Peppermint is rather new in the mint family, but the latter’s been around for centuries. Its oil extract is full of health benefits, but it also makes a great beauty product. There are many uses for Peppermint essential oil. Some are more common and popular, while others aren’t. Check out this post for more details.
In this article, you’ll find details about:
- The peppermint plant and essential oil, with its major benefits, but also the darker side of the oil. There are a few warnings and precautions you need to be aware of before using Peppermint oil.
- How to use Peppermint essential oil, with clear applications. You’ll find here lots of interesting ideas to try with your favorite aromatic essence.
- Tips and uses for Peppermint oil in beauty, health, cleaning, wellbeing and many other situations. The oil of Peppermint can help you get out of many daily situations. This is where you’ll also find aromatic recipes and directions for use.
Benefits of Peppermint Essential Oil and Warnings
Botanical name: Mentha piperita.
Aroma: characteristic (mentholated, herbal, cooling and refreshing).
Color: colorless to pale yellow or greenish.
Texture/Viscosity: thin oil (watery).
Flashpoint: +75C (167F)
Other names: English mint.
I don’t know about you, but I grew up with mint teas. There was nothing digestion-wise that a warm cup of mint tea would not solve. It’s quite tasty too! Mint plant extracts are an ancient medicine.
Today, it is possible to extract the plant’s essential oils and bottle them as a potent natural remedy. And potent it is, without a doubt! Peppermint essential oil is a very powerful and concentrated plant extract.
One drop of oil can be as strong as up to 20 cups of tea!
Mint became popular in Europe, in the 18th century. Until then though, ancient civilizations knew all about its medicinal and aromatic properties. The Romans used it in their sauces and wines. Egyptian pharaohs were buried with it in their pyramid tombs.
In our times, it rapidly became the staple of hygiene products. Later, it spread to the sweets industry too.
The mint (Mentha) family contains thousands of plant species. There are so many, mainly because they crossbreed or interbreed very fast. The peppermint is, as you’ve probably guessed or know already, a hybrid plant. It is not known yet whether the plant was manually or naturally hybridized.
Peppermint comes from the interbreeding of spearmint (M. spicata) with water mint (M. aquatica). The piperita term comes from Latin and it translates as “peppered”. The pungent, pepper-like aroma of the hybrid sets it apart from all the other mint species.
A bit of trivia! There’s a fairly new species of mint that starts to see some success. It’s called pineapple-mint (M. suaveolens).
Chemical Profile of Peppermint Essential Oil
The dried plant is steam distilled for the extraction of the essential oil. Its byproduct is called Peppermint hydrosol or floral water.
What makes this essence unique and popular is its chemical profile (and scent, of course!). This chemical profile may change with the season and geographical area, among others.
However, the main constituents are usually the same, just the amounts may vary. For example, one lot of oils may be higher with 10% in menthol than the next one.
The oil contains:
- Menthol (30-55%) – great anti-inflammatory and antiviral power. With its cold sensation, menthol acts as a local anesthetic. It is also a strong antispasmodic, astringent and stimulant. It can soothe itchy skin too.
- Menthone (12-32%) – is another cooling compound that acts like a pain reliever (analgesic). It has antioxidant effects.
- 1,8 cineole (eucalyptol) (3-14%) – strong antibacterial and antiviral effects. It is also anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and expectorant. Cineole is especially useful in respiratory problems (the flu, colds, bronchitis, etc.)
- Pulegone (~4%)
- Menthofuran (less than 9%)
- Isomenthone (1-10%)
- Methyl acetate (2.5 – 10%)
- Neomenthol (less than 10%)
I must also mention that the time of harvest can greatly influence the chemical profile of the Peppermint essential oil.
For example, there are peppermint leaves that grow during long days and short days. The former produces more menthone, menthol and traces of menthofuran. Shorter days produce more menthofuran.
Too much sun also contributes to chemical changes. The GC/MS report of the essential oil will tell you exactly what the oil contains. You can ask for this report from the seller for free.
Some of its compounds are also toxic, but only when they’re used in high amounts. In Peppermint essential oil, the amounts are very small. Plus, not all these compounds will be inhaled or absorbed through skin.
Pulegone for example, can induce seizures. The oil itself can cause cardiac arrest and respiratory problems in babies and toddlers. More about the side effects of Peppermint oil in a few.
Health Benefits of Peppermint Essential Oil
When using the oil, there are a few precautions we all need to be aware of. There are also many benefits and uses for Peppermint essential oil. Let’s see what the health benefits of Peppermint oil are:
- Digestive problems (gas, bloating, slow digestion, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, etc.)
- Food poisoning.
- Painful menstruation.
- Joint problems.
- Hormone regulator.
- Migraines and headaches.
- Bad breath and cavities.
- Physical and emotional fatigue.
- Stress and anxiety.
- Heavy and/or swollen legs.
- Varicose veins.
- Lack of concentration.
- Low energy.
- Wounds and acne.
- Stuffy nose.
- Respiratory problems.
- Viral infections.
- Promotes toxins elimination.
- Stops or prevents nausea.
- Repels insects and small pests.
These are just some of the benefits and uses of Peppermint oil. The list is long and other benefits could also be added. If you want to blend the oil with other essences, you’ll be happy to know that Peppermint essential oil blends well with many:
- Wild Mint
- Sweet Marjoram
- Juniper berry
- Balsam Fir
- Black Pepper
- Tea Tree
- Rose Geranium
Peppermint Essential Oil Warnings
If it’s done properly, using Aromatherapy oils is not dangerous. To do so, you have to be aware of some of their darkest secrets. Many oils can interact with drugs and render them useless.
Or, in certain cases, they can make a health condition worse. Peppermint oil is among the most potent ones, which means special caution is advised. For a safe use, take the following into account:
- Peppermint aromatic oil should never be used on young children. Many French sources don’t recommend its use until 7 years old. American Aromatherapy specialists don’t recommend its use until 3 years old. Furthermore, according to them, children aged 3 – 6 can inhale a bit of diffused Peppermint. Or it can be applied topically in as much as 0.5%.
- Some of the most common side effects of using Peppermint oil are skin rashes and irritation. Allergic reactions and heartburn have also been reported. Menthol is an irritating substance. If it’s used undiluted, it can burn sensitive mucous membranes.
- Because of its cooling effect, Peppermint should not be used in large amounts. Its application on large skin areas should not be taken into consideration either. There is an increased risk of hypothermia (sudden low body temperature).
- It is harder to get Peppermint oil overdose through skin. Not all its volatile compounds get absorbed this way. If you dilute the oil before each topical use, there shouldn’t be any problems.
- Large amounts of Peppermint essential oil can cause respiratory problems. Or, it can act as a narcotic.
- The oil of Peppermint can also trigger or induce seizures.
- Large doses of oil consumed/used on long periods of time can have toxic effects on the liver and kidneys.
- The oil should not be used by people with gallstones or inflamed gallbladder.
- There are many ways to use Peppermint essential oil but lowering blood pressure is not one of them. The oil can actually increase blood pressure, which makes it risky for those with hypertension. People with cardiovascular problems should also be mindful of this essence.
- The oil should also be avoided by pregnant women in the first trimester. Seek medical guidance for the rest of the pregnancy time and breastfeeding period.
- It is thought that Peppermint aromatic oil is estrogenic. This would mean it can interact with hormonal medicines. Further research is of course, needed to establish the truth.
- You must always test each new bottle of aromatic essence for allergic reactions.
- Also, make sure that you trust the seller and can get access to the GC/MS report. Menthol and menthone are two substances that can be synthesized. Thus, there’s always the risk of buying adulterated Peppermint aromatic oil.
- There is such thing as inhaling too much Peppermint oil. The side effects of excess Peppermint oil inhalation are nausea, headaches and vomiting. You should get out for fresh air and air out the room/house immediately.
- What about Peppermint oil capsules, right? One study states that they’re usually well-tolerated and effective in IBS treatment. Because the capsules dissolve fast, the oil can cause some problems. There were a few cases of heartburn and skin rash.
Many of these side effects for Peppermint oil apply to most oils, in general. If you’re not sure whether you can use the oil or not, it’s best to avoid it altogether or ask for a doctor’s advice.
Ways to Use Peppermint Essential Oil
Now you know what Peppermint oil is good for, and you also know about its uses. Next, it’s time you learned how to use Peppermint essential oil efficiently. This usually depends on many factors. Do you want to use it topically or orally? Here are a few tips and guidelines:
1. Peppermint Oil Diffusion & Inhalation
This is the most popular and beneficial method of enjoying Aromatherapy benefits. When you inhale aromatic molecules, the concentration is about 50-70% oil. It’s the fastest way of experiencing the benefits of Peppermint oil.
The French don’t recommend diffusing the oil pure. According to them, Peppermint essential oil should be mixed with other oils for diffusion. American sources say that diffusing small amounts is not harmful.
It may be to pets though, so make sure you avoid unnecessary problems.
The benefits of a diffuser running on Peppermint essential oil are many. It can disinfect the air and change the odor. It can also prevent viral infections and boost the immune system, among others.
How do you use Peppermint oil in a diffuser? It depends on the diffuser. If it’s ultrasonic (water-based), just add 2 – 3 drops in the water. If it’s a nebulizer, they usually require larger amounts.
Learn more about the diffusion of Aromatherapy oils here:
- How Does an Essential Oil Diffuser Work? What You Need to Know
- Best Essential Oil Diffusers for a Large Room! Pros, Cons and Recipes
- How to Use Essential Oils in a Diffuser (A Beginner’s Guide and FAQ)
2. Peppermint Oil Topical Application
Topical use is one of the most popular application methods for Aromatherapy oils. Peppermint makes no exception! It should always be diluted with carrier oil before any local application. The amount used must also be small.
For face blends for example, the dilution ratio should not be more than 1%. For other blends with therapeutic purposes (wounds, digestion, etc.), the amount of EO should not be more than 5%.
Topically, your Peppermint blends can be applied on:
- The stomach area.
- On the nostrils and forehead.
- Feet soles.
- Face (avoiding the eye area).
- Around the ears.
As side note, avoid applying Peppermint oil to the face and chest of infants and young children. It can cause respiratory problems, among others.
3. Peppermint Oil Oral Use
I don’t recommend taking Peppermint oil internally, without medical supervision and/or approval. The internal dose of any natural remedy is established by a medic. He must consider your:
- Geographical area,
- Medical history,
The necessary time for the treatment to work is also important. A clear diagnosis and treatment plan are necessary for good, safe results. Regardless of how you’d choose to take an essential oil, it will cause some sort of discomfort.
For example, there are people who add it to their drinking water. The risk of irritation or burning the esophagus, stomach, etc. is very high.
Water and essential oils don’t mix, which means the latter will stick to the throat. It’s easy to see how, undiluted can damage the sensitive mucous membrane of the throat.
That being said, I will move on now to more practical matters – the actual practical uses of the oil.
Uses for Peppermint Essential Oil (Beauty, Health & Wellbeing Recipes)
All over the world, Peppermint and its extracts are very popular. That is so mostly because of the plant’s ability to soothe a wide range of ailments. Mint has a very rich history, dating back to times when plants were the only means of getting well.
Now, research backs up almost all the anecdotal knowledge on mint and peppermint. I’ve divided the uses of Peppermint oil into several categories, so you can “digest” the info easier. Peppermint does indeed have that effect! 🙂
Peppermint Essential Oil for Stress and Anxiety
Oxidative stress is a serious, modern disease. If left untreated, it can cause many health complications. Some studies even suggest it can alter the DNA of a person.
Anxiety can have many causes. Aromatherapy has been proven effective at relieving anxiety feelings, depression, stress, insomnia, etc.
Once the active molecules of certain oils enter the body, they start a series of chemical processes. The brain perceives them as neurotransmitters. Thus, it releases hormones that help you feel good and sleep better. The latter helps the body recover and function properly.
Another interesting thing about Aromatherapy is the way it trains the brain. If you inhale a certain aroma, while doing certain activities, the brain starts to associate one with the other.
This means that next time you’ll be inhaling the same aroma, your brain will associate it with a certain state. That’s why it’s important to do something you enjoy very much or relaxes you while inhaling essential oils.
One of the best uses of Peppermint essential oil is to uplift the mood and stimulate the senses. Diffuse a few drops when you read, learn, exercise, etc. It’ll increase your energy levels and stimulate your senses.
The oil will also open your airways and increase the amount of oxygen intake. Some studies observed beneficial effects on exercise improvement. However, more research is needed to establish these findings as facts.
Peppermint oil benefits for stress and anxiety:
- Improves the blood circulation and lowers the heart rate. This leads to relaxation and muscle tension relief.
- Increases focus and concentration. Peppermint tea is also great for this purpose.
- Soothes the effects of an intense emotional choc.
- Helps with fear symptoms.
- Helps the body cope better with the fatigue and exhaustion.
Peppermint Essential Oil Blends for Emotional Support
Check out these recipes and try them when you get a chance. They’re meant to stimulate all your senses and uplift your mood. In other words, they’re great to kick start any day of the week.
Energizing Peppermint Oil Diffuser Blend
- Peppermint essential oil: 10 drops
- Grapefruit essential oil: 15 drops
- Cedarwood/Juniper essential oil: 8 drops
Mix all these oils in an empty glass bottle and use only a few drops per diffusion. Make sure the room is well-ventilated during and after diffusion and use good quality aroma diffusers. That is to avoid headaches, nausea or air saturation.
Anxiety Relief Peppermint Roll-On Blend (10ml)
- Peppermint essential oil: 1 – 2 drops
- Sweet Orange essential oil: 2 – 3 drops
- Carrier oil
Take the roll-on with you everywhere. Shake it well before each use and apply on pulse points whenever you feel the need to combat stress and anxiety.
Peppermint Essential Oil in Skin Care
As a bit of fun fact or trivia, I’ve heard the Hindi term for Peppermint oil. It sounded like “peparamint oyal”. This is for all of you out there who’re just curious about random stuff, like me.
Generally speaking, essential oils can be applied to the skin. But they need to be diluted first. Otherwise, one of the side effects of undiluted Peppermint oil is skin irritation and rashes.
Is Peppermint essential oil good for face, you might wonder. In small concentrations, it is very useful in skin care. Especially for oily and/or combination skin types.
Why? Because it is a strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. The oil is also astringent. This means it causes the small blood vessels underneath the skin and pores to shrink. This effect gives the complexion a radiant and firm aspect.
Oily or combination skin types have enlarged pores, which make the oil’s effect very visible.
The uses of Peppermint oil for skin are very diverse. I must remind you not to use Peppermint oil directly on skin. No matter what you’re trying to soothe or remedy!
You can use Peppermint oil for acne too. It can help regulate the sebum production and kill acne-causing bacteria. It can also decrease the level of inflammation caused by cystic acne.
Untreated chronic inflammation leaves scars and marks behind. Peppermint oil is anti-inflammatory and can also stimulate cell renewal.
At 1% dilution, Peppermint essential oil is safe for skin applications. The carrier oil used for acne treatment must be non-comedogenic.
In skin care, Peppermint oil can also be used for:
- Cold sores,
- Insect bites,
- Wounds and sunburns,
- Itchy skin,
Peppermint Essential Oil Blends for Skin Care
Natural Beauty and Acne Recipe
- Peppermint essential oil: 3 drops
- Rose essential oil: 4 drops
- Macadamia oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Shake the blend well before each use. Apply on a clean, damp skin at night, after makeup removal.
Soothing Peppermint Oil Blend for Wounds and Insect Bites
- Peppermint essential oil: 3 drops
- Lavender essential oil: 4 drops
- Carrier oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Apply the blend on the disinfected wound or insect bite a few times a day. Avoid covering it if you want the wound to heal faster.
Peppermint Essential Oil in Hair Care
Thanks to its stimulant action, Peppermint oil can also help with hair care. Studies so far show very encouraging results for rapid hair growth.
Check out this Peppermint oil hair growth study for more details. This experiment followed the effects of Peppermint oil vs. Minoxidil. The oil was able to speed up hair growth twice as faster as minoxidil.
What does Peppermint oil do for your hair? It:
- Reduces dandruff.
- Gives luster and shine.
- Relieves scalp itching.
- Stimulates hair growth.
- Thicken the hair strands.
- Reduce frizziness and split ends.
Therefore, among its many benefits, Peppermint oil can also be used for baldness. However, baldness may have deeper roots, so a thorough medical checkup is necessary.
The oil of Peppermint should not be applied directly on scalp. As side effects, Peppermint oil can and probably will burn and irritate the skin.
The best way to enjoy the benefits of the oil is to add it to your usual shampoo. It can also be added to DIY shampoo recipes or hair masks.
Peppermint Essential Oil Blends for Hair Care
Peppermint Oil and Coconut Oil Mix for Hair Care
- Fractionated Coconut oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
- Peppermint essential oil: 6 drops (or more)
Give the blend a good shake and apply on damp ends. Use minute amounts to avoid feeling your hair greasy. Your hair will get rid of split ends and frizziness, among other benefits.
Castor Oil and Peppermint Oil Hair Mask
- Castor oil: 2 tbsp. or more (depending on hair length and thickness)
- Peppermint essential oil: 4 drops
- Rosemary essential oil: 2 drops
Mix the oils together, warm the mixture a bit and apply with your fingertips all over the scalp. Massage it in gently and keep the hair under a shower cap or warm towel. Rinse off with shampoo (2 – 3 times) after an hour.
I don’t recommend leaving the Castor oil with Peppermint in your hair overnight. It’ll saturate the hair and instead of looking light and shiny, it’ll look dull and greasy. It’s something I’ve experienced myself and it wasn’t pretty.
What other essential oils are good for hair growth? I would recommend Hinoki, Rosemary and Cedarwood.
Peppermint Essential Oil in Oral Care
Oral care is yet another area where the oil of Peppermint can successfully be used. Unfortunately, our mouths are the perfect environment for bacteria. It’s dark and humid all the time.
These bacteria may cause infections and inflammation to the gums or internal cheeks. Especially when you scratch or bite either one. It can also cause bad breath, though it is strongly connected to the digestive system.
Peppermint oil is good for your teeth, because it disinfects and prevents plaque formation. The oil is antibacterial and antifungal, which limits tooth and gum infection.
Peppermint essential oil can also be used for a toothache. It is anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain reliever). Being astringent, Peppermint can also help with gum diseases. Its refreshing and mentholated scent make Peppermint essential oil very good for oral health.
In other words, you can use Peppermint oil to prevent dental cavities. It could also prevent periodontal disease. Peppermint oil can’t help you get whiter teeth though. Or at least, I haven’t found any solid proof that supports this claim.
Any type of pure Peppermint essential oil can be used for oral care. It can be doTERRA Peppermint oil, Young Living or whoever else you like and trust.
Peppermint Essential Oil Blends for Oral Care
Peppermint Mouthwash Recipe
- Peppermint hydrosol/purified water: 2 Oz (60ml)
- Peppermint essential oil: 10 drops
- Spray bottle
Give the blend a good shake before each use. Water and essential oils don’t mix, but they can be broken down into tiny droplets. They’ll pass the spray mechanism easily and spread very well on the surface used.
Peppermint Essential Oil for Other Health Concerns
You’ve probably noticed the diverse array of health benefits this oil packs. Thus, among the other uses for Peppermint essential oil, we also have:
- Better digestion, because it stimulates bile production.
- Toxin elimination, because it also stimulates urine production.
- Easy breathing, because menthol and menthone can help break down and eliminate mucus and phlegm.
- Muscle pain relief, because it’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Its cooling effect also stimulates the muscles and nerves.
- Liver protection, because the oil is antioxidant and can protect the liver cells from free radicals’ damage.
- Varicose veins protection, because it can dilate the blood vessels and improve blood circulation.
Peppermint Essential Oil Blends for Health
Improved Digestion Peppermint Blend
- Peppermint essential oil: 7 drops
- Cardamom essential oil: 4 drops
- Ginger essential oil: 4 drops
- Carrier oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Apply on the stomach area, with clockwise movements after each heavy meal. Maintain the area warm so the oils can reach the blood and intestines faster.
Respiratory Blend with Peppermint Oil
- Peppermint essential oil: 2 drops
- Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil: 2 drops
- Nasal inhaler
Inhale deep, for a few good minutes, every time you feel your nose congested.
Peppermint Essential Oil in Other Situations
Besides all of the above-mentioned benefits and uses for Peppermint essential oil, it can also:
- Repel insects like cockroaches, ants and bugs. Read more about it here.
- Repel small rodents like mice.
- Disinfect the air and working surfaces. Peppermint essence can be used in green cleaning. Check out how to make carpet or floor cleaners with Peppermint and other essential oils.
- Freshen up the air and prevent viral infections.
- Remove bad odors (pets, garbage bins, etc.)
- Add flavor to dishes (cooked meals or homemade candies).
Peppermint Essential Oil Blends for Home
Fresh and Uplifting Room Spray Recipe
- Lavender hydrosol: 2 – 3 Oz
- Peppermint essential oil: 10 – 20 drops
- Sweet Orange essential oil: 20 – 30 drops
- Water or hydrosol: 2 Oz (60ml)
Give the mixture a good shake and spray all over the room, avoiding the furniture and pet beds or toys.
Roach Natural Repellent Recipe
- Baking soda: 1 tbsp.
- Peppermint essential oil: 20 drops
- Peppermint hydrosol: 1 Oz (30ml)
Shake this mixture really well before each use. Spray on all cracks and places you know the roaches gather around.
The trick to using natural remedies is to know how to do it safely. They’re very effective this way. However, to do that, one must be aware of both the pros and cons of an essential oil remedy.
You’ve seen all the benefits and uses for Peppermint essential oil. You’ve also seen its possible side effects. Now you can make an informed decision. I hope you’ll give the oil a chance though, as it’s very useful in lots of situations.
Feel free to complete my list of uses with your own, if you want to. Do you have something I didn’t mention in the article that you use Peppermint for?