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Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a plant native to Asia and Europe and is commonly used as a flavoring for food or ingredient in hygiene products. Known for its invigorating and cooling effects, peppermint has traditionally been used as a medicinal plant to treat gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual cramps, nausea, and vomiting.1,2

Today, peppermint essential oil can be commonly found in chest rubs, cosmetics, creams or ointments for fragrance. Extracted through steam distillation, peppermint essential oil is a combination of water mint and spearmint.Topically, peppermint essential oils can be used to soothe muscle or nerve pain.8

What does peppermint essential oil do?
Recent scientific studies have observed up to 16 different compounds in select verities of peppermint essential oils. In the lab, peppermint has been noted to have antiviral, antimicrobial and even antioxidant properties.1,3

Peppermint Essential Oil Uses

The use of essential oils can be dated back to ancient Greece where they had important religious, medicinal or cosmetic roles.1 As a versatile oil, there are a variety of uses for peppermint essential oil that are easy to incorporate into your everyday routine.

Most commonly used in aromatherapy, peppermint essential oil can be added to a diffuser or steaming water and inhaled for therapeutic purposes. For those looking to for a boost of energy or to feel recharged, apply 3-5 drops into a diffuser or hot water and allow the steam to circulate around the room.7

Peppermint essential oil has been noted for relaxing aroma, and when applied topically has a cooling sensation. For a natural peppermint massage oil, mix 2-4 drops of peppermint with 2 Tbsp. of a carrier oil such as grapeseed, almond or jojoba.

For couples, the essential oils peppermint, jasmine and rosemary have also been scientifically noted to demonstrate arousing properties.6

In addition to its invigorating aroma, peppermint essential oil may also help reduce inflammation or dry, cracked skin. Mix 6-8 drops of peppermint essential oil with 2 Tbsp. of almond or coconut oil. Apply evenly to the area and massage into the skin until fully absorbed. Do not apply peppermint essential oil to an open wound. 

For an uplifting bath, or to increase mental alertness, add 10 drops of peppermint essential oil and 1 cup of Epsom salt to a warm bath water.

Foot Soak 
Peppermint essential oil has been reported to be particularly soothing for overworked feet. To relieve tired feet, add 1 cup of Epsom salt and 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to a tub of warm water. Place both feet in and let soak.

Calm Digestive Issues 
Traditionally used to calm nausea or support digestion, peppermint essential oil can be inhaled or applied topically to help reduce symptoms. Lightly massage 4-6 drops of diluted peppermint essential oil on the stomach or chest. May also help improve symptoms of indigestion, gas, travel sickness or diarrhea.8,6

Help Clear Congestion 
One of the active components in peppermint essential oil is menthol, which can help clear congestion when inhaled or applied topically.7,8 Add 4-6 drops to a base cream and rub on the chest for a natural decongestion rub.7

Natural Headache Relief 
The same mixture can also be used to help relieve congestion-related headaches. Gently massage the decongestant compound into your temples, avoiding the eyes.4

Natural Pest Control 
Beyond its pleasant smell, peppermint has also been noted to be a natural pest deterrent for rats, mice, cockroaches and ants. Add several drops to cotton balls and toss into the bottom of the garbage bag to for a natural deodorizer and to keep pests away.7

Cool Down 
Known for its cooling effects, peppermint essential oils can provide relief from the heat and help users feel invigorated. Mix 4-5 drops with water in a spray bottle and spray over the body. Make sure to avoid the eyes, mouth or open wounds.7

Peppermint Essential Oil Benefits

Peppermint essential oil has been noted for its cooling properties, that when inhaled or applied externally, help reduce ailments such as nausea, upset stomach, or other gastrointestinal issues. Below, we take a look at the top peppermint essential oil benefits that can help you have a better tomorrow.

Improve Bloating & Gas 
In animal studies, peppermint has been shown to relax the stomach muscles, allowing gas to pass and alleviate feelings of bloating. Additionally, peppermint can increase bile production and movement which can provide relief for indigestion.1

Several human studies have noted that specially designed enteric-coated peppermint capsules improved 75% of symptoms in patients suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome after two weeks.1

Enteric coating prevents peppermint from releasing in the stomach where it can cause adverse side effects. Commercially available essential oils should not be ingested.

Improve Headaches
When applied to the skin, peppermint essential oil has a cooling or soothing effect. In a study published in the journal of Phytomedicine, applying peppermint essential oil to the temples of the forehead was noted to significantly increase blood flow to the forehead region. Enhanced blood flow to the area helped reduce headache symptoms.4

Reduce Fatigue 
In a preliminary clinical trial researchers studied the effect of inhaling peppermint essential oil on daytime sleepiness.3

Compared to the placebo group, volunteers who inhaled peppermint for only 11 minutes were significantly less sleepy than their counterparts.3

Alleviate Nausea
In 2012, a clinical study investigated claims that peppermint may help calm feelings of nausea. The study chose participants in hospice or palliative care centers who consistently face nausea because of their conditions and conventional cancer treatments.5

After one and a half months, 83% of participants reported a decrease in nausea when peppermint essential oil was inhaled before and after their treatment routine.5

Improve Memory 
Traditionally, essential oils have been thought to enhance mood and even improve cognitive functions. In 2008, a clinical study examined if either of the essential oils peppermint or ylang ylang could statistically influence mood, enhance mental performance or memory.6

144 participants were separated in to peppermint, ylang ylang or control groups and given standard memory recall tests.6

Results indicate that the peppermint essential oil demonstrated significant increases in memory recall, compared to ylang ylang and control conditions. A small increase in self-reported alertness was also noted.6

Peppermint essential oil uses and benefits, what does peppermint essential oil do?

Side Effects of Peppermint Essential Oil

While essential oils are generally regarded as safe, they may still cause side effects through inhalation or topical application. diluted prior to topical application.

It is not recommended to ingest essential oils unless under direct supervision from a health care provider. Always read and follow the label’s directions prior to use.

Peppermint essential oil should not be administered to children under the age of 6 as it can cause spasms that can stop breathing. Always store essential oils out of the reach of children. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult with their doctor before using peppermint essential oil.1

Where to Buy Peppermint Essential Oil

Previously, high quality essential oils could only be bought at specialty health stores, or through expensive multi-level marketing companies. Now, due to advancements in technology, extremely high grade essential oils can be purchased over the internet at very reasonable prices.

Scientific Research Referenced in this Article

  1. Moss, M., Hewitt, S., Moss, L., & Wesnes, K. (2008). MODULATION OF COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE AND MOOD BY AROMAS OF PEPPERMINT AND YLANG-YLANG. International Journal of Neuroscience118(1), 59-77. doi:1080/00207450601042094
  2. University of Maryland Medical Center. (2014, July 6). Peppermint. Retrieved February 2, 2017 from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/peppermint – View reference
  3. Norrish, M. I. K., & Dwyer, K. L. (2005). Preliminary investigation of the effect of peppermint oil on an objective measure of daytime sleepiness. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 55(3), 291-298. doi:1016/j.ijpsycho.2004.08.004
  4. Göbel, H., Schmidt, G., Dworschak, M., Stolze, H., & Heuss, D. (1995). Essential plant oils and headache mechanisms. Phytomedicine, 2(2), 93-102. doi:1016/s0944-7113(11)80053-x
  5. Seale, M. K. (2012). The use of peppermint oil to reduce the nausea of the palliative care and hospice patient. Retrieved February 2, 2017 from http://digitalcommons.gardner-webb.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1142&context=nursing_etd
  6. Moss, M., Hewitt, S., Moss, L., & Wesnes, K. (2008). MODULATION OF COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE AND MOOD BY AROMAS OF PEPPERMINT AND YLANG-YLANG. International Journal of Neuroscience118(1), 59-77. doi:1080/00207450601042094
  7. TROTH, M. (2011). Using peppermint essential oil ~ and ~ Building your natural home medicine cabinet. Countryside & Small Stock Journal95(5), 62. Retrieved February 2, 2016 from http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/64406285/using-peppermint-essential-oil-and-building-your-natural-home-medicine-cabinet – View reference
  8. Robb-Nicholson, C. (2009, July 1). By the way doctor: What can you tell me about peppermint oil? Harvard Women’s Health Watch. Retrieved February 4, 2017 from http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/By-the-way-doctor-What-can-you-tell-me-about-peppermint-oil – View reference
  9. Pelter, L. S., Amico, A., Gordon, N., Martin, C., Sandifer, D., & Pelter, M. W. (2008). Analysis of Peppermint Leaf and Spearmint Leaf Extracts by Thin-Layer Chromatography. Journal of Chemical Education85(1), 133. doi:1021/ed085p133