I was so excited when I was sent this article by a friend recently. The Brisbane Broncos were caught using their secret weapon which was…….peppermint oil!! Read more here:
I suffered with chronic fatigue a few years ago and one of my lingering symptoms was shortness of breath, during and post exercise. Sometimes the shortness of breath would last hours after a run. As I am a keen runner I was devastated. My doctor thought I had asthma and put me on an inhaler. At first I thought that it was helping (hello placebo effect) but after a while I realised it had no impact whatsoever. I referred myself to a sports doctor who specialised in asthma and had helped Olympic Athletes at the Beijing Olympics because of the air quality. If anyone could help me, she could surely? All respiratory tests showed that I had no signs of asthma at all and eventually the sports doctor said my body was exhausted and needed to heal. She wrote a training program for me that involved going back to basics. Frustrating? Yes! Necessary ? Yes!
During this time I also went along to an essential oil workshop and was introduced to the dōTERRA blend called Easy Air which contains many amazing essential oils including peppermint. Wow, what a powerful oil. I could really feel the difference using this oil. I used to inhale the oil before my runs and also put some on my wrists so that I could inhale some en-route! The difference was amazing. My airways started to open up and I didn’t feel so restricted, either during the run or for hours after.
However this isn’t just woo-woo hippy stuff. I’m a scientist and I love the research that shows that peppermint essential oil can actually help sports performance. A 2013 article in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine showed that taking peppermint oil daily for 10 days increased work and power output and decreased time to exhaustion. There was also increased respiratory efficiency. This is because peppermint oil opens airways. It is well known for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, antioxidant and vasoconstrictor properties as reported in this study.
Another article in a 2001 Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology showed that ‘Peppermint odour can enhance not only the psychological aspects of sports performance but actual physiological performance too’. Participants that had two drops of peppermint oil placed under their nose were able to do more push ups, run faster and had stronger grip strength than the control group.
So if it’s good enough for the Brisbane Broncos rugby team, why not give it a go next time you’re working out?
Please note one drop of peppermint oil is equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea and research has also shown that too much peppermint can result in a decreased libido-so beware!
Please ensure that you choose an essential oil that is 100% pure. Do your research and be mindful of what is written on the label. I choose to use dōTERRA essential oils and many of the oils are now part of my pre and post workout preparation.