I’m not a fan of most conventional medications. No matter how bad an occasional headache might get, you’ll never find me reaching for a bottle of Excedrin. The same goes for an upset stomach–I’d rather just ride it out than chug Pepto Bismol or chew those chalky tablets. Chest cold? Call me Superwoman, but I’ll pass on those harsh, syrupy cough suppressants. Instead, I turn to peppermint.
While you might keep it around for a batch of homemade thin mints or a pint of fresh mint chocolate chip ice cream, peppermint works wonders on a host of common ailments. Recognized for centuries as a cure-all, peppermint was a favorite medicine among the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. While the leaves were probably the most commonly-used form back then, today peppermint essential oil is widely available, inexpensive, and in my opinion, much more potent. You can pick up a bottle at your local health food store for instant relief from:
- Sour stomach. Heartburn, nausea, indigestion… You know the drill. Mix a couple drops of peppermint oil into a tall glass of water for relief. How many? You’ll know. More than one or two and the scent will be so strong you won’t even be able to lift the glass near your face!
- Headache. Rub peppermint oil on your forehead or temples to stop the brain throbbing. After a minute or two, the pain will be replaced with a pleasant, cooling sensation.
- Chest cold. Peppermint oil has the same effect as that Vicks VapoRub your mom used to slather on your chest as a kid, but less slimy.
- Bad breath. Ditch sugary mints in favor of peppermint-flavored water. Or be bold and place a droplet of peppermint oil straight under your tongue.
I’ll personally attest to the fact that this stuff is a lifesaver. I actually carry a tiny bottle of peppermint essential oil in my bag, and am known to offer it to anyone who seems like their in need of a little soothing relief. Always skeptical, they’re usually pleasantly surprised when it actually works. Pretty cool, huh?