Peppermint Aromatherapy for Nausea

Peppermint Essential Oil For Nausea During Breast Cancer TreatmentBy: Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues.

One of the most common fears patients express when facing surgery is postoperative nausea and/or vomiting (PONV), which ranges from minor queasiness to protracted periods of vomiting. Feeling sick to ones stomach and throwing up after surgery is a common problem, affecting between a quarter and a half of those placed under general anesthesia, and more than half of those at high risk, meaning women who don’t smoke and have a history of motion sickness.

I’ve explored the science behind treating nausea with ginger, but if you’re too nauseous to eat, what do you do?
Well, people are often sent home with anti-nausea rectal suppositories, however surveys show that cultural and sexual attitudes may make a number of people sensitive to anything involving the rectum, but the wording of the question they asked was, are you happy to have a drug put in your back passage… And I can imagine many of the respondents thinking well, maybe I wouldn’t so much mind, but wouldn’t exactly be happy about it… especially when you’re feeling sick and throwing up.

And for women after a C-section, they might not want to take drugs regardless of the orifice if they’re breastfeeding, so researchers decided to put aromatherapy to the test.

Research has shown that essential oils of both spearmint and peppermint are effective in reducing nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy, but this was after taking them internally, swallowing them.

Would just the smell of peppermint help with nausea?
They had women take deep whiffs of peppermint extract, like you’d buy at a store, and it seemed to work. While none sniffing plain water with green food coloring—the placebo—or the control group who didn’t sniff anything felt better, 80% of the mint sniffers felt better within just a few minutes.

The study was criticized for being small, and for not using pure peppermint oil. Peppermint extract is peppermint oil plus alcohol—maybe it was the smell of alcohol that made people better! And that’s actually not much of a stretch. In 1997, researchers reported a simple, innocuous, and inexpensive treatment for postoperative nausea and vomiting—the smell of isopropyl alcohol, which is what’s found in those alcohol wipes, the little prep pads that nurses swab you with before shots.

They found out that they could just effectively tear one open and wave it under someone’s nose and relieve nausea and vomiting in more than 80% of folks after surgery. It’s been since shown to work as well as a leading anti-nausea drug, and may even work faster, cutting nausea in half within 10 to 15 minutes, rather than 20 or 25.

So was it the alcohol, the peppermint, or both?
We didn’t know, until it was put to the test. Patients were instructed to take three slow, deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, smelling alcohol, peppermint, or nothing. The smell of peppermint cut nausea in half within 5 minutes. And so did the alcohol. But so did smelling nothing.

So maybe it had nothing to do with the scent; maybe it was just the instruction to take slow deep breaths. That would make it a really cost-effective intervention. Maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising, given the proximity of the vomiting and breathing centers within the brain.

And indeed controlled breathing was effective with or without any scent. So next time you feel nauseous, inhale deeply through your nose to the count of three, hold your breath to the count of three, and exhale out the mouth to the count of three. And do that three times.

Ironically the researchers continued to advocate using that nasty smelling alcohol pad even though they showed it wasn’t any more effective than breathing alone.

Why? Because since isopropyl alcohol has a readily detectable odor, patients are more likely to think that their post-operation nausea and vomiting is being actively treated when they inhale alcohol vapors rather than just engaging in breathing exercises.

Doctor’s Note

What do you think of them still using the alcohol pads even though they were shown to offer no additional benefit? I have a whole video on such questions: The Lie That Heals: Should Doctors Give Placebos?

Here’s a link to my Natural Nausea Remedy Recipe. Powdered ginger may be easier though (see Dangerous Advice From Health Food Store Employees).

More on aromatherapy here:

What about actually eating the peppermint? See:

Of course the best way to avoid postsurgical nausea is to try to avoid surgery in the first place. Those that eat healthy may be less likely to go under the knife. See Say No to Drugs by Saying Yes to More Plants.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

Michael Greger M.D.About Michael Greger M.D.
Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

How To Use Lavender & Peppermint Essential Oils

Breast Cancer Essential OilsBy: Cynthia Shankman, Young Living Oil Consultant

When using essential oils during chemotherapy or radiation, it is a best practice to use them as inhalation therapy.
In my first blog post I discussed where essential oils come from; the place essential oils hold in history dating back to early Egyptian times; and the different grades of essential oils.  To clear up any confusion, the term aromatherapy is the use of essential oils.

The essential oils I use exclusively are Young Living Oils.  I use this brand exclusively because they have been registered as safe for internal use as supplements by the USDA.  Now I am not a girl who believes everything the USDA says, (I am very much an alternative health girl), but because there is zero regulation on the production and distilling of essential oils, I take the USDA approval as a vote of confidence in the purity of these oils.

Labels on essential oils in grocery stores and health food stores will often say, ‘do not place on skin’ or ‘for aroma only’ or ‘do not ingest.’  This is not the case with Young Living Oils.  The quality of Young Living Oils have a proven 20 year history of being used topically and internally with great success.  I would never suggest using an oil of inferior quality as a therapeutic health alternative.

When using essential oils during chemotherapy or radiation, it is a best practice to use them as inhalation therapy only on those days.  Each individual has a unique situation, a unique body, a unique plan for wellness.  What you read here is a general recommendation.  Please check with your doctor when using alternative modalities.

Today we discuss 3 therapeutic grade Young Living essential oils and how to use them.

  • Lavender for calming and natural mood therapy
  • Peppermint for nausea and stomach upset
  • Aroma Life for lymphatic health, circulation, reduce stress, hemorrhoids, may reduce blood pressure.

Lavender Essential Oil For Breast Cancer
Lavender is a universal oil and the most widely used of all essential oils. It has a traditional history for calming and balancing the mind and body.  Just a short inhale of Lavender can turn emotions to calm and peaceful.

How will Lavender help me?
Support confidence and good thoughts. Improve brain clarity and dispel brain fog.
Ease anxiety, exhaustion, and nervousness.  Improve sleep and mood.  Stop allergic reactions.

How do I use Lavender?
Topical: Place 1 – 2 drops on wrists, back of neck, temples, massage on soles of feet, place over heart.
Diffuse:  Diffuse using a cold mist diffuser so that all healing components are kept in integrity.  Diffuse next to bed at night for a calm and peaceful sleep.  Before getting into bed, place a few drops into your palms, rub your hands together and apply over pillow for a peaceful sleep.  Place 2 drops in hand, rub together, place over nose and inhale consistently for 20 seconds.
Internal: Place 1 drop into tea as a flavoring to replace sugar.  (Do not use oils internally during medical treatments such as chemo or radiation.)

Peppermint is the second most widely used essential oil.  It has multiple uses and supports the body on every level, mental, emotional and physical.  Just a short inhale of Peppermint will invigorate and uplift the mood and mind.

How do I use Peppermint?
Topical:  Place 2 drops on forehead and back of neck to relieve a headache in minutes.  Place 2 drops on stomach to improve a stomach ache and improve digestion. Place 2 drops on an ache or pain to ease pain within minutes.
Diffuse:  To dispel nausea, dispel brain fog and invigorate mood, place 2 drops in hand, rub hands together, then cup over nose, inhale for 20 seconds.  Repeat as often as needed.  You cannot overdo essential oils. Do this every 5 minutes if needed. Diffuse using a cold mist diffuser so all healing components are kept in integrity.
Internal:  For quick stomach ache relief, place 2 drops Peppermint in ½ cup of water, and drink down.  Can place 1 drop Peppermint oil in tea to replace sugar.  (Do not use oils internally during medical treatments such as chemo or radiation.)

Aroma Life is a blend of essential oils exclusive to Young Living.  When essential oils are blended together, the components equal more than their individual qualities alone.  Aroma Life is a blend of Cypress, Marjoram, Helichrysum, Ylang Ylang.

How do I use Aroma Life?
Topically:  To improve the lymphatic and circulatory systems place 2 drops over lymphatic areas such as side of neck/chest, upper arms, behind knees, groin area. Place 2 drops over heart to improve circulation and reduce stress. Place 2 drops in palm with ¼ tsp coconut or olive oil, apply directly to hemorrhoid.  Apply 1 drop to under the left ring finger or left ring toe to ease anxiety and improve circulation.  Can add 1 drop of grapefruit or orange oil to improve circulation and lymphatic flow even further.
Diffuse:  Diffuse using a cold mist diffuser so that all healing components are kept in integrity.  Diffuse to improve lung circulation.  Diffuse next to bed at night for a calm and peaceful sleep.
Internal:  No internal use for Aroma Life

I hope you have enjoyed reading about these beautiful essential oils.  I view them as gifts from nature that help me at ever juncture of my life.  They are truly a gift to the senses and the body.  In my next post we will discuss two more beautiful and healing oils:  Frankincense and Joy Oil.

If you have questions or comments, please use the space below and I will respond to you.

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Call or text me @ 631-241-1496

Blessings, Love, and Oils,

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