Peppermint – An Aphrodisiac for Women
Aromas constitute one of the most significant aspects of aphrodisiacs and they work in several ways to enhance sexual desire among humans. They may do so by stimulating the senses, by lowering sexual inhibitions and by creating an atmosphere conducive to sexual delight. Among all the aromas, peppermint has a long history of being used to awaken sexual desire, particularly among women.
Botanically known as Mentha piperita, this is an aromatic plant of the Lamiaceae family. The plant is actually a hybrid cross between the watermint and spearmint and is native to Europe. But today, it grows wild throughout North America and Australia and is in fact one of the few essential oil plants found widely in the United States where the growing conditions in Michigan and central Oregan are ideal for high production.
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How peppermint works as an aphrodisiac
The key to peppermint’s reputation as an aphrodisiac lies in its powerful stimulant properties. The main active ingredient in peppermint is menthol – up to 70% - which is a kind of alcohol and produces the cooling sensation so typical of the herb. The other main component is an ester known as methyl acetate which is responsible for the characteristic odor of peppermint. Among other ingredients in the herb are menthone, limonene, pulegone, cineol and azulene. The combined effect of all these compounds is to increase concentration and alertness, thus making the mind more aware of agents of sexual arousal. The scent also acts to stimulate the physical senses and if applied on the skin produces a cooling and exciting sensation which makes the erogenous zones in women more receptive to sexual pleasure.
Yet another way in which peppermint acts to arouse desire is by its characteristic aroma. Peppermint has a powerful, minty-fresh and camphoreous scent which energizes the senses of smell and taste and opens the mind to take delight in a sexual experience. According to traditional sources, inhaling peppermint scent can activate the imagination and bring about erotic dreams among women. And since it is the brain which holds the remote control of all sex hormones, anything that stimulates the mind to feel erotic is bound to arouse sexual desire in women and lead to intense orgasms.
Despite the initial cooling sensation on use of peppermint, it actually has a warming effect on the blood. This dilates the blood vessels and aids the supply of oxygen-rich blood to various organs including the vagina among women. Higher oxygen and blood supply makes it easier to be sexually aroused and achieve intense orgasms. The same effect of peppermint has also been used to relax the muscles why is why it acts as a powerful anti-spasmodic.
Moreover peppermint contains various nutrients which are essential for sexual health. Two of the most important vitamins present in the herb are Vitamins A and C both of which are well-known antioxidants and are crucial for boosting immunity as well as maintaining physical vitality. Besides these, peppermint contains components like manganese, iron, calcium, folate, potassium, tryptophan, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, riboflavin and copper which are all useful for a healthy sex life.
Peppermint scent is also a powerful analgesic. While it had been used to relieve pain for centuries, this medicinal property received scientific recognition in 1879 after the British Medical Journal noted that menthol, the principal active ingredient in peppermint, was effective in treating headaches and nerve pain. Besides these, peppermint is used in the treatment of indigestion, congestion in the respiratory tract and even in ointment to relieve itching caused by ringworm, herpes simplex, scabies and poison oak. While none of these medicinal uses of peppermint are directly related to the sexual arousal among women, the very fact that it helps to keep the body healthy means that it is ultimately useful for a healthy sexual experience.
The single biggest use of the herb is in the steam distillation of its essential oil which produces peppermint essential oil. Most of this oil is again redistilled to make a lighter mint flavor for confectionaries and personal care products. Other than this peppermint can also be used to make a herbal tea which has been long reputed to act as a digestive and aphrodisiac. For this, 8 ounces of boiling water are poured over two teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves which is allowed to steep for fifteen to twenty minutes. After straining, the infusion is ready to drink. Besides these, peppermint oil is also available in the form of capsules for which the usual dosage is three per day to treat digestion problems. For skin conditions, 1-10 drops of essential oil can be applied on the affected area. Again to clear lung congestion, add 2-3 drops to a bowl of hot water and then inhale the steam.
Peppermint is the most widely used of all aromatic essential oils and is listed in a large variety of edible and non-edible products. The essential oil is used for aromatherapy products and in herbal preparations. The lighter oil is used to flavor beverages, ice cream, sauces and jellies, liqueurs, gums and a variety of desserts. Among the non-edible products which use peppermint for flavor and aroma are medicines, dental preparations, cleaners, cosmetics and even tobacco blends.
Precautions necessary while using peppermint
Peppermint is generally recognized as safe and can even be used by pregnant women for relief from morning sickness. However using too much of the oil or in the undiluted form can lead to a burning sensation or rashes on the skin. Side effects of internal use may include stomach upset and headaches. People suffering from hiatal hernia or GERD, gallbladder inflammation or obstruction and advanced liver disease should avoid use of peppermint. Nursing mothers should also exercise caution since peppermint has been known to reduce milk production.
Peppermint was known as an aphrodisiac since the time of ancient Greeks when the physician Galen advocated its use to arouse desire among women. Since then, modern science has found several therapeutic benefits of peppermint. And though there is no medical confirmation of its aphrodisiacal properties, it is widely agreed that peppermint is a potent stimulant for both the mind and body.