Essential Oil Spotlight: Peppermint

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) essential oil is steam-distilled from the leaves of the plant. Its odor is minty, sharp, and intense.

Some properties of this oil include analgesic, antibacterial, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, and invigorating.

For centuries, peppermint has been used to soothe digestive difficulties, freshen breath, and relieve colic, gas, headaches, heartburn, and indigestion.

Today, peppermint essential oil is commonly used for alertness, asthma, bacterial infections, chronic fatigue, cold sores, constipation, cooling, cramps/charley horses, dysmenorrhea, fever, flu (influenza), halitosis, headaches, heartburn, herpes simplex, hot flashes, hypothyroidism, indigestion, itching, lactation (decrease milk production), migraines, motion sickness, muscle fatigue, nausea, osteoporosis, sinusitis, throat infection, varicose veins, vomiting, and several other health conditions.

The body systems affected by peppermint essential oil include the Digestive System, Muscles and Bones, Nervous and Respiratory Systems, and Skin.

Research has shown that peppermint essential oil has helped increase endurance during exercise, decreased effects of gamma radiation exposure, reduced pain from headaches, reduced symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, enhanced memory, reduced the intensity of nausea in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, shown antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties in various tests (one test showed peppermint essential oil inhibiting resistant strains of Staphylococcus, E. Coli, Salmonella, and Helicobacter pylori), aided digestion by reducing constipation and increasing bowel movement, relieved pain and symptoms of indigestion, and prevented seizures in mice.

Research being conducted on peppermint continues to show new possible uses and therapeutic benefits that peppermint may possess. To learn more about a number of these research studies, including summaries and sources, please see the book Modern Essentials.

Applications of Peppermint Essential Oil and Safety Data

Topical Application: Peppermint essential oil can be used neat (with no dilution), or it can be diluted 1:1 (1 drop essential oil to 1 drop carrier oil) for children and those with sensitive skin. Apply to reflex points and/or directly on area of concern.
Aromatic Application: Diffuse, or inhale the aroma of peppermint essential oil directly. The aroma of peppermint is purifying and stimulating to the conscious mind and may aid with memory and mental performance. It is cooling and may help reduce fevers.
Internal Application: Peppermint essential oil can be taken internally. Try placing a drop or two under the tongue, taking it in a capsule or in a beverage, or using it as a flavoring in cooking.
Safey Note: Repeated use of peppermint essential oil can possibly result in contact sensitization. Use this oil with caution if dealing with high blood pressure or if pregnant.

5 Ways to Use Peppermint Essential Oil

1. Diffuse
Here are a few great diffuser blends to help you get energized and focused:

2. Use in a Massage Oil
Peppermint is really great at helping to relax muscles and relieve aches and pains. Here is a recipe for a Sore Muscles Salve. You can also try one of the following massage recipes:

Rejuvenating
Massage Blend:

5 drops bergamot
5 drops lemon
3 drops peppermint
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) carrier oil
Fatigue Relief
Massage Blend:

6 drops peppermint
5 drops rosemary
4 drops grapefruit
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) carrier oil
Sore Muscles
Massage Blend:

4 drops ylang ylang
4 drops peppermint
3 drops thyme
3 drops ginger
1 drop lemon
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) carrier oil

3. Roll on for a quick energy boost or digestive support.
Peppermint essential oil is great at increasing energy, alertness, and stamina. When you start to feel sluggish during the day and need a little pick-me-up, try rubbing this roll-on on your wrists, neck, or bottoms of your feet. You could also use the Rejuvenating or Fatigue Relief Massage Blend recipes above in a roll-on if you prefer (make sure to halve the recipe for daily use).

Pick Me Up Roll-on:
5 drops lavender (2 drops for daily use)
4 drops peppermint (2 drops for daily use)
3 drops grapefruit (1 drop for daily use)
3 drops lemongrass (1 drop for daily use)
1 tsp. (5 ml) carrier oil like Fractionated Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, or Jojoba Oil
Add oils to a 5 ml roll-on bottle, or double the recipe if using a 10 ml roll-on bottle. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with a carrier oil. If you plan on using this roll-on on a daily basis, use the drops suggested for daily use, then fill the rest of the roll-on bottle with a carrier oil.

Peppermint oil is also known for supporting the digestive system and can help with constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, irritable bowel system, nausea, vomiting, and gastric ulcers, among other digestive issues. Try rubbing this roll-on blend over your stomach when your digestive system needs a little help.

Digestive Support Roll-on:
2 drops ginger
4 drops peppermint
5 drops lavender (2 drops for children)
5 drops lemon (1 drop for children)
4 drops fennel (1 drop for children)
1 tsp. (5 ml) carrier oil like Fractionated Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, or Jojoba Oil
Add oils to a 5 ml roll-on bottle, or double the recipe if using a 10 ml roll-on bottle. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with a carrier oil.

4. Cool Your Body
Peppermint is a cooling oil and can help you cool off your body when you get too hot. Here are a few ways you can use peppermint oil to cool off:

  • If you live in a hot climate, these Frozen Eucalyptus Mint Towels may be a lifesaver for you! They are also great for using while you are outside doing yard work or watching your kids at the park.
  • Add a drop of peppermint oil to your water on a hot day. This is a great idea for hiking trips or occasions when you are outside all day.
  • Try a cooling bath using peppermint essential oil. (See recipe below.)
Cooling Bath Salts:
1–2 drops peppermint essential oil
1/4 cup (60 g) Epsom Salt
Mix ingredients together. Add bath salts to the bathtub as it fills up with warm or cool water.

5. Add to Cooking Recipes
Peppermint essential oil can be added to any of your favorite cooking recipes. Just use 1 drop of peppermint oil for every 1 tsp. of dried peppermint leaves or 1 Tbsp. fresh peppermint leaves. Peppermint essential oil can also replace peppermint extract (although you’ll use significantly less). Just add a drop, mix in, taste, and then add more if needed. These are a few of our recipes that include peppermint essential oil:

Sources:
Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 9th Edition, pp. 102–103.

Healing Oils: 500 Formulas for Aromatherapy by Carol & David Schiller

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