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

Essential Oil Spotlight: Blue Tansy

Blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum) essential oil is steam-distilled from the leaves and flowers of the plant. It has a camphoraceous, sweet, and herbaceous scent.

Some properties of this oil include analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, hypotensive, hormone-like, and nervine.

Anciently, tansy was used to help heal wounds, as a diuretic, and for dealing with kidney issues.

Today, blue tansy essential oil is commonly used for anxiety, calming, and wounds. Blue tansy may also help raise blood pressure, relieve itching, reduce pain, and sedate the nerves.

Blue tansy essential oil affects the nervous system.

Applications of Blue Tansy Essential Oil and Safety Data

Topical Application: Blue tansy essential oil can be used neat (with no dilution), but it is best diluted, especially when used on children or those with sensitive skin. Apply to reflex points and/or directly on area of concern. Note: The deep blue color of blue tansy can temporarily color your skin if used undiluted.
Aromatic Application: Diffuse, or inhale the aroma of blue tansy essential oil directly. The aroma of blue tansy is uplifting, refreshing, and calming to a troubled mind. It may also help instill confidence and enthusiasm.
Internal Application: Blue tansy essential oil should not be taken orally.
Safety Note: Consult a physician before using if taking medications. Avoid using if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure.

5 Ways to Use Blue Tansy Essential Oil

1. Diffuse
Try diffusing blue tansy alone or with the following blend for an uplifting and calming scent:

2. Natural Coloring/Fragrance
Blue tansy essential oil has a deep blue color due to the chemical chamazulene, a result from the distillation process. Because blue tansy essential oil contains chamazulene, it is a natural way to provide a blue color to your DIY products. Experimental research is indicating that this same chemical, chamazulene, could prove beneficial to the skin as well.

Try using blue tansy in place of soap dye in this DIY Kid’s Soap recipe. Consider using a few drops of blue tansy essential oil in a combination with lavender and/or Roman chamomile essential oil.

Try adding a few drops of blue tansy to this Sore Muscle Salve or this Coconut Oil Soothing Balm to not only give it a soothing color, but also increase the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of the final product.

3. Oil Cleansing Roll-On for Acne or Inflamed Skin
Oil cleansing, though not intuitive, can be beneficial for oily or acne-prone skin. Conventional skin cleansers tend to strip away the skin’s natural oil and sebum, which leads the skin to produce more. This creates a vicious cycle of more sebum production, which can lead to more acne. The oil cleansing method does the opposite—it adds oil, which tells the skin to slow sebum production and leads to less oily skin and acne. The essential oils listed in this blend are anti-inflammatory oils, so this roll-on blend works great on acne or other inflamed skin.

Acne Oil Cleanser Roll-On:
1 drop blue tansy
2 drops lavender
3 drops melaleuca
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, or Grape Seed Oil
Add oils to a 1 oz. roll-on bottle. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with a carrier oil.
To use, roll on the face, then use the fingers to massage into the skin. Use a warm, wet washcloth to remove the excess oil, and pat dry.

4. Soothing Massage
Blue tansy essential oil is commonly used to calm the mind and body. What better way to relax and calm down than with a massage? Here are a couple massage blends to get you started:

Calm & Relaxing:
5 drops tangerine
5 drops orange
3 drops ylang ylang or bergamot
1 drops patchouli
1 drop blue tansy
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) carrier oil*
Muscle Aches Be Gone:
5 drops wintergreen
5 drops cypress
2 drops blue tansy
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) carrier oil*
*Common carrier oils to use for massage include Fractionated Coconut OilCoconut OilSweet Almond Oil, or Jojoba Oil.

5. Bath
You can also use blue tansy in a bath for a relaxing experience. Try the following bath blend, or add a drop or two of blue tansy essential oil to bath bombs.

Calming Blue Waters:
7 drops lavender
1–2 drops blue tansy
1/4–1/2 cup (60–120 g) Epsom Salt
Note: Despite the name, this won’t actually affect your bathwater color since the blue tansy oil is highly diluted.

Source:
Modern Essentials™: The Complete Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 9th Edition, p. 44.