The use of peppermint dates to ancient times, making the plant one of those medicinal plants used in Africa thousands of years ago. In ancient Egypt, peppermint had both mystical and medicinal significance, and in Europe, its therapeutic use was first documented about 100 years after the birth of Christ.
In ancient Greece, a physician used peppermint to treat bladder stones, hiccups, and stomach cramps. Since then, peppermint has become a staple in many home pharmacies. Peppermint is versatile, as the plant is suitable, for example, for body care, cooking, baking, and aromatherapy. Due to the enormously high content of essential oils in peppermint, the plant is now usually administered and used as an oil, which is available in various dosages.
Extraction of peppermint oil
The leaves of the field mint (Mentha piperita) are used to produce peppermint oil. The harvesting begins before the formation of flowers. It is at this stage of the growing plant that the content of essential oils is the highest.
Peppermint essential oil is obtained through steam distillation, which involves generating steam into a boiler containing the plant material. The steam causes essential oils to be released. Subsequently, these essential oils, together with the water vapor, are passed into special cooling coils. They condense and are collected in containers. Since the essential oils are lighter than water, the oil floats above the water from where the pure essential oil can be skimmed off.
Ingredients of peppermint oil
Peppermint oil is mainly composed of essential oils. The main ingredients extracted from the leaves of peppermint (Mentha piperita) are menthofuran, cineole, menthol (about 45%), and menthone (about 20%). Menthol is characteristic of the plant and the cause of the fresh mint smell, although menthofuran must be filtered out for medicinal use. Other ingredients include flavonoids, which give the oil its flavor, and secondary plant compounds such as triterpenes, known for their anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, components such as isomenthol, neomenthol, and menthyl acetate are still present in minute quantities.
Peppermint oil is not tolerated by everyone who suffers from migraines.
Occasionally, people with migraines are susceptible to odors, so that the application can even intensify the migraine in rare cases. If the application causes discomfort, you should refrain from future applications.
Peppermint oil against mice and spiders
Mice in the home are a health hazard, but poisons or chemicals used to control mice can be just as harmful, which is why peppermint oil is recommended as a harmless remedy for humans and mice to drive those pests away.
Mice cannot tolerate the smell of peppermint. Peppermint oil gives off the peppermint smell most intensely. To drive rodents away, put a few drops of the oil on several cotton balls that you layout in places where the animals enter your home—for example, doors, pipes, mouse holes, and related areas. In addition, it is helpful to place the cotton balls sprinkled with peppermint oil in front of containers that contain food, for example, near the refrigerator or your rubbish bin.
The effect of peppermint oil lasts a maximum of seven days. Therefore, it is recommended to change the cotton balls after five to six days.
Peppermint oil is also excellent for driving away spiders and preventing them from entering the home. Take an empty spray bottle, fill it with water, and mix in about 20-25 drops of peppermint oil. Then spray all the nooks and crannies in your home, where spiders usually like to stay and hide. Likewise, all windows and entrances should be sprayed, as spiders mainly enter living spaces through open windows and doors.