10 Ways I Use Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint OilDon’t you just love the smell of peppermint?  So refreshing and invigorating.  Peppermint oil is would probably rank in my top 5 for most-used essential oils.  Here are a few ways that I use peppermint oil and see great results:

  1. Nausea – If I’m ever feeling queasy or nauseous, I either rub some peppermint oil on my stomach or breathe it in.  I’m always amazed at how fast it works and keep applying every 20 minutes or smelling it until I feel better.  This, along with activated charcoal, seriously saved me when I got food poisoning 3 times (why, oh why!?!) last year.
  2. Headaches – Whenever I get a headache, rather than popping not-so-safe aspirin or ibuprofen, I put some peppermint oil on the roof of my mouth, back of my neck and top of my forehead and within minutes, I’m back to normal.  *Warning: be careful to not get it in or close to your eyes or it will sting. If you do, wash out with olive or coconut oil rather than water.
  3. Anti-Itch – Last summer, when I got hives as a result of stress, peppermint oil was the only thing that would relieve the itching.  It’s also a great option for bug bites and sunburn as the oil is very calming for skin inflammation. You may need to dilute peppermint oil with coconut oil before applying directly to your skin as it can irritate sensitive skin in its concentrated form.
  4. Allergies – Peppermint oil is great at helping clear out my nasal passages and reducing sinus inflammation caused by allergies.  I use this in my essential oil allergy blend LLP (Lavender + Lemon + Peppermint) and diffuse all the time during allergy season. Read more about how I fight allergies naturally here.
  5. Energizer – Afternoon slump or just need to focus at work… I diffuse peppermint at my desk at work and it does wonders for getting me through the rest of the day.
  6. Fever Reducer – The couple of times I’ve had a fever in the past few months, I’ve used peppermint oil on the back of my neck and forehead with a cool compress and brought my temperature down to normal without medication.
  7. Decongestant – When I have a cold, I mix peppermint with eucalyptus oil and coconut oil and applied to my neck and chest.  It acts as an expectorant and helps open up airways and clear out sinuses.  This was especially helpful to me when I was coughing a lot.
  8. Muscle Pain Relief – Anytime I have sore muscles, I use peppermint oil to help relax them and relieve the pain.  It’s also a main ingredient in one of my favorite blends of essential oils for pain relief – the Deep Relief Roll On. This was amazing to rub on my feet and legs each night after walking miles a day at Universal Studios & Disney World.
  9. Oral Care – Of course, peppermint is a well-known breath freshener.  I mix it with a bit of water and use as a mouthwash.  It’s also in my beloved brushing blend OraWellness – read more here about why I will never go back to using regular toothpaste!
  10. Bug Repellent – Ticks & mosquitoes apparently hate peppermint, so I use this in a pest-repellent spray for my dog every day.  For some reason, bugs don’t like me, so I don’t have to use anything personally, but you can use it for people too. For my pup, I mix up distilled water with a few drops each of peppermint + eucalyptus + Thieves + citronella + tea tree in a spray bottle; besides protecting her from fleas & other bugs, it makes her smell great.  Here is an actual recipe for homemade bug spray that’s very similar.

I’m so grateful to have added a variety of essential oils to my “medicine cabinet” and to now have a safe, effective way to address symptoms immediately when they arise.  I have chosen to buy the Young Living brand of essential oils because I’ve done my research and I trust the source and the purity of the oils they grow & produce. If you are interested in trying out essential oils, visit this page on my blog for more details or leave a comment and we can chat more.

Have you been looking for a natural way to address any of the symptoms above?  Do you use peppermint oil in other ways that help?  I’d love to hear about it!

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A few of my favorite things…

Favorite Natural ProductsMy transition to a more natural lifestyle has been gradual…. I never had a dramatic throw out all products/food moment, mostly because it’s expensive to replace everything all at once.  I first changed my diet for optimal nutrition and as I read more books and blogs, I began to learn how the products we breathe and absorb through our skin affect our bodies just as much as what we eat.  So, I started to change the hygiene and cleaning products that I use in our home. Someday, I’d love to make all my own products… the recipes online are abundant and it’s certainly cheaper, but for now, I buy what I need.  I’ve written about quite a few of these products, but I thought I would put it all together in one easy place for those of you looking for recommendations.  Here’s a very random list of a few of my favorite health and home products:

HIMG_6800ealthy Mouth – Cavities, bleeding gums, root canals, bad breath… chances are that many of you don’t like going to the dentist. Gum disease, in particular, is a serious epidemic now – in 9 out of 10 adults – so, obviously the toothpaste & mouthwash out there isn’t doing a darn thing to help.  The OraWellness brushing blend, made only with organic essential oils, completely transformed the health of my mouth (read more here).  My gum bacterial infection is gone and I’ve healed two cavities – no fillings for me! I also use the toothbrush that they sell – specifically designed with less bristles to gently clean the tooth at the gum line. If you want to give the whole system a try, here’s the basic starter kit.


IMG_6811Living Clay
 – Used by some of the world’s finest spas, this Bentonite clay is not only beneficial for your skin, but has many other healing properties as well. It’s extremely absorptive properties help cleanse the body of toxins – I use it as a purifying face mask, any time I have a rash, as a detox bath, and even drink it in liquid form to cleanse my digestive system when I’m sick. For a comprehensive guide on the many ways to use it, I highly recommend this book – Living Clay: Nature’s Own Miracle Cure; you can also read some excerpts here.

IMG_6810Activated Charcoal – Read my blog post on this amazing substance and how it can be used for teeth whitening, acne, food poisoning, digestive issues, bug bites & stings and even hangovers. Add the capsule or powder version to your first aid kit today.

Coconut Oil – I’m begging you… please throw away those harmful vegetable/canola oils in your pantry and buy this next time you are at the grocery store.  I have replaced all oils in baking and cooking with this – it has incredible healing properties and is really easy to use. And I use it to wash my face and moisturize my whole body; my skin has never been better. Read more about the miracles of coconut oil here.

Natural Deodorants – Last October, with Breast Cancer Awareness Month in mind, I wrote all about some great natural deodorant options that are free of cancer-causing aluminium and parabens.  I recently found another product I love – Primal Pit Paste.  I find the best success in alternating deodorants every other day, so I also currently use Silver Shield Deodorant. Bonus: Both products are made locally and are also man-approved by my husband!

Essential Oils – I’m obsessed.  Sometimes, I wonder what I ever did without them; then, I remember that I took medicine… and suffered for it.  Instead of reaching for side-effect-causing pharmaceuticals, I can now use something safe and natural for my whole family (dog too!). Now’s the time to update your medicine cabinet!

IMG_6804Diva Cup – For women only: that “time of the month” may be a strange topic to discuss, but you should seriously rethink the hormones and chemicals going into your body through the feminine hygiene products you use.  Since the chemical glyphosate is used in growing cotton, you are exposing your body to this cancer-causing toxin every time you use a tampon. I am so thankful for this product; not only is it much safer for my body, but it’s also made a huge difference in the debilitating cramps I used to experience each month.

All-Purpose Cleaners – This is one of the few products I do actually make myself with lemon essential oil because it is just so easy. But, in the past, I have loved using each of these natural products: J.R. Watkins All Purpose Cleaner, Branch Basics, and Young Living Thieves Household Cleaner.  Each of those have great hand soap options as well!

Detergents – Most options you find in the stores have lots of chemicals, and with the items we clean being so close to our skin or even what we eat off of, the ingredients in these products do matter. I highly suggest visiting your local farmer’s market to find a local vendor who sells these as they often work the best, but Seventh Generation makes a couple of mostly natural items I IMG_6802use when I run out and need to buy at the store. The Laundry Detergent can be used in cold water & HE machines effectively and is free of fragrances & brighteners, as well as environmentally-friendly.  The Dishwasher Gel works great too!

Wool Dryer Balls – Did you know that the chemicals in dyer sheets are terrible for the longevity of your clothes and your dryer, as well as bad for the environment? As soon as I learned there was an option that was not only safe in all those aspects, but also dried clothes faster and make clothes softer, I was totally on board.  These are forever reusable and I can add a few drops of whatever essential oil aroma I’m feeling like.  Buy the package of 6 and use them all at once for even better effectiveness.

Do you have any other favorite, natural products to recommend? Will you be trying anything listed above?

*A few of the links above are affiliate links, which means I make a very small commission if you decide to purchase that product.  I appreciate the support to be able to keep this blog going.

(Char)coal in your stocking?

I still can’t believe that Christmas is less than a week away!  In remembering last Christmas, some very lovely memories of time spent with family are a bit overshadowed by a bad bout with food poisoning.  Miles away from the comforts of home, all I could think of was getting back to my charcoal.  And, yes, I am speaking about the charred wood type of charcoal.  I know it sounds a bit strange, but let me tell you about this surprising little cure-all…

As charcoal is created, “the gases, resins, proteins & fats in the wood are burned out, the heat-generated and change in chemistry cause the development of a charge on the charcoal granule which attracts most poisonous substances.”  Activated charcoal is created in a controlled setting and steam is introduced to enhance the adsorbtive power by creating finer pores.

Charcoal CapsulesActivated charcoal is a powder form that is easy to ingest and very fast-acting.  I have it in both capsule form and straight up powder.  The capsules are easy to take just like any pill; they’re good for kids (or husbands) who may not be willing to drink a glass full of black water.  Personally, I just mix a tablespoon or two in a glass of water and drink it – it’s completely tasteless, odorless and mixes well so the texture is barely granule.  Plus, drinking lots of water enhances its effectiveness.  “Charcoal reaches its maximum rate of adsorption within one minute.”

Charcoal has some surprising health benefits you’d probably never imagine.  It is actually classified in the safest Category 1 by the FDA for all ages.  It is an absolute staple in my “medicine” cabinet that’s filled only with harmless remedies and I highly recommend you get some too. Here’s the short list of its uses:

  • Charcoal is an extremely effective antidote to poisoning from chemicals or drug overdose.  There is a long list of substances which charcoal easily absorbs and the fact that it can be administered quickly & act quickly is a major advantage.  Ideally, it should be taken on an empty stomach and should be double the dosage of the poison (double further if person has eaten recently).
  • It is widely used as a remedy for stomach and intestinal issues like gas, bloating (especially from food allergies), diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.  As I mentioned, this is my go-to whenever I have food poisoning (which I have somehow contracted 3 times this year!).  As soon as I am able to keep down the charcoal for a few minutes, the vomiting stops, my stomach cramps lessen and I feel dramatically better within a matter of 10 minutes.  It decreases recovery time by preventing dehydration and, best of all, it truly absorbs the toxins causing your body to react instead of you just having to get it out of your system.
  • Swishing charcoal around your mouth for 30 seconds helps whiten and clean your teeth (seriously – it works wonders!) and stops bad breath.  Rinse with regular water afterwards to avoid a smile full of very black teeth.
  • Here’s a fun fact many of you may need over the holidays: although charcoal does not prevent alcohol intoxication, it does reduce the effects of a hangover.
  • It can be used externally on venomous bites or stings.  Wet a band-aid and put charcoal on there before applying to a bee/wasp/ant sting, a mosquito bite or even poison ivy (just use a larger compress). There are several case studies of how helpful charcoal has been when a snake or spider bite has occurred.  It was ingested and applied externally before the patient could reach the hospital to start removing the poisons from the body; it’s even cured brown recluse spider bites.
  • Topically, it can help clean & remove bacteria from skin lesions and ulcers.  It can also be used as a treatment for acne.  I mix a little bit with coconut oil and put on as a mask… its ability to draw substances out is great for removing blackheads.
  • It can be used safely with pets!  Like humans, it can help with bites or skin infections as well as intestinal problems.  When my dog has had diarrhea in the past, I’ve simply filled a syringe with a water/charcoal mixture and put it down her throat.
  • A few other uses for illness include foot and mouth disease, chronic pancreatitis and newborn jaundice.

I’ll give a couple of cautions: 1. The only side effect -real talk here- is that you will have black poop afterwards. 2. It doesn’t absorb nutrients that your body needs, but it will absorb any medications that you’ve taken. If you can, wait a couple of hours after taking meds before you drink it.

Interested in adding this to your medicine cabinet in case of emergency? The best news of all is that charcoal is cheap!  You can buy activated charcoal at your local health foods store or online.  Here’s a couple of options that I have used personally: capsule and powder version.  I’d also recommend you buy this short book for $7 and keep it handy to reference for dosage information.  It was the main source for this blog post & has a ton of really fascinating stories of healing to read: RX: Charcoal by Agatha Thrash, M.D. & Calvin Thrash, M.D.

Do you think charcoal is something that you’d try? I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions!

Let’s Talk Teeth

Shark Teeth

In honor of Shark Week, let’s talk teeth!

Last week, I visited the dentist for my 6-month cleaning appointment and received a glowing report: no cavities, no gum disease, not even a “you could be flossing or brushing better.”  When is the last time you got a report like that?  Well, for me, this was phenomenal news compared to my last dental visit…

See, earlier this year, I went in for my normal cleaning and the dentist gave me some grim news.  Apparently I had a serious bacterial infection that was causing gum disease in my mouth.  I was urged to spend $500 on a test that would pinpoint the exact bacteria attacking my mouth, which would direct them to prescribe the appropriate antibiotics, and maybe even steroids, to fight the bacteria.  I was also told to implement a new routine into my dental care: schedule cleanings every 3 months and purchase a high-end water pick as well as a pricey prescription dental wash (which I was appalled to find contained sucralose!).  To top it all off, the dentist mentioned that if this gum disease continued to ravage my mouth, it would likely cause heart disease and infertility problems.  Way to put the fear into a patient!

Okay, so I am admittedly cynical when it comes to anyone in the health profession.  Let’s be honest, this is their job… it’s how they support their families, and more problems with a patient certainly mean more money for them.  This was certainly not the first time in my life to receive a terrible diagnosis from a medical professional, and I knew from experience that I needed to do a little research of my own before agreeing to any treatment.

I take great care in what I put in my body, whether it’s food and drink or the hygiene and beauty products that my skin absorbs.  A few years ago, I learned about the dangers of fluoride and have since been filtering it out of my water at home as well as avoiding it in dental products.  Fluoride is used to prevent cavities because it kills the bacteria in our mouth, but unfortunately, we are getting far too much of it and it’s causing lots of health problems in the general population.  Just a few examples include cell death, brain damage, dementia, bone issues, lowered immune function and thyroid problems.  (Read more here and here.)  I take a daily iodine supplement to counteract the fluoride that I do consume through water outside my home and bathing since Austin’s water contains it.  More and more people are beginning to hear about the dangers of the fluoride chemical being added to our water supply, and some places, like Portland and Israel, have even voted to prevent it.  I have personally seen improvement in my hormone issues and memory since removing it.  All that to say, I needed a dental care solution without toxic fluoride or other harmful chemicals, which meant the dentist’s solutions were not going to happen.

Having found natural healing for so many other health issues in my life, I began to seek out some trusted sources that have helped in the past.  Thanks to a recommendation by my favorite Dr. Cate, I found a product called OraWellness. I purchased the OraWellness HealThy Mouth Blend to give it a try.   It is a blend of organic essential oils with bacteria-fighting properties to fight against gum disease and the bacteria that causes cavities. Basically, you use a few drops of the blend on your toothbrush instead of toothpaste.   It was hard to get used to not using toothpaste, but within a week I was sold. It tastes great and the small bottle travels easy.  I also love that you can use it on your floss or as a mouthwash for a deeper clean.   My mouth has never felt so fresh.  Plus, since you are just using a few drops at a time, a bottle usually lasts me 2-3 months, which is totally affordable. Also, they have these great toothbrushes with less bristles that feel so much better on my sensitive gums (thank you, seasonal allergies).  If you want to learn more about why the blend works, you can visit their website directly. Their blog also has some great insight into other dental care topics as well as how important a healthy mouth is to overall wellness.

Now, six months later, after using the product twice a day, I am free of gum disease, bacterial infection, cavities and have clean, fresh breath. Plus, I swear my teeth are whiter!  The dentist was shocked by the transformation of my mouth, and hopefully slightly convinced that the natural way can indeed heal.

Had you heard about the dangers of fluoride?  Would you ever try something new and natural to clean your teeth and gums?