Peppermint oil has a long history. Not only does it make food taste and smell good, it also has a surprising number of health benefits. It’s definitely a good thing to have on hand if you’re feeling a bit under the weather, or if you just want to put a refreshing twist on a classic dessert. If used properly, peppermint oil can be a great addition to your household.
- The Basics of Peppermint Oil
- Uses and Benefits
- Preventing or reducing bad breath
- Treating headaches and migraines
- Treating acne
- Preventing and treating bug bites and itches
- Promoting hair growth
- Inhibiting the spread of cancer
- Clearing up sinuses and other respiratory issues
- Treating digestive problems
- Managing stress
- Soothing muscle soreness, spasms, and pain
- Rejuvenating your mind
- Treating herpes
- Cleaning surfaces around the house
- Killing aphids on plants
- Suppressing hunger and enabling weight loss
- Peppermint mouthwash
- Peppermint facial toner
- Peppermint insect repellent
- Peppermint household cleaner
Interestingly, peppermint (Mentha x piperita) isn’t actually a plant species in itself. Instead, it’s a hybrid of watermint and spearmint, two different species of mint. However, though peppermint has benefited humans for a very long time, it actually took a while for it to be recognized and identified.
There is evidence to suggest that peppermint has been used for thousands of years. It was found in ancient Egyptian tombs, and was also used by ancient Greeks and Romans to soothe stomach problems. However, it was recognized and documented as a distinct kind of mint plant only relatively recently when the famed botanist Carl Linnaeus catalogued it in 1753.
Since then, Western Europeans in particular began using peppermint to treat a variety of symptoms, such as nausea, morning sickness, and menstrual pain. In more modern times, peppermint has also been found to be good for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), though many other health claims still need scientific evidence to back them up. Still, peppermint oil has various topical uses in traditional medicine, including the relief of body pains and itching.
The Basics of Peppermint Oil
The peppermint plant is indigenous to Europe and the Middle East. However, it can now be grown and harvested in other places, such as North America and Asia. In fact, the United States now actually leads the world in peppermint production, and is responsible for up to 75% of all peppermint produced in the world.
Chemically, peppermint is high in menthol. It also contains compounds such as menthone, menthyl acetate, and 1,8-cineole. Menthol and menthone in particular are antiseptic, anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral.
Peppermint can also be consumed in a variety of ways. You can make peppermint tea with the leaves, and you can also use peppermint oil, oil capsules, and tablets. The capsules and tablets are usually coated in a substance called enteric, which helps prevent the peppermint oil from causing heartburn. These capsules are usually what people use to treat IBS.
If you’re interested in buying peppermint oil, however, you will need to be careful before making a purchase. While the more affordable essential oils may seem to be the smarter financial choice, some of them are actually fake.
Fake essential oils may have been mixed with “extenders,” which are typically cheaper natural oils. These counterfeit essential oils and do not offer much, if any, of the helpful properties that real essential oils contain. Also, you likely won’t consume much of the essential oil each time you use it anyway. Thus, spending a little more on a bottle of high-quality essential oils is well worth the expense.
Aroma Foundry can be your trusted source for real essential oils. We bottle our oils in California and have strict sourcing controls. Learn more about our how we ensure the quality of our essential oils by checking out Our Process.
Uses and Benefits
With such a long history, it’s not surprising that the peppermint plant has so many uses. The uses of peppermint oil in particular, however, is actually surprising. These are 15 ways in which you can make the most of a bottle of high-quality peppermint oil.
Preventing or reducing bad breath
According to a study done conducted by the Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry, peppermint has been scientifically proven to be able to help reduce bad breath significantly. You can even produce your own homemade peppermint toothpaste or peppermint mouthwash with just a couple of drops of peppermint oil. Who knows? Maybe your DIY toothpaste and mouthwash can even produce better results than their store-bought counterparts.
If you’re interested in making your own homemade peppermint mouthwash, you can learn how to do so in the recipes section below.
Treating headaches and migraines
One of peppermint’s many natural healing properties is pain relief. You can use a bit of peppermint oil to help soothe aching muscles, tension headaches, and other types of body pain. Simply massage a drop or two of peppermint oil into the intended area and massage the oil into the skin.
Before doing that, however, you need to remember that essential oils may cause skin irritation. Thus, it’s best to take just a couple of drops of peppermint oil to apply to your skin. You should also avoid applying peppermint oil to the face and chest of babies and small children, because they may inhale the menthol in the oil. This can cause serious side effects that can be avoided by handling peppermint oil with care.
Peppermint oil can also help reduce the redness or inflammation caused by acne. The oil can reduce sebum production in parts of your face like your nose or forehead. This results in fewer clogged pores, which in turn can produce less acne.
If you intend to use peppermint oil to treat acne, make sure that you use high-quality oils. Oils of lower quality are often not medicinal or therapeutic grade and may simply be meant to be used in perfumes and fragrances. These cheap oils can irritate or even damage your skin. Thus, spending a few extra bucks on a bottle of high-quality peppermint oil may well be worth it.
There is also a recipe for peppermint facial toner below if you’re interested in adding some refreshing peppermint to your beauty regimen.
Preventing and treating bug bites and itches
According to studies conducted by the Hainan Medical University, just a few drops of peppermint oil combined with carrier oil can treat bug bites and various other itches. Peppermint oil is already a natural repellent of insects such as mosquitos, flies, ticks, and spiders.
Since pure peppermint oil can irritate the skin, make sure to use it with a carrier oil if you want it to function as an insect repellent. There’s a recipe below if you’re interested in making your own peppermint insect repellent. It’s actually really easy to do, and the ingredients you need might already be in your kitchen.
Using the homemade insect repellent is also very easy. Just rub the mixture on the exposed parts of your skin, and you should be set against insects for the day. Peppermint oil may just be a vital part of your next camping trip.
Promoting hair growth
Another study conducted in Korea found that peppermint oil can stimulate hair growth as well as function as a natural remedy for hair loss. If you’re still struggling with your hair even though you’ve already tried all the shampoos and remedies out there, peppermint oil is definitely worth a shot. You can add the oil to your shampoo not just to promote hair growth, but also to increase fragrance and promote blood circulation. Peppermint oil can also help treat an irritated scalp, dandruff, and even head lice.
Inhibiting the spread of cancer
Recent studies conducted in the US and Japan have shown that one of peppermint’s most active organic compounds, menthol, is effective in exerting “cytotoxic activity against several cancer cell types”. Basically, this means that menthol is effective in killing the cells of certain types of cancer. Some of these cancer cell types treated by peppermint oil include prostate cancer, breast cancer, and leukemia. These new studies are the main driving force behind peppermint oil’s increasing popularity, and more research is currently underway to discover more types of cancers that peppermint can help treat.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are also cytotoxic. However, using peppermint oil may augment efforts in treating cancer. Of course, patients should make sure to confer with their doctors before adding other kinds of cancer treatment to their regimen, since peppermint oil may interfere with certain medications.
Clearing up sinuses and other respiratory issues
When the flu season hits, it takes a lot to make sure that you stay healthy. Still, sometimes even the best of us can’t keep those bugs away.
Unfortunately, there are so many things that can affect our respiratory system. Asthma, allergies, and other conditions can cause a number of issues, such as stuffy noses and clogged sinuses. In these cases, peppermint oil can be useful in helping clear up those noses and sinuses and allowing us to breathe easy again.
There are many ways to use peppermint oil in treating respiratory issues. You can inhale its aroma from the bottle, put the oil in a diffuser, and or mix it with boiled water and inhale the steam.
Treating digestive problems
Peppermint oil has anesthetic and antiseptic properties. This means that not only can peppermint oil help reduce pain, it can also help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
According to studies also conducted at Hainan Medical University, peppermint’s antiseptic properties can be used to treat digestive problems such as IBS and bloating. Menthol, one of the components of peppermint oil, has properties that can prevent the growth of bacteria as well as the occurrence of inflammation.
It’s important to remember that you should not ingest pure peppermint oil, especially in high doses. If you’re using peppermint oil to treat digestive issues, you can apply a couple of drops to your abdominal area and massage the oil into your skin, but do not ingest the oil itself. You can take peppermint oil in capsule or tablet form to help relieve the symptoms of IBS, but make sure that the pills are coated with enteric.
Stress is unfortunately a fact of life. However, that doesn’t mean that we have to constantly live with it. There are a lot of ways to deal with stress, but using essential oils may be one of the simplest. Peppermint oil in particular can relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.
It doesn’t even take a lot for peppermint oil to work its magic. Even just the aroma of peppermint oil can help you relax and bring down your stress levels. You can also use the oil with a diffuser, or simply inhale directly from the bottle.
Soothing muscle soreness, spasms, and pain
As you already know, peppermint’s anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties can be used to help soothe a wide variety of muscle problems. When peppermint oil is massaged into affected areas, it can disperse lactic acid, which is the main culprit behind muscle soreness and pain. Additionally, the smell of peppermint can increase blood circulation throughout your body, which can then increase the rate of recovery within your muscles.
Rejuvenating your mind
While the aroma of peppermint oil can relax you, it can also rejuvenate you. If you’re stuck doing overtime at the office and you’re too stressed and tired to do much more work, a whiff of peppermint can be just what you need. Peppermint oil has been shown to wake you up and increase your mental focus when its aroma is inhaled. This certainly beats getting your nth can of that sugar-loaded energy drink for the day. Whether you’re trying to wake up in the morning or jumpstart your brain during overtime, peppermint oil is an excellent option.
In a study conducted in 2003, peppermint oil was shown to heavily affect and treat the herpes simplex virus type 1 and herpes simplex virus type 2. Peppermint oil is thus an effective and extremely cost-efficient method to naturally treat the herpes virus, which can be otherwise drug-resistant to high-cost alternatives.
However, if you’re dealing with the herpes virus, do not use peppermint oil as a form of treatment without consulting your doctor first.
Cleaning surfaces around the house
Peppermint oil can be a great addition to a homemade, all-natural cleaning solution. The combination of its antiseptic properties and its fresh minty smell can produce a great spray that you can use to clean various areas around the house. Check out the recipes section below to learn how to make a simple peppermint cleaning spray.
You can use the spray on your kitchen counters, the bathroom floors, and other surfaces where bacteria may proliferate. This certainly beats using store-bought household cleaning products, which have a strong chemical smell that can irritate you, members of your family, or your pets.
Let’s not forget that peppermint is also a natural insect repellent, which means that a peppermint oil spray can make your house smell clean and fresh, kill bacteria, and keep bugs away.
Killing aphids on plants
Not only is a peppermint solution good for the inside of your house, it can also work well outdoors in your garden. As every gardener knows, you have to contend with plant-eating insects called aphids if you want to give your plants the best care. While you can buy aphid-repellent products to control the little critters and keep them from wreaking havoc on your garden, you can also make your own all-natural solution with peppermint oil and water. With this homemade solution, you can be sure that you won’t be spraying your plants with an unknown and potentially harmful chemical.
Suppressing hunger and enabling weight loss
Sticking to a weight loss plan can be tough, and sometimes we need all the help that we can get. By now, it should come as no surprise that peppermint oil can also be a vital addition to your weight loss plan.
If you’re having trouble managing the amount of food you consume, peppermint oil can help. The aroma of peppermint oil can lead to reduced cravings and hunger, which is perfect for those having trouble saying no to a second serving at dinner. The smell of peppermint can help conceal cravings for food, and therefore make you eat less. Peppermint oil can therefore offer a simple, inexpensive, and stress-free solution to your cravings.
However, if you’ve somehow gotten too much peppermint oil on your skin and these skin reactions occur, don’t panic. These reactions are completely normal. One important thing to remember if you experience adverse reactions to peppermint or other essential oils, however, is that these oils are not water-soluble. Thus, rinsing the affected area with water is not effective, and can even make the problem worse because water can spread the oil to a larger area. Instead, rinse the area with a type of carrier oil, like olive or coconut oil.Although peppermint oil has a lot of benefits, it does need to be handled with care. Peppermint oil, along with other essential oils, are highly concentrated. Thus, when applying more than two to three drops of peppermint oil onto skin, make sure to combine the peppermint oil with carrier oil. This is to avoid skin irritation, redness, dermatitis, and other forms of allergic reactions.
Just a little peppermint oil can already go a long way, so make sure to use peppermint oil in low amounts. Remember to avoid using peppermint oil on children under the age of 7.
Please make sure consult your doctor before using peppermint oil. You may have an adverse reaction to the oil, or it may conflict with current medication. Do not use peppermint oil if you have diabetes, a hiatus hernia, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or if you are taking cyclosporine, stomach acid-reducing drugs, antacids, and drugs for diabetes, hypertension, and high blood pressure.
You also need to make sure to avoid using more peppermint oil than necessary or recommended. An overdose of peppermint oil can lead to breathing issues, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, blood in urine, no urine production, convulsions, depression, dizziness, twitching, unconsciousness, uncoordinated movement, and flushing.
Studies have found that peppermint oil should not be used on pregnant women, because it has been shown to reduce overall milk production. In fact, many other essential oils are risky to use while pregnant. Thus, pregnant women should definitely consult a physician before using any kind of essential oil.
Peppermint may be better known as flavoring for food, but peppermint oil can transform and elevate common household and beauty products that may contain harsh and harmful chemicals. If you’re curious about how peppermint oil can help you start moving away from these store-bought products, check out the recipes below to get a more concrete look at how you can use this essential oil.
The website Living the Nourished Life has a great recipe for a homemade mouthwash that contains peppermint oil. Some of the ingredients may be hard to find in your local stores, but you have the option of buying them online. Here are the ingredients:
- 2 teaspoons calcium carbonate powder
- 10 drops of liquid stevia
- 10 drops concentrated trace minerals liquid
- 10 drops peppermint essential oil
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
- 5 drops spearmint essential oil
- 2 cups of filtered water
Mix the calcium and the liquid stevia in a glass bowl before adding the trace minerals liquid and the essential oils. Add the filtered water and stir all the ingredients together.
Before you start this recipe, make sure that you have a clean glass bottle on hand and that it is big enough to contain the entire mixture.
Pour the mixture into the bottle. Make sure that you’ve closed the lid tightly before shaking the bottle for 30 to 60 seconds.
Et voila! You have your homemade mouthwash. To be safe, you may have to store the bottle in the refrigerator. Also make sure that the mixture won’t last longer than two weeks.
Peppermint facial toner
You can easily find facial cleansers and toners in most stores, but the problem is that many of these products may be too harsh for your skin. Thus, you may want to try a gentle, homemade facial toner made with natural ingredients that you put together yourself.
Usually, these homemade toners call for the use of apple cider vinegar, distilled water, and an essential oil. Here are ingredient proportions to start you off:
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup filtered or distilled water
- 20 drops of peppermint oil
Now, 20 drops of peppermint oil may seem like a lot, even with the apple cider vinegar and water to dilute it. A safer choice may be to start with fewer drops and simply adding more. Some websites recommend up to 50 drops of peppermint oil, but it’s best not to start with that many drops right away.
Mix the apple cider vinegar and water in a glass spray bottle, then add the peppermint oil. You can mist your face with toner a few times a day, but make sure to do so in the morning and at night after you’ve cleansed your face.
Peppermint insect repellent
Outdoor activities like camping and hiking can be fun, but getting eaten alive by mosquitoes can certainly put a damper on the experience. Making a bottle of homemade insect repellent with peppermint oil can actually be simple: you can mix about 500 mL of olive or coconut oil with a few drops of peppermint oil, then slather the mixture onto your skin. Just remember that it’s best to use coconut oil if you’re in a warmer climate, since it begins to solidify at temperatures lower than 76 degrees F. Otherwise, you’re better off using olive oil.
Remember: do not use peppermint oil on its own, especially if you’re ingesting it or putting more than a couple of drops directly on your skin. Make sure to use dilute the peppermint oil in olive oil, coconut oil, or other carrier oils.
Peppermint household cleaner
Household cleaning products can often have this harsh smell that’s kind of reminiscent of those public gas station bathrooms you use when you’re on a road trip. It’s the smell of cleanliness, sure, but it can also hit you in the throat like a sucker punch.
Fortunately, that smell isn’t a price you have to pay for keeping the harmful microbes in your house under control. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- ¼ cup vinegar
- 15 drops of peppermint oil
- 15 drops of lemon oil
Take a glass spray bottle and mix all three ingredients together. Spray it on your kitchen counters, bathroom walls, toilet, and sink to disinfect them. Instead of that irritating chemical smell that store-bought household cleaning products give off, your house will smell minty and lemony fresh.
Peppermint oil is an extremely useful item to have in your household. It is a jack of all trades in a sense, as it contains many properties and ingredients that can help resolve different issues. Not only does it add a great flavor and aroma to food, it can also serve as a vital ingredient in concoctions that can replace common household and beauty products.
Still, it’s important to be mindful of the side effects that come with using peppermint and other essential oils. Make sure that you do not ingest peppermint oil or apply it onto your skin in high quantities, especially when undiluted in carrier oil.
Interested in using peppermint oil? Aroma Foundry has got you covered. All of Aroma Foundry’s essential oils are hand-bottled in California and ethically sourced from their native countries and states to give you the best product available on the market. If you are interested in reading about other essential oils, click here.
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