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Spearmint, Peppermint, Rosemary, and Sage

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spearmint

Spearmint is native all over Asia and Europe, it has also been introduced to other continents.The plant grows between 11-39 inches tall and like other true mints will spread as far and wide as its rhizomes will take it.Multiple hybrids involving spearmint exist, peppermint is a water mint cross, applemint is a villosa (mojito mint) cross, and ginger mint is a cross with gracilis species.The name spearmint refers to the pointed shape of the leaves. During the middle ages fresh cuttings would be spread on the floor before parties and feasts because the smell was preferred.It was also regularly used by common folk for medicine, it was even applied to rabies bites.Unlike peppermint, spearmint essential oil is not dominated by menthol making this oil much safer for young children.In aromatherapy spearmint essential oil is useful for spasms, digestion, and irregular menstruation when applied topically. When diffused it lifts the mood, helps headaches, and clears the sinuses.

Uses:

Diffused;

Headaches, migraines, nervous strain, fatigue, stress, asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, sinusitis

Topically;

Flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, relaxes stomach muscles, hiccups, acne, dermatitis, congested skin, sore gums, heavy periods

Cautions:

Pregnant women should avoid due to emmenagogue properties.

First aid:

If skin irritation has occurred apply cornstarch or similar to absorb excess.

If gotten in the eye rinse with clear water for 15 min, if irritation persists for more than 30 min seek professional help.

If a pregnant woman has been exposed monitor closely for signs of labour or miscarriage.

essential oil benefits
peppermint

The mint family is large and includes many more species than just true mint. Basil, lemon balm, and lavender are just a few examples. Peppermint may be the iconic mint in people’s minds but its not the original, technically it’s a hybrid between spearmint and water mint.Peppermint is native all over Europe and the Middle East, though it has been introduced all over the world. The plant grows between 12-35 inches tall and will spread as far and wide as it can manage.Due to it’s hybrid status it cannot produce viable seed and will only spread with it’s rhizomes. Peppermint prefers moist growing habitats like streams, and swampy areas.Commercially most mint is grown to produce peppermint oil, this essential oil is used mostly in peppermint flavoured candies such as mints and chewing gum, some obviously goes into essential oil bottles.Morroco produces a whopping 92% of the world’s supply of peppermint, Argentina produces 8%, Washington and Oregon produce the bulk of the USA’s supply.Peppermint oil is not safe for young children (see below), however this safety profile does not apply to the fresh or dried herb. Peppermint tea is an excellent remedy for an upset tummy in a child.In aromatherapy peppermint is useful topically for muscle aches, itching, and enhancing alertness. 

Uses:

Topical;

muscle and joint aches, fever.

Diffused;

flu, colds, allergies.

Cautions:

Do not use if pregnant as the emmenagogue properties increase risk of miscarriage.

The oil applied directly to the skin can cause painful blistering in some individuals.

DO NOT ALLOW DIRECT APPLICATION of the oil on infants. Due to the menthol constituent, topical use of peppermint oil around the facial or chest areas of infants and young children, especially around the nose, can induce apnea, laryngeal and bronchial spasm, acute respiratory distress with cyanosis, or respiratory arrest. TRANSLATION: They stop breathing.

First Aid:

If skin irritation has occurred apply cornstarch or similar to absorb excess.

If gotten in the eye rinse with clear water for 15 min, if irritation persists for more than 30 min seek professional help.

If a pregnant woman has been exposed monitor closely for signs of labour or miscarriage.

In the event of a young child or baby getting direct exposure call emergency services immediately.

Keep 1 or 2 fingers on the tongue to keep airway from swelling shut. Allow the child to swallow mucus as it collects and then re-insert fingers. Swelling should subside after the mucus membranes flush the oil out (approx 10 minutes for many children).

essential oil benefits
rosemary

Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region and like last week’s article also has “officinalis” in its name. Traders helped bring this plant to a much broader section of the world than just it’s native range.Rosemary is an evergreen shrub with aromatic leaves very similar to hemlock needles.The plant is very hardy, capable of growing in various environments and withstand extended periods of drought. Upright varieties of rosemary can reach heights of 5ft and sometimes higher.During the middle ages it was considered a love charm and would be worn during weddings to bring good luck to the happy couple. Rosemary is also one of the traditional ingredients in four thieves vinegar, which was said to ward off the plague.In aromatherapy the oil is used to improve memory, reduce headaches, and ease congestion.

Uses:

Topically;

headaches, migraines, neuralgia, mental fatigue, nervous exhaustion, antiseptic, congestion, puffiness, swelling, acne, dermatitis, eczema.

Diffused;

congestion, stress, mental exhaustion, colds and flus.

Cautions:

Pregnant women should avoid due to emmenagogue properties.

People with high blood pressure, ulcers, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis should avoid rosemary.

Possible drug interactions(essential oil);

Warfarin (Coumadin), Clopidogrel (Plavix), Aspirin, Captpril (Capoten), Elaropril (Vasotec), Lisinopril (Zestril), Fosinopril (Monopril), Furosemide (Lasix), Hydrocholorothiazide

Lithium — Because of its diuretic effects, rosemary might cause the body to lose too much water and the amount of lithium in the body to build up to toxic levels.

Diabetes — Rosemary may alter blood sugar levels and could interfere with any drugs taken to control diabetes.

First aid:

If skin irritation has occurred apply cornstarch or similar to absorb excess.

If gotten in the eye rinse with clear water for 15 min, if irritation persists for more than 30 min seek professional help.

If a pregnant woman has been exposed monitor closely for signs of labour or miscarriage.

essential oil benefits
sage

Your basic garden sage is native to the Mediterranean and has been spread worldwide through trade. The plant grows 2 feet tall and wide though various cultivars do deviate from this. The flowers of the most common cultivar are lilac coloured and for others can come in white, pink, or purple. Leaves come in green, cream, yellow, rose, purple, and variegated. Sage is used in many parts of Europe and in the Middle east, though French cuisine never made significant use of it. The medicinal qualities of sage have been long recognised, such that it was given the name “officinalis”. Any plant carrying “officinalis” in it’s name would have been included in a monastery’s apothecary which was called an Officina. Sage was and still is used in spiritual practices like smudging to clear out evil and negative energy in a space. In aromatherapy sage oil is good for it’s antimicrobial properties both topically and diffused. When diffused it helps get phlegm out of the lungs, encourage brain function, and reduces inflammation in the lungs.

Uses:

Diffused;

Grief, depression, increase memory

Topically;

Rheumatism, digestion, dermatitis, atonic wounds, sores, ulcers, insect bites, reducing large pores, stiff muscles, stimulating the lymphatic system, menopause

Cautions:

Do not use if pregnant.

Do not use if you suffer from epilepsy.

Do not use if you have high blood pressure.

Potentially toxic in high doses.

Oil is very potent use only at high dilution.

Do not use on children.

First aid:

If skin irritation has occurred apply cornstarch or similar to absorb excess.

If gotten in the eye rinse with clear water for 15 min, if irritation persists for more than 30 min seek professional help.

If a pregnant woman has been exposed monitor closely for signs of labour or miscarriage.

If an epileptic has been exposed monitor closely and seek medical attention immediately.


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