The Pleasant Minty Aroma of Peppermint Oil for Brain Boosting & Top Reads for August 2016
The passing of Labor Day has just occurred in the United States; it is the official end of the summer! It’s time for my list of interesting articles and blogs for August 2016, as well as a little reflection and feedback from this previous month.
Throughout August, I examined the unique health and physiological associations that are connected to our sense of smell, including how it is linked to longevity, appetite, taste, and weight. Furthermore, I explored how the volatile compounds found within shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, resins, and seeds provided all the benefits of aromas and more. Specifically, essential oils, which are secondary metabolites of plants, are vital for its survival. Due to the fact that they are compatible with human biochemistry, they play an important part in our own immune defense, physical health, and emotional well-being. Furthermore, when diffused into the air, they provide protection from microbes and mold. A recent study also found that certain essential oils may protect our lung cells from pollution. No perfume or odor that I am aware of can do what essential oils can!
Due to all the benefits of essential oils for prevention against health imbalances and promotion of wellness, they are perfect additions to your natural toolkit. Therefore, they serve as an appropriate topic for winding up August updates.
The Smell of a Focused Back to School Brain
Previously I discussed that various essential oils can be helpful for immune support and boosting the brain. Recently, I came across an article on Green Med Info that sparked my attention and provided further evidence of their aromatic power in these areas. In it, the author discussed the impact of odor on memory, the biochemistry of certain active volatile plant compounds for assisting the mind, and essential oils role in other wellness areas. I highly suggest you read this piece, as it is a concise summary of all the powers of one of my favorite essential oils-peppermint!
Ode to Peppermint
Ahh…the smell of peppermint. This enticing aroma became my signature scent as a human essential oils diffusor throughout my studies in naturopathic medicine school. I’ve continued to use peppermint oil throughout the years for focus. My favorite use is sniffing it right from the bottle (I’m used to the strange glances in public) and drinking a drop in my water every now and again. Most recently, it was my go-to essential oil for staying on task and not being overwhelmed with a move (and a simultaneous computer malfunction!).
Peppermint essential oil, and the herb itself, has a lot of research in its efficacy for a variety of conditions, probably with the most famous being supporting digestion. There’s so much versatility in peppermint essential oil! Just click here and see how many times I’ve mentioned it regarding various topics. You can also get a feel for its uses by viewing the four main articles on peppermint on my essential oils database here.
As noted in the Green Med Info article referenced above, researchers at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Nottingham recently validated again the brain supporting role of peppermint aroma. They reported that peppermint tea “can improve long-term and working memory in healthy adults.” Interesting, this contrasted chamomile tea which, though found to be relaxing, tended to trump memory and focus. This is no surprise. Essential oils impact nervous system tone and have been shown to modify brain activity differently, acting as nervous system stimulants or relaxers. For example, rosemary and peppermint may be stimulating; whereas, ylang ylang and lavender may be relaxing.
The trick is using the appropriate one at the right time. Furthermore, essential oils effect is more far-reaching than aromas alone. Although generalizations can be made, it’s important to remember that the secondary constituent’s will work with one person’s biochemistry a little differently than someone else’s. I know someone who can fall asleep right after sniffing their peppermint oil!( Well, we all got SNPs, right?)
Importantly, peppermint may not only enhance memory, but it’s aroma may also decrease errors at tasks and ease head tension that may build up from stress. Most people can enjoy a drop of peppermint in their water (16oz or so). You may even want to cook with it for the aromatic, health, and taste benefits. In fact, I just sent a recent e-blast on cooking with essential oils to my oil subscribers. I had several requests for re-sending it, so I decided to re-post it here.
Here’s to a pleasant (smelling) start to everyone’s fall.
Now, the headlines in health, nutrition, and medication from the top sources of integrative, functional, naturopathic, and conventional medicine.
A New Format for:
August 2016 Top Holistic and Integrative Health Reads
Click here to download the PDF and active links for this month’s Top Reads!