What is Peppermint Essential Oil?
Peppermint essential oil is a compound derived from the Mentha x Piperita plant, which is obtained through steam distillation of its leaves and flowers.
There are many different species of mint. When higher menthol content is required in the oil, Mentha Arvensis is used. Mentha Piperita, on the other hand, is much sweeter and also the most used to produce the essential oil.
This oil, unlike others, has been widely studied by science, since it contains numerous beneficial properties for both, health and aesthetics.
Its fresh, menthol and cool aroma is strong and very characteristic. Regarding its tonality, it is colorless when freshly extracted and over time, it can turn greenish, light yellow or reddish.
Peppermint essential oil blends well with basil, eucalyptus, geranium, grapefruit, juniper, lavender, lemon, myrrh, marjoram, laurel, spearmint, niaouli, ravintsara, clary sage, fennel, thyme, coriander seed, tarragon, pine, rosemary, tea tree and wintergreen essential oils.
Peppermint Essential Oil in the History
The history of this oil is extensive, since peppermint oil is one of the oldest oils applied for medicinal use.
In 1550 BC, peppermint oil appears mentioned in the papyrus Ebers, a collection of medicinal recipes of the time.
Also, Egyptians used this plant in the preparation of numerous medicines, mainly to counteract stomach pains and, although it has not yet been possible to know what was the relationship of this herb with death, it has been found in numerous tombs of this country.
For its part, Japan has been using it for more than 2000 years. In Greece, Hippocrates spoke of it as a strong aphrodisiac, and Plinio praised its analgesic power and recommended using a crown of mint to increase mental performance.
Greek mythology has a page dedicated to this herb, represented in a nymph. The mighty god Pluto had betrothed Persephone as the master and lord of the Avernus. But the god fell madly in love with the beautiful Mentha and his wife, maddened by jealousy, trampled poor Mentha until she crushed her.
With the desire to save her, Pluto then turned her into grass. Since then, mint has been present in the most exuberant banquets of both Greeks and Romans, to combat discomfort caused by excesses of food, as well as headaches and dizziness.
Chemical components of Peppermint Essential Oil
The main constituents of Peppermint oil are: menthol (30-60%) and menthone (14-32%). Further components are: methyl acetate, 1,8 cineole, limonene, ⍺-pinene, β-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, p-cymene, ⍺-terpinene, β-caryophyllene, linalool, carvone, piperitone, isomenthone and trans-anethole, among others.
Properties of Peppermint Essential Oil
Among the numerous properties of peppermint oil we can highlight the following:
Uses of Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil has several minerals, vitamins and nutrients in its composition, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, copper, folate, various fatty acids such as omega-3, and vitamins from the complex C and A. Thanks to all these components together with the natural properties of the plant, peppermint essential oil can benefit the body in the following aspects when used constantly:
- Control and reduction of skin fat, avoiding acne and cellulite problems
- Helps in the treatment of varicose veins, since it improves circulation
- Avoids fluid retention
- Decongests the body, especially the respiratory system
- It has a refreshing effect for skin, hair, mouth, etc.
- Eliminates bad odors
- Relieves digestive discomfort
- Act as a natural analgesic
- Relieves burns and inflammations
- Controls fever
- Relieves headache and migraines
- Reduces muscle and joint pain
- Serves to relieve insect bites
- Stimulates nervous system
- Relieves premenstrual problems
Peppermint essential oil is also used in other areas, such as:
Cosmetic and Pharmaceutic
In the manufacturing industry peppermint oil is used as a fragrance for soaps and cosmetics. In addition, it is widely used as a flavoring agent in pharmaceutical products.
Aromatherapy and Massages
Numerous are the benefits that peppermint essential oil, exerts on the physical and mental body, (especially on the mental one) when it is applied in aromatherapy. Due to its relationship with the element Air and Yang qualities, it is appropriate to recover strength and combat fatigue. Also, with its fresh and comforting aroma, calms and relieves all kinds of mental and physical ailments.
Regarding its use for massages, peppermint oil is one of the few oils that can be used over the whole body, (with the exception of eyes area and mucous membranes). For that reason, it is highly used in aromatherapy massages.
In skin care it is used as a depurative, but at the same time it helps to retain moisture, preventing its premature aging. It is also used in massage for specific areas to obtain a relaxing effect.
Benefits of Pepermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is one of the most useful and required oils. In addition to its incredible properties, mint has a wide variety of therapeutic benefits. It has been used extensively since ancient times in Western and Eastern medicine to treat indigestion, diarrhea, headaches, tired feet, toothaches, cramps, etc.
On the other hand, this oil also provides relaxing effects that help us to clear the mind. Experts say that encourages creativity, therefore, aromatic therapies with peppermint oil are so recommended to people suffering from stress.
Below you will find some of its most known benefits:
Relieves respiratory conditions and colds
Peppermint oil is beneficial to treat common cold, cough, throat inflammation, sinus infection and respiratory infections such as tonsillitis, bronchitis, asthma, etc.
Benefits for the mind and central nervous system
Helps to fight nervousness, depression, anxiety, stress and other symptoms that derive from the nervous system such as headaches, migraines, vertigo or dizziness.
Peppermint aroma helps clear the mind and stimulates memory and concentration. It is a mental tonic recommended for situations of high intellectual demand. It is ideal to spread in work or study environments, thus favoring concentration, coordination, imagination and creativity.
The Japanese pulverize peppermint oil into the environment inside the factories, since it has been proven that this improves the workers production.
Also, peppermint oil is especially useful in situations of overloading responsibilities, or when negative energies surround us producing lack of clarity and regret.
Because of its ability to oxygenate the brain, this oil harmonizes the functioning of both hemispheres.
Besides, it helps us find solutions easily for everyday problems and tasks.
Additionally, a few drops applied to the forehead or temples, relieve tiredness and mental exhaustion, helping to recover energies and lucidity.
For that same property, it is very suitable for nervous discomfort caused by travel (dizziness, headaches, vomiting, etc.).
Irritable bowel syndrome treatment
Peppermint oil is under preliminary research for its potential as a short-term treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and has supposed uses in traditional medicine for minor ailments.
Remediates digestive system ailments
It is also used for digestion problems that include heartburn, vomiting, morning sickness, indigestion, upper gastrointestinal tract and bile duct pains, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, gas and flatulence, dizziness; and exaggerated bacterial growth in the small intestine.
Peppermint oil can be applied by massaging the abdomen in order to relieve burning, flatulence or stomach pain, even diarrhea.
However, and in spite of its multiple qualities, peppermint oil should not be used for prolonged periods as it could produce irritations or simply, the opposite effect to the expected one.
Eliminates bad breath
Thanks to its antiseptic power, this oil can eliminate bad breath. Because of this, peppermint essential oil is a fundamental ingredient of many dentifrices and mouth rinses. Besides helping to eliminate bacteria that cause bad breath, it also fights other infections such as cavities and gingivitis.
Benefits for hair
Peppermint essential oil is highly beneficial for the hair, since it contains antiseptic, regenerating and stimulating properties. Thanks to this, we can eliminate dandruff and lice problems. In addition, it provides a soothing effect to the scalp, avoiding dryness and irritation; while at the same time stimulating its growth, strength, shine and silkiness.
This oil is included in various commercial cosmetic products, but we can also use it on our own. Adding a couple of drops to our usual shampoo or applying the oil directly to the scalp (previously diluted in a carrier oil such as jojoba oil, argan oil, olive oil, avocado oil, almond oil or coconut oil). Then, perform a gentle massage and let stand for 5 minutes before washing.
Benefits for the skin
According to several studies, it is certain that peppermint oil has antiviral agents, so it can be a treatment against infections such as herpes or skin breakouts. In addition, it is ideal for the care of skin conditions such as dermatitis, itching, acne, etc.
Besides, its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties make it a useful disinfectant on wounds and insect bites.
This oil can be blended with many others, in this way its effects and properties can be enhanced, so that the product can be used in more treatments.
The most used oils to blend with peppermint oil are rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus, which contribute to its therapeutic purposes in the skin and also aromatically.
On the other hand, due to its high menthol content, peppermint essential oil serves to refresh the skin and is effective when added to invigorating skin products, such as foot creams and after sun lotions. Also, peppermint oil and leaves have a cooling effect when used topically for muscle pain, nerve pain, relief from itching, or as a fragrance.
Relieves all types of pain
Peppermint essential oil, thanks to its analgesic properties, helps relieve headaches, muscle aches, pain caused by arthritis or other joint problems, nerve pain and toothaches, among others. Some people also use peppermint oil for menstrual problems, liver and gall bladder discomfort.
Incredible benefits when added to a relaxing bath
It can be added to the bath to tone and stimulate the skin, but do not use more than a couple of drops, otherwise the skin would feel cold even the hottest water.
A few drops in an immersion bath will eliminate fatigue after a day of exhausting work.
Peppermint essential oil, by stimulating the drainage of the lymphatic system, expels toxins and sick cells from the body. In addition, it improves blood circulation and exercises a relaxing effect in the musculature. On the other hand, promotes the functioning of the spleen, making it receive more irrigation and increase the generation of white blood cells, which are responsible for the defense of the body.
Comfort sensation is almost immediate, because by increasing blood and lymphatic circulation at the same time, it soothes swollen feet and ankles. In addition, it provides a wonderful feeling of freshness, the same that is perceived through its aroma.
Moreover, its usefulness in edemas of all kinds, as well as muscular bumps and pains, make peppermint oil, a powerful ally for any emergency kit.
How to apply Peppermint Essential Oil?
Some of its most frequent easy applications are:
- To treat fatigue and mental exhaustion, use 2-3 drops in a diffuser to enjoy its benefits.
- For asthma, bronchitis, cough and nasal congestion, use 2-3 drops in a vapor inhalation. It can also be used in a diffuser.
- For bad breath and mouth or gum infections, use as a rinse.
- To relieve colds and flu discomfort, use 2-3 drops in a diffuser.
- For cramps, tired feet, back and muscle pain, intestinal disorders (inflammation, constipation, flatulence), headaches, mental exhaustion, rheumatism and arthritis, use 3-4 drops of peppermint oil blended with 1 ounce of carrier oil and massage in the body or in the affected areas.
- For digestive problems and flatulence, mix 2-3 drops of peppermint oil in a carrier oil and massage the back. It can also be used in a compress.
- For fainting or dizziness, use 2-3 drops on a handkerchief and inhale periodically. It can also be used in a diffuser.
- To treat fever, use 2-3 drops on a cold compress.
- For headaches and migraine, use 2-3 drops in a diffuser.
- To combat nausea, use 2-3 drops in a diffuser. You can also place a couple of drops on a handkerchief and inhale periodically.
- To treat sunburn, add 2-3 drops in 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel. Apply to the affected area. You can also use a cold compress or a carrier oil such as rosehip, apricot kernel or jojoba oil, among others.
- To relieve dizziness, use 2-3 drops on a handkerchief and inhale when necessary.
Warnings and Side Effects when using Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil is possibly safe when taken in medicinal quantities or when applied to the skin. However, due to its high menthol content, peppermint oil is an irritant and its application in skins of babies or children under two years old is not recommended.
People with delicate or sensitive skin should also avoid its use. Generally, oily skin has better tolerance to this oil.
Special warnings and precautions
It is likely safe to ingest peppermint oil during pregnancy and breastfeeding, just if it is taken in the amounts that is normally found in foods. However, not enough is known about the safety of taking larger quantities, like those used as medicine. For this reason it is best to avoid its consumption in stages of pregnancy and breastfeeding.
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Peppermint oil should not be used postpartum because it reduces milk production.
When it comes to diabetes patients, the use of peppermint oil can cause a very low glucose level or hypoglycemia.
High oral doses of peppermint oil (500 mg) can cause mucosal irritation and mimic heartburn and reflux. This is reduced when using time-release enteric-coated capsules.
Avoid undiluted application to open wounds and sensitive skin.
Peppermint essential oil is contraindicated for individuals with achlorhydria (absence of free hydrochloric acid in gastric juice), obstruction of bile ducts, gallbladder inflammation, or severe liver damage.
Those who suffer from gallbladder conditions, may experience inflammation in the area, so they should consult a doctor beforehand about the use of this oil.
Peppermint essential oils is contraindicated via any route for infants. Avoid application on or near the face with small children due to risk of respiratory spasm (spasms of the tongue) and respiratory arrest.
Therefore it can not be applied topically or orally, as it would cause burning in the mouth, inflammation, and on the skin, could cause allergic reactions and irritation.
On the other hand, if peppermint oil is accidentally inhaled by the baby, it can cause damage to the respiratory system.
Maximum recommended adult daily oral dose: 6-12 drops a day divided into 2-3 doses throughout day.
Where to buy Peppermint Essential Oil?
Usually, good quality oils, that is, 100% pure and not mixed with other substances, can be found in specialized natural herb stores.
If you can not reach a trusted naturist or herbalist shop near you, here are some recommendations:
Scent Characteristics:Fresh, minty, slightly herbaceous and reminiscent of peppermint candies, but more concentrated.
Our 100% Pure Essential Oils are extracted from the root, bark, wood, seed, fruit, leaf, or flower of a freshly harvested plant.
We source only the finest quality essential oils from highly regarded suppliers and distillers from around the world, many with whom we’ve worked with for decades.
Many of our oils are steam-distilled or cold-pressed, therefore retaining the essential odor, aroma, taste, medicinal, and therapeutic properties of the plant, resulting in a superior quality, and highly concentrated essence. Shop here.
The following are also good quality essential oils that you can find on Amazon:
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Tips for a better performance and duration of your oils:
- Store them in a dark glass bottle, never plastic, not even when blended with a carrier oil.
- Keep them in cool, dark places, away from sources of heat and light.
- Maintain the container that holds it tightly closed, since they are very volatile and also, their properties would be lost or modified.