There is still a lot of research to be done on peppermint oil to determine its health benefits, but it is widely used for many things including flavoring, a fragrance in cosmetics, in creams and ointments. Some doctors even use it as a colon relaxing aid when doing barium enemas or other radiology procedures.
Home remedies can be quite effective in some circumstances and definitely have their place, but instruct your mother’s elderly health care provider to make sure your mom is taking her doctor-prescribed meds on schedule every day.
Some interesting things that people use peppermint oil for. Usually it is applied as a drop or two of essential oil on the skin, or as a cream preparation. While there is no clear medical evidence that the oil is helpful, these are some common uses.
- Joint conditions
- Allergic rash
- Repelling mosquitos
There can also be side effects of using peppermint oil. It can cause heartburn or allergic reactions. Peppermint oil can have possible drug interactions with prescription medications. Before your mom uses peppermint oil she should consult her doctor to find out if this will be a problem with her current medications.
The peppermint plant thrives in Europe and North America. It is a hardy plant which grows like a weed. Some common uses are for peppermint tea, extracting the oil from the plant to put in dietary supplements, and using the flavorful oil in cooking, especially desserts.
The fresh leaves from the peppermint plant have vitamin A, calcium, iron, vitamin C, manganese and some fiber. They can be steeped for a cup of fresh peppermint tea or used in recipes.
Here’s what you need for a fresh cup of peppermint iced tea
2 cups filtered water
15 fresh mint leaves
1 tsp of sugar or honey, optional
2 lemon slices
- Bring the water to a rolling boil.
- Remove from heat and add the mint leaves.
- Steep for three to five minutes, depending on the desired strength.
- Add sweetener as desired.
- Pour over ice.
- Garnish with lemon slices.
- Serve iced in tall glasses
Alternatively, it can be served as a hot beverage without the ice.
Peppermint can be grown outdoors in the summer and brought indoors in a pot in the winter to enjoy for a few more months. Depending on how much light is available indoors, it may flourish until the following spring when it can be taken outside again.
A peppermint plant could be a fun project for your mom’s elderly home care provider to help her with.
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