When we think of peppermint, we often think of its cooling and refreshing properties. But why is this? Is it just marketing hype or is is there some science behind it? With summer heatwaves and some of us jetting off to warmer climates, we caught up with Shelley Baker, Clinical Aromatherapy Consultant to Summerdown to discover her tips on how this powerhouse of a plant can help keep us cool.
Why is peppermint Cooling?
“I remember lunchtime 6th form trips to the Body Shop (back then the only place offering natural plant based creams), where we were either found lurking round the glass bottles of very strong smelling perfume or buying cooling peppermint foot lotion. It wasn’t until I trained in Aromatherapy 6 years later I realised that peppermint oil had an actual cooling action and wasn’t just included for its deodorant properties!
Peppermint essential oil Mentha x piperita contains the chemical menthol, an alcohol (monoterpenol), comprising up to approx. 50-55% of the total make up of the oil. Alcohol evaporates quickly and takes heat with it, hence being cooling in its action. Peppermint essential oil has very many properties and the presence of menthol gives it its cooling effects.
So when you eat peppermint, drink peppermint tea or use it on your body, it will have a cooling feel.
Peppermint as a natural after sun
“Summerdown body lotion containing beautiful English pure peppermint oil is lovely and cooling if you’ve had a bit too much sunshine. It’s a perfect after sun lotion! Keep it in the fridge to maximise it’s cooling sensation.
Alternatively for adults, make a large mug of very strong Summerdown peppermint tea and pour it in the bath.”
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Peppermint and its anti-itch properties
Peppermint in low doses has anti-itch properties. (Caution: if the dose is too high peppermint becomes a skin irritant). Rather than using the oil or lotions, for immediate relief of bites and stings dab a cold used peppermint tea bag over the affected area. It really helps.
Please note – Shelley recommends you don’t use peppermint essential oil with babies and young children.