Stay Cool with Aromatherapy
It’s official–summer is here. And with it comes the heat. Whether you are baking beachside or powering through stifling humidity in a suit, we all share the same summer obsession: how to stay cool?
Aromatherapy (a healing modality that is based on the use of essential oils) can provide easy and effective summer heat relief by regulating our internal temperature, cooling our moods and supporting our skin’s own ability to breathe.
Peppermint essential oil is your best bet to beat the summer heat.
But first, what is an essential oil?
Essential oils are naturally occurring aromatic compounds found in the roots, seeds, flowers, leaves, bark and wood of plants. These aromatic compounds are extracted from the plant material through the process of steam distillation, and, once extracted, form a highly concentrated and fragrant liquid that we identify as an “oil,” but is actually not “oily” in texture or structure.
Essential oils are the identifying markers of each plant; its their quintessential “essence”; It’s what makes a ginger root smell like ginger, or mint leaf smell like mint.
Peppermint Essential OIl
The common peppermint plant (botanical name: Mentha piperta) is easy to find in the US. It is a sturdy herbaceous perennial that grows easily in temperate climates. It is persistent and spreads quickly. The peppermint plant that most Americans are familiar with is a cross between wintermint and spearmint.
One of my favorite childhood hot summer memories is curling up next to the huge bushy heap of peppermint that exploded between the cracks of our backyard sidewalk, and letting the aroma of the icy menthol cool me down.
Peppermint Essential Oil Basics
Botanical Family: Labiatae syn Lamiaceae
Part of Plant essential oil is extracted from:: Leaves and flowering tops
Extraction method: Steam distillation
What it looks and feels like: Clear, light, quick drying, no residue
What it smells like: Icy, clean, clearing, menthol, sharp, bright, strong, fresh, cool
Main Therapeutic Properties
- Combats mental fatigue, encourages clarity and focus, stimulating, clearing, mood lifting
- Soothes Muscle soreness, tightness and stiffness
- Cooling to an overheated body, diminishes inflammation
- Offers respiratory support, clears congestions, opens airways
- Cleansing, opens pores, stimulates circulation, energizes skin
- Calms an upset stomach, motion sickness
How to Use Peppermint Essential Oil to Cool Off This Summer?
Add a couple of drops to a spray bottle filled with cool purified water, and mist yourself to help cool down. You can also mist your sheets and pillow before settling in to go to sleep.
- Drop a few drops on a damp hand towel, or handkerchief and gently pat along back on neck and behind ears
- Soak your hot tired feet in a cool bath with a few drops of Peppermint Oil
- Add a drop or two to your favorite liquid body wash to help cool off in the shower and/or bath.
- Put a couple of drops on a cotton ball and carry it around to inhale when you start feeling a little hot and bothered!
- Peppermint oil is also a good choice to deter insects, both from biting you and from invading your porch, or picnic. Just keep misting yourself and your surroundings.
Amy Galper, B.A., M.A., Cert. AT, is Executive Director and Founder of New York Institute of Aromatherapy, and Founder, Buddha Nose Ltd.
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