As the popularity of essential oils increases, there is one oil that some consider the most popular and versatile of all the oils. It’s been used for hundreds of years for its fragrance, but also for its medicinal health benefits. It has such a variety of uses that it should be a part of every household. So, what is peppermint essential oil and what are the uses and benefits that make it so popular?
Peppermint use has been dated back to Egyptian times when the dried leaves were placed in tombs in the Pyramids. It has also been noted in history as being used in Japanese and Chinese folk medicine practices, with it being the oldest herb used for medicinal reasons in Europe.
The botanical name for peppermint is Mentha piperita. It is a cross between spearmint and water mint and is from the Labiatae family. The perennial peppermint herb is indigenous to Europe and North Africa and possibly even India, but it is also grown throughout North America, Asia and Great Britain, and several other countries. It is a flowering herb that produces flowers in different shades of pink and its leaves have notched, saw-like edges.
Interesting Things About Peppermint Essential Oil
The most popular way of extracting the oil from the leaves of the peppermint plant is through steam distillation. Oil is extracted at the beginning of the flowering stage. The plants are cut down and left to partially dry before they are gathered for the distillation process . When the plants are harvested in the sun, the oil content will be greater. The oil is found in vacuoles on the leaves’ underside.
Testing has been done comparing CO2 extraction vs. steam distillation of peppermint oil. Extracting with steam distillation provided a greater quantity of oil, but CO2 extraction provided better quality. Despite the testing, steam distillation is the most widely used method.
Peppermint essential oil’s main chemical components are Menthol at 50-60% and Menthone at 10-30%. Under those, there are 1,8-cineole, methyl acetate, isovalerate, methofuran, isomenthone, limonene, b-pinene, a-pinene, germacrene-d, and several others.
Menthol is known to be an analgesic, while menthone, an analgesic as well, is also an antiseptic. All these components make a very stimulating essential oil. Peppermint essential oil also contains many nutrients and minerals such as; iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese and copper. It also contains vitamin A and C, along with omega-3 fatty acids.
The aroma of peppermint oil is strong, fresh, and minty with dominant menthol scent. Consistency of peppermint oil is thin and watery and can have a clear to pale color. This oil has a top note classification and because of that it makes up approximately 20% of the oil blend.
Peppermint essential oil blends well with these oils:
- Woody family: Spruce Hemlock, Juniper Berry, Cypress
- Floral family: lavender, geranium, vanilla, ylang ylang, palmarosa
- Camphoraceous family: eucalyptus, tea tree, wintergreen, spearmint.
- Herbal family: basil, coriander, rosemary, oregano, marjoram
- Citrus family: lemon, grapefruit, sweet orange
Just a reminder; to make it a great blend, add middle and base note oils.
Peppermint oil has very powerful medicinal properties because of all its chemical components, especially the menthol and menthone. It’s widely used around the world in various products such as chewing gum, toothpaste, and tea. The following is a list of the therapeutic properties of peppermint essential oil: anti-viral, decongestant, expectorant, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, analgesic, astringent, anti-septic, digestive, stimulant, anti-oxidant, anti-spasmodic, vasoconstrictor, stomachic. These are just a few of many active properties of peppermint essential oil.
Peppermint Essential Oil Benefits
Wow!! This is such an awesome oil and there are so many benefits. To start with its a great natural pain killer.
The analgesic property in the oil can help give relief to sore muscles and pain in the joints. The cooling effect of the menthol helps numb the area in pain. It can also be used to help relieve headache pain.
As an antiviral, peppermint oil can help relieve cold and flu symptoms. It has the ability to ease nausea and upset stomachs. It has also been shown in studies to hinder the growth of the herpes virus and help to treat those awful cold sores.
Peppermint oil also has anti-spasmodic properties. It has been shown to help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome by reducing the spasms in the colon and also help relax the muscles of the intestines. Research shows also that the oil also can reduce intestinal spasms during colonoscopies, which has been a serious problem and could cause injury to the intestines.
As an astringent, peppermint oil can remove excess oil from the skin, if you have trouble with oily skin.
This is another good antiseptic oil for acne. It can prevent skin pores from clogging and peppermint helps control the excess of oil that causes acne.
Peppermint essential oil makes a fantastic expectorant and decongestant. It helps to clear sinuses and opens up the airways by thinning out mucus and reducing congestion. It helps to relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Asthma, flu, bronchitis, colds all can be relieved from the properties of peppermint oil.
Another therapeutic property peppermint oil offers is that of a stomachic and digestive. If you have digestive issues and stomach aches, this is a great alternative to synthetic medicines to give relief. It helps with bloating and indigestion and relieving flatulence in the stomach.
How To Use Peppermint Essential Oil
Are you having stomach troubles with gas and indigestion, or are you having trouble with congestion from a cold, allergy, or sinusitis? Mix 2-3 drops of peppermint oil with a teaspoon of carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond. Massage the mixture on your stomach for gas or indigestion. To relieve the congestion, massage the mixture on the chest.
For joint pain and arthritis, mix 2 tbsp warm carrier oil with 8-10 drops of peppermint oil and rub on the affected joints. Repeat as needed. And for muscle pain, mix 1-2 tsp of carrier oil with 5-10 drops of peppermint and then massage into your sore muscles.
You can use peppermint oil for headaches and migraines. Mix a couple drops of peppermint with a small amount of carrier oil and massage it into your temples, forehead, and behind the neck. This will give a quick and cooling relief from headaches.
To use as an antiseptic, just mix 1 drop each of peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil with 6-8 drops of water. Using a cotton swab soaked in the mixture, apply directly on the pimples. To get the best results, leave it on overnight. Keep it away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. With its anti-inflammatory property, it gives relief to inflamed acne.
To help with digestion and heartburn, put a drop of peppermint oil in herbal tea.
For congestion and colds, make a chest rub by mixing 2-3 drops of peppermint oil with a few drops of carrier oil and massage onto chest. The menthol provides relief for many respiratory issues.If you’re dealing with energy or alertness problems, apply peppermint oil to the shoulders and back of the neck to help maintain energy levels throughout the day. If it is too strong for you, mix it with a carrier oil, then apply. You can also do this for sore or strained muscles. Rub a drop of oil under the nose for improved concentration.
To help with nausea, use peppermint oil in a diffuser on longest setting. The constant aroma will help the nausea fade away. This method can also be used to relieve stress and to increase focus and energy. To use for motion sickness or nauseous feelings, inhale the oil directly from the bottle or put a drop on each wrist and inhale from your wrist.
Also, if you have cold symptoms you can inhale directly from the bottle to open up breathing passages. Another good way to help with congestion is to add 8-10 drops of oil to a bowl of boiling water, and with a towel over your head, inhale the vapors for 5-10 minutes. You can also add some eucalyptus oil to this for a double whammy. The steam will thin the mucus and it will start draining. The decongestant properties in the oil will relieve your symptoms. You can also put 5 drops each of peppermint and eucalyptus oils in the diffuser overnight, breathing in the powerful medicinal vapors. These can also be used for sinus congestion.
Another way to help sinus congestion is to add some peppermint oil to a humidifier. Just add a few drops to help open the lungs and clear the congestion.
Take 1-2 drops of peppermint oil with a glass of water to help relieve symptoms of IBS, or add it to a capsule before meals. That would also help with nausea symptoms and for an energy booster.
To help with heartburn and/or upset stomach, add a drop of peppermint oil to a glass of warm water, combine with 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon honey, and drink. For gas and indigestion, combine 1 tsp honey with 1 drop of peppermint oil in a glass of warm water and drink before meals.
Here’s something for that teething baby. Blend a drop of olive oil or coconut oil with 1 drop of peppermint oil and massage the baby’s gum area. See cautions.
To freshen your breath you can put a drop under your tongue, then drink a glass of water, or just put a drop on your toothpaste before you brush.
You can also use peppermint oil for these additional things: sunburn relief, hair growth, scalp and dandruff, lice, pest control(fleas, insects, mice, rats), cooking, add to smoothies, cleaning around the house.
Use caution with any essential oil for pregnant women and children under six. Consult your doctor about using peppermint essential oil while pregnant or on medication. Some medications may cause adverse reaction when mixed with peppermint oil. Peppermint essential oil is more concentrated than other oils and is very strong. Some people may experience a burning sensation or allergic rash, so it is advised to use it with a carrier oil when applying topically.
My Final Words
What is peppermint essential oil? It is an amazing and powerful natural medicine that can help you improve your health mentally, physically, and emotionally. There are so many more things you can use peppermint essential oil for. I’ve only touched on some of them. I would guess that there were uses out there that nobody has even thought of yet.
It’s an awesome oil! I use it in the diffuser. I love the aroma. I also use it in my homemade mouthwash. So, what do you think about peppermint essential oil? Are you ready to start using it? Are you using it now? Why don’t you tell me what you think? I’d love to hear from you! Just leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you real soon!
As always, thanks for reading!