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How to have a stress-free holiday

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Merry Christmas! I hope your holiday is everything you want it to be.

But…if this time of year has you feeling frazzled and stressed out instead of merry and bright, you’re not alone.

A recent survey found that Christmas is the 6th most stressful event of our lives — right behind divorce, moving, and starting a new job!

Mainstream doctors are quick to prescribe anti-anxiety medications.

But, their drugs have some serious downsides. They can leave you confused or disoriented. You feel exhausted, but are unable to sleep. And they severely impair your memory.1

You can use natural ways to ease anxiety that don’t cause nasty side effects. One of my favorites is perfect for this time of year — peppermint oil.

I massage a drop onto my temples when I feel anxiety coming on. Within minutes, I feel calmer and more focused.

But this essential oil does more than eliminate stress. It also:

  • Gets rid of a headache. A German study found that rubbing peppermint oil on the forehead reduced headache pain as effectively as taking 1,000 mg of acetaminophen…without any side effects and in only 15 minutes.2
  • Soothes an upset stomach. For centuries, our ancestors used peppermint to treat stomach issues. And new scientific research shows it’s powerful enough to even ease the pain of irritable bowel syndrome.

    In 2007, researchers found that IBS symptoms were significantly reduced among 75% of patients who took peppermint oil capsules for a month. Only 38% who took a placebo reported any relief.3 To take peppermint orally, mix a drop or two in a glass of water and drink.

  • Increases your energy. A recent study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition studied the effect of peppermint oil on sport performance.

    Researchers gave the participants .05 mL of peppermint oil in a drink every day for 10 days. By the end of the study, they were able to increase their energy output by 51%. They were also able to work out 25% longer without getting tired.4

  • Curbs cravings so you eat less. It’s so easy to indulge this time of year. And that’s not such a bad thing every now and then. But, if you’re looking to get a handle on your diet, now or in the new year, then simply smelling peppermint oil can reduce your urge to eat.

    In a 2011 study, volunteers were asked to smell peppermint oil every two hours. They reported not feeling as hungry as people who didn’t get a whiff, plus they ate 2,800 fewer calories throughout the week — or almost a pound!5

To de-stress and re-energize even more, try soaking in a tub using this peppermint oil bath-salt recipe.

The Epsom salts draw out toxins and impurities while the baking soda soothes your skin and balances your pH. The peppermint will invigorate and relax you at the same time.

It also makes a great gift:

Candy Cane Bath Salts

Tree Mountains
  • 2 cups Epsom salt
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 5-6 drops red food coloring gel
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint essential oil
  • Glass jar with lid

Pour the Epsom salt and baking soda into a glass bowl. Add the peppermint oil and stir. Pour half of the mixture into a second glass bowl. Add red food coloring 5 drops at a time to one bowl. Stir, but leave some larger bits so it looks like a crushed candy cane.

Pour each mixture on a baking sheet and air dry overnight. Alternating colors, pour into a glass jar so it looks like a candy cane.

P.S. Don’t worry about the food coloring staining your skin — it won’t.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

 Al Sears, MD, CNS


References:

1. Chowdhury Z et al. The Effect of Chronic Alprazolam Intake on Memory, Attention, and Psychomotor Performance in Healthy Human Male Volunteers. Behav Neurol. 2016; 2016: 3730940.
2. Göbel H, et al. Effectiveness of Oleum menthae piperitae and paracetamol in therapy of headache of the tension type. Nervenarzt. 1996 Aug;67(8):672-81.
3. Klinger B. Peppermint Oil. Am Fam Physician. 2007 Apr 1;75(7):1027-1030.
4. Meamarbashi A, et al. The effects of peppermint on exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013; 10:15.
5. Raudenbush B, et al. Effects of Peppermint Scent on Appetite Control and Caloric Intake. Accessed December 21, 2016.

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