The uses and properties of peppermint oil are extensive - it is known to be antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, antioxident, anti-fungal, and analgesic. It is also naturally uplifting, energizing and cooling and has been known to relieve indigestion, flatulence, bad breath, gingivitis, toothache, skin irritations, nausea, diarrhea, colds, respiratory issues, headaches, IBS and cramps. Our personal experience with this fabulous essential oil was after a particularly brutal run in Tucson Arizona. Found at a local farmers market, a few drops applied to the back of the neck was the most heavenly, and refreshingly cool tingle that we've experienced in a very long time.
James A. Crosby, better known as Peppermint Jim, is the fourth generation of Crosby mint farmers and artisan distillers who grew up on the Crosby Mint Farm in St. Johns, Michigan. The farm was established in 1912 by his great-grandfather, J.E. Crosby Sr., and is the oldest, continuously family operated mint farm in the United States. At that time, the oil was in high demand for the candy industry and our country was the world’s top producer of mint oils. By the 1930's and throughout the 1940's there were 60 mint distilleries in a 20 mile radius, and it was said that during harvest season in late July and August, one could see smoke circling from the mint steam distilleries, fueled by wood and coal, in all four directions and smell the sweet aroma for miles away.
Since those days, many things have changed. Most of those farms had to make way for highways, factories, shopping malls, (GMO) cash crops and housing. The mint oil industry is now controlled by corporate brokers who buy the oil from the farmers before reselling them to the cosmetic, confection and pharmaceutical industries. The essential oils are picked apart, each industry using different components, menthol and camphor being the most prominent. What is taken out of the oils, is often synthetically reproduced and added back into the “essential” oil before it is brought back onto the market as a “pure oil”. These oils have a very limited shelf life and can sometimes cause allergies or other adverse reactions. They have also, by then lost most of their therapeutic benefits.
At Peppermint Jim however, not a whole lot has changed in the last century. They still grow, harvest, distill and bottle. Their oils are true essential oils- not blended with alcohol or synthetics, and thus have a very long shelf life. The essential peppermint oil is the essence of the plant, gently extracted through steam distillation and with no use of chemicals.
For just some of the amazing uses of peppermint essential oil, check out the feature in our journal.