Mint is most certainly the cool kid in the herb garden. The zingy green leaf and its essential oil are natural stars in everything from toothpaste to hot tea — and even that holiday candy or happy-hour mint julep. Peppermint oil also can pack a punch on the beauty scene. Lending its cooling, calming and energizing properties, the powerful herb delivers big benefits when infused into lotions, creams and scrubs for the legs and feet. Talk about a treat!
"Mint is a natural refrigerant," says Tori Hudson, a naturopathic physician and a professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Or. (See Reference 6). Oprah.com contributor Peggy Knickerbocker points out that menthol, a chemical compound in the plant, stimulates cold sensors and creates that chilling sensation (See Reference 4). To feel the chill, try Earth Therapeutics Tea Tree Oil Cooling Foot Scrub with mint extract, a reviving treatment for tired toes. Or check out Bliss's Foot Patrol exfoliating and softening cream with peppermint and aloe leaf.
Calming and Stimulating
Peppermint is a perpetually appropriate essential oil, and its benefits can be utilized throughout the day. As Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, a researcher and professor of psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University, explains, "The peppermint scent activates the area of our brain that puts us to sleep at night and wakes us up in the morning" (See Reference 1). So, mint-infused body lotions are a natural fit for legs and feet. They can be applied as a soothing treatment before bed, or as a stimulating kick-start to the day for soles slipping into a sky-high pair of stilettos. Avalon Organics Peppermint Hand & Body Lotion is a multipurpose option that also has anti-inflammatory aloe.
Herbalist Peeka Trenkle highlights peppermint as one of the longest-used herbs (See Reference 5). It can help cure lethargy and offer a mild pick-me-up (See Reference 5). Studies have suggested that the peppermint fragrance alone can improve alertness and memory (See Reference 3). So, give those tired feet a leg up with a rub-down of mint cream, such as Ole Henriksen's Body Comfort Lotion with peppermint oil, and give your brain a boost at the same time.
DIY Spa Treatments
Even with all the peppermint-packed lotions, perhaps you desire another jolt of invigorating mint benefits. For an at-home spa experience, put a few drops of peppermint oil into a foot bath to increase the tingle factor (See Reference 2). Soak for at least 10 minutes, then use a mixture of salt scrub and 2 drops of peppermint oil to exfoliate the feet and lower legs before rinsing (See Reference 2). Finish with a sweep of lotion that's been punched up even more with the addition of 1 or 2 drops of the oil, and find yourself — and your legs and feet — relaxed and rejuvenated (See Reference 2).
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Based in Dallas, Rachel Watkins has been writing luxury lifestyle-related articles since 2007. Her work has appeared in “Modern Luxury Dallas” magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from Southern Methodist University.