4 brilliant uses of peppermint that you should know about

Peppermint is not a new phenomenon to the world. Candy canes, breath mints and gum have long been flavored with this herb. Amazingly, though, its benefits go far beyond just being great for flavor.

Peppermint has a lot of health benefits, too. The ancient Egyptians used it to help with digestive problems, and Europe caught onto the same idea in the eighteenth century. Today, science backs up what was known back then; peppermint has some great medicinal properties. Here are 4 brilliant ways you can use peppermint.

1. Calm irritable bowel syndrome

The University of Maryland Medical Center states that peppermint oil has been shown to help calm irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The best way to use peppermint for this purpose is to take enteric-coated capsules so that the peppermint doesn’t create heartburn.

2. Alleviate tension headaches

There’s something soothing about peppermint. WebMD and the University of Maryland Medical Center both say that peppermint is good for soothing tension headaches. Happy Mothering recommends combining peppermint along with other essential oils to create a balm for tension headaches. In a double boiler, melt 3 tablespoons of beeswax. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil. Once this is all thoroughly mixed, add 8 drops of frankincense, 6 drops of spearmint, 10 drops of peppermint, 8 drops of basil and 6 drops of lavender and stir. Pour into 1-ounce containers and let harden.

3. Encourage hair growth

Yes, that’s right. Peppermint appears to help hair grow. Medical News Today says that in order to actually see results, you need to add one to two drops of peppermint essential oils to the shampoo in your hand and then lather your hair. If your skin gets irritated, try backing off the amount of oil.

4. Opens the sinuses

Regardless of whether you’re suffering from allergies or a cold, peppermint may be all you need to help open the sinus passages. One of the primary ingredients in peppermint is menthol, a known decongestant. By drinking it as a tea, you get the benefits of inhaling the vapors of the essential oils and the steam to help keep the mucous fluid. How Stuff Works says to place 1/2-ounce dried peppermint leaves in 1 quart boiling water. Let it steep for five minutes and then drink.

Peppermint has more uses than just flavor for candy; it has viable health benefits. The next time you have a stuffy nose or upset stomach, try sipping some peppermint tea and see if it might just be the solution you’ve been looking for.