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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween and Peppermint Power

The Halloween season can be a favorite among children as they excitedly prepare their costumes in anticipation for parades, trick or treating, and then finally being able to sort out their goodies.

Some parents try to encourage the moderation method in how fast the candy gets consumed.  Others figure, gorge and get it out of temptations way.

The price to pay for overidulgence may be an upset stomach or a throbbing headache from all the sugar.
Prepare ahead and you'll be ready to deal with it all.
A natural remedy that should be in every kitchen cabinet is Peppermint. Peppermint is one of the oldest and most highly regarded herbs for soothing belly aches and digestion.

Peppermint is just one of the many types of mint in the Mentha family.  It is a perennial herb that if left unchecked, will happily take over your garden through its runner root system.  People often have a designated area just for mint or else they may confine it to barrels or tubs under the ground.

Peppermint makes a wonderful, cooling herbal tea for hot summer days, or it can easily be dried and stored for use anytime as a hot beverage.  Peppermint has the properties to relax contracted muscles, such as the case with stomach aches.

Besides the herbal leaf peppermint, you can utilitze peppermint's many uses by way of the essential oil.  Peppermint essential oil is one of the most powerful essences, incompatible with homeopathy (it will neutralize the potency).  Peppermint herbal tea is safe for young children but when it comes to the essential oil (external use only) it is recommended to not be used for children under the age of five as it is just too stong. Some sources say it is alright as a belly massage if diluted in olive oil (1-2 drops per 2 TB olive oil).  Check with your physician. For infants, a better choice for belly aches would be chamomile or lavender essential oil (1 drop each or 2 drops total in 2 TB olive oil).

It is said that peppermint is one of the best for headaches and nausea.  We tend to shallow breathe when in pain, which results in poorly oxygenated blood.  Peppermint helps to breathe deeper.  Headaches generally have 3 main pains:  the neck and shoulders, the stomach with nausea, and the forehead with sinusitis.  Apply a drop of peppermint essential oil or a bit of a massage oil containing peppermint and rub it where it hurts.

With cold season approaching, peppermint is wonderful to open up the airways to make breathing easier.  Add a few teabags to a pot of hot water and form a tent over the head with a towel to create a sauna effect.  Or add a few drops of essential oil to a simmer pot (if only using peppermint 5 drops may be strong enough) which will help purify an entire room.  Ideal for nighttime use while sleeping.  A favorite combination is 4 drops lavender essential oil, 4 drops eucalyptus essential oil, and 2 drops peppermint essential oil (the general rule for simmer pots is a total of 10 drops).

A last, useful tip for peppermint!  Rodents and ants detest its smell.  Add a few drops of the essential oil to a cotton ball and leave at the the point of suspected entry or site of activity.

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This body, air or surface spray has a multitude of uses.  Cool off from hot weather, relieve a heat flash or a headache, improve concentration while studying, ease nausea from motion sickness or poor digestion, or just feel energized!

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Great to keep handy in a home first aid kit or in the car glove compartment.  An herbal oil made by infusing fresh peppermint in olive oil, with the addition of child safe essential oils.  Helps to relieve the painful cramping of stomach muscles or the throbbing of a headache.

The holidays and all that goes with it is fast approaching.  Eat and be merry!  Just be prepared.