Peppermint, known botanically as Mentha pipperita, is a hybrid between watermint and spearmint, says Simon Mills in his book "The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism." It grows in all parts of the world and has smooth and often purple leaves and purple labiate flowers. It is widely used in soap making due to its aromatic and antimicrobial nature as well as its toning properties. It is also a drying herb and is not recommended for dry or flaky skin conditions.
According to acupuncturist David Crowe in his book "The Pharmacy of Flowers," peppermint essential oil added to skin soaps works as an antiseptic skin cleanser used to treat urticaria and pruritis. It also relives itchiness and irritation when used with moderation; otherwise, it may cause skin irritation. Peppermint soap acts as a refreshing skin tonic and cools down inflammation cause by skin blemishes and acne.
To make your own peppermint soap, make a peppermint infusion by steeping fresh leaves in 1 cup hot water for at least four hours, then strain. Add 3 oz. liquid castile soap and 60 drops peppermint essential oil. Shake well before each use. Keep away for the eyes and genital areas as it may irritate the skin.
Peppermint essential oil can be used to make laundry soap, and it works not only as an antiseptic agent, but also as a balancing, comforting and invigorating scent for the psyche, says Crowe. In his book "The Herbal Medicine-Makers Handbook," James Greene labels peppermint as a nervine, helping to relax the mind and promote restful sleep, making it especially beneficial as a laundry soap for bed sheets and pillow cases. Find laundry detergents that have peppermint essential oil as part of their ingredients at health food stores.
Dish Washing Soap
Dish-washing soap made with peppermint essential oil has strong antimicrobial properties, Green says. While using it, the aroma invigorates your lungs and facilitates breathing. If you cannot find a dish soap that contains peppermint, add 60 to 100 drops of peppermint essential oil to any neutral soap.
- "The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism"; Simon Y. Mills M.A., M.N.I.M.H.; 1988
- "The Pharmacy of Flowers"; David Crowe; 2005
- "The Herbal Medicine-Makers Handbook"; James Green; 2000
Ana Cassis began writing professionally in 1995. She has been published in the magazines "Cancunissimo," "Mesa Visions" and in online heath publications. Cassis is a nutrition counselor and herbalist with experience in fitness, nutrition and yoga. She holds an Associate of Arts in architecture from San Diego Mesa College.