as the tingling sensation could cause irritation.
Cool the feet
Did you know that the feet help to control the body’s temperature? Cool the feet with some peppermint infused cream (mix a drop in with any cream you may already have), a cooling spritz or a peppermint foot bath to reduce the feeling of overheating throughout the entire body..
Peppermint has analgesic properties, so combined with its cooling properties it’s a winner when it comes to soothing painful sunburnt skin. Add a drop to a carrier oil or any of your body moisturising lotions to turn your everyday toiletries into an effective after-sun agent.
Soothe heat rash
Heat rash, also known as prickly heat, is caused by blocked sweat ducts, usually following excessive sweating. This condition causes extreme itching and discomfort and usually takes a day or two to clear. Peppermint is a superb remedy to cool and cleanse the skin and relieve itching. It also calms allergic inflammatory reactions such as nettle rash since the therapeutic qualities of peppermint oil act similar to anti-histamines. To use simply soak a face cloth in cold water, wring out, add a drop of peppermint, and apply the cold compress to the relevant area.
A cooling room/car fragrance
If your house or car has been locked up all day, it can seem stuffy, stifling or even over-powering. Give it an instant cooling lift with a blast of peppermint infused water spray. It will also refresh and invigorate you – perfect to clear your mind after a long day, and essential if you’re feeling drowsy with the heat and about to drive.
Soothing body oil
Ideal for cooling the body before bed, or to refresh first thing in the morning. Just add a drop of peppermint oil to a carrier oil or your favourite body lotion (suggested 1 drop to every teaspoon), and rub into your body.
Have a cooling shower
Enhance the cooling effect of your shower by adding a drop of peppermint oil to your shower gel. It’s also a great way to invigorate you first thing in the morning.
Cool the hands
The hands can get particularly sticky and clammy during the hot weather, so add a drop of peppermint to your favourite hand lotion, hand sanitiser, or a lightweight, easily absorbed oil such as argan oil or grapeseed oil. Why not melt down a natural soap and add some peppermint oil before remoulding (try a silicone muffin mould) so that you have a refreshing soap at hand. Don’t forget that peppermint also has antibacterial properties too.
Relieve a headache
Extreme heat and drastic weather changes are often triggers for headaches and migraines. Menthol is a key ingredient in cooling patches used to relieve headaches and migraines. Apply some diluted oil to the temples, forehead and back of neck. Or alternatively apply a cold compress to the forehead.
Soothe insect bites
The cooling, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties of peppermint oil can effectively remedy the burning, stinging, itching and swelling associated with insect bites and stings. Apply diluted oil to the affected area or a cold compress. Did you also know that peppermint oil is an effective insect repellent, and can make short thrift of ants, aphids, bed bugs, beetles, cockroaches, fleas, flies, gnats, head lice, mice, mosquitoes, moths, spiders, ticks and wasps? Spray the room with peppermint oil infused water, apply oil or lotion with a drop of peppermint, or use your refreshing body spritz to keep these pests at bay.
Relieves muscle aches and pains
Likewise, the cooling, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties can also relieve any muscle or joint aches and pains from overexertion during exercise, gardening, or whatever else. For best results apply a cold compress.
Combat scalp conditions
The heat can be brutal to the scalp. Peppermint oil can cool and soothe the scalp to alleviate itching, as well as counteracting dryness, dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. Simply add a drop to a carrier oil and massage in, add a drop to your usual shampoo or use your refreshing peppermint body spritz.
In addition to the cooling properties associated with the menthol content in peppermint, this oil can also help with the following:
Peppermint oil is a stimulant. If the hot weather has you feeling fatigued or sluggish, then inhale some peppermint oil to increase alertness, concentration and motivation. It will also eliminate stress, irritability and a bad mood, and can help to overcome the mental fog associated with jet lag.
Diminishes nausea and motion sickness
Peppermint oil relaxes the gastric muscles and prevents cramping or over-contracting, thus suppressing the feeling of nausea. Inhale some to quickly improve symptoms, and apply some diluted oil to the temples to eliminate that clammy feeling.
Massage some diluted peppermint oil onto the abdomen to relax muscles in the digestive system, facilitate digestion, improve digestive ailments, reduce cramping and calm an upset stomach.
Offers respiratory support
Peppermint oil clears congestion and opens the airways to bring relief to respiratory problems including hayfever, nasal congestion, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis and the common cold and cough. Use as a chest rub, inhale, or try steam inhalation to clear a stuffy head and suppress coughing.
The heat and excessive sweating can play havoc on the skin, blocking pores and exacerbating conditions such as acne. Use diluted peppermint oil to cleanse the skin, unclog pores, relieve acne and skin infections, and minimise large or open pores.
While we’re in the mood for mint, lets not forget that a glass of iced mint tea is also extremely refreshing and invigorating, and will assist in cooling the body, in addition to banishing daytime fatigue and lethargy caused by the heat and improving mental awareness and focus. Plus this healthy and caffeine-free beverage will help to soothe an upset stomach, improve digestion & reduce nausea, in addition to combating headaches caused by tension or tiredness by relaxing tense muscles and relieving pain, relieving menstrual pain by reducing the intensity and length of muscle contractions, and reducing the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Anyone for a glass?
So don’t lose your cool this summer. Chill out with the helping hand of Mother Nature and peppermint, get out there and celebrate summer.
NOTE: Peppermint oil is not recommended for use on children under the age of 6.