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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Peppermint Oil - For Itching

Even better than calendula gel!

A couple of days ago I wrote about calendula gel and how wonderful it is for itching. It is, and I meant every word I said. However, the night I posted that, I had a unusually severe attack of itching.

It started when I ignored the usual persistent itch for two hours. I just kept on working and trying to ignore it. Then when I took a break and went to apply the calendula gel, I though maybe I'd try something else, maybe it was dry and needed moisturizing. Maybe a healing moisturizer would work longer, better, treat an underlying cause. Wrong!

I ended up itching more, scratching like a crazed dog, and then applying the calendula gel, which did little at that point, especially on top of the other stuff I'd put on. So I grabbed my favorite aromatherapy book, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, and looked up remedies for itching skin.

I had on hand two of the remedies recommended, and one, peppermint, struck me as the one to try first. I knew it also had a cooling, analgesic effect, from using it on back, shoulder, and neck pain. I just put a drop on my fingertip and rubbed it on the itchy spot. And washed my finger well afterwards, not wanting to rub it in my eye or other sensitive area later.

Aooga! The itching soon subsided, and didn't come back for about twice as long as when I use calendula gel for these itchy spots. Furthermore, when the itching returned, it wasn't as intense as usual, AND if I scratch it lightly, it doesn't get worse! (It doesn't go away either, just from scratching, but it is nice to be able to scratch an itch... just a little... now and then.)

So now I'm offering you two choices for itching:
1) calendula gel (odorless, colorless, non-greasy) and
2) peppermint oil (you'll smell like a peppermint patty!, colorless, oil-based).

Personally, I usually use Aura Cacia essential oils. There are less expensive essential oils, but they don't always smell as nice. Some health food stores have sample bottles so you can sniff before you buy. However, what I found in my medicine cabinet was peppermint oil by NOW, a less expensive brand, that smells OK and costs less. And, as I said, it worked wonders for the itch.

The only caution I know of for this product is if you find it irritates your skin, discontinue use or dilute in a carrier oil, such as almond oil (Almond peppermints, anyone?) And of course, only use as directed.

The peppermint oils I have used (Aura Cacia, NOW) can be used as flavoring, too, but check the label before using to be sure!

Order peppermint essential oil at


Dhvanika said...

For really itchy skin, I use regular salt as a scrub with just a trace of water. This helps to itch the skin without itching too deeply. It burns as soon as I go too deep. I wash it off as soon as I'm done with the salt. Sometimes I combine this solution with mint soap.

I also like is using Dr. Bronner's peppermint liquid soap from Trader Joe's. I use a foaming soap bottle as my dispenser. I use a ratio of anywhere from 20-50% liquid soap and 80-50% water. There must be some water in the bottle so that the pump in the foaming bottle can form bubbles.

I've been using Dr. Bronner's body balm (patchouli lime) to help heal and smooth out skin. The oils in the balm penetrate well. I might try orange lavender or peppermint body balm next. I'm not sure if lime or patchouli have any healing qualities for itching or eczema.

Thanks for your post.

Shelly said...

Thank you for this post! My son was itching terribly from an unexpected reaction to some new soap, and I googled "essential oils for itching" and here you were, like a beacon. He is feeling much better now, though he is really really cold, as the itching was all over his entire body.

Randi said...

Well, I suppose it's preferable to feel all cool like a York Peppermint Pattie than to be all itchy, but if he needs relief without the coolness, an oatmeal bath might help! It's recommended for children with chicken pox, which is awfully itchy! (

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