Spearmint is a perennial herb that falls under the mint family. Also known as garden spearmint, green mint, fish mint, Our Lady's mint, spire, green, lamb, and pea, it can grow up to 3 feet long. Its leaves are around 5 to 9 cm long and 2 to 3 cm broad. The tips of its leaves are shaped like spears. Hence, its name.
Spearmint is one of at least 30 species of mint plants. It is native to the Mediterranean region but it can also be naturally found in Europe and Asia. Spearmint is primarily well-known for its culinary uses because of its flavorsome and aromatic qualities, but it also has a long history of use as a medicinal agent.
To date, it is one of the most widely recognized herbs around the world. Its uses span across various industries, including cosmetics, medicine, horticulture and, as previously mentioned, culinary.
A gentler version of peppermint, spearmint only contains 0.5% of menthol. A far cry from peppermint’s 40% of menthol composition. Hence, spearmint is a much preferred mint option for children, the elderly and those with extra sensitive skin who finds peppermint oil a tad too strong.
- A Brief Overview
- Benefits and Uses
- Antiseptic Properties
- Antifungal Properties
- Antispasmodic Properties
- Carminative Properties
- Stress Relieving Properties
- Emmenagogue Properties
- Restorative Properties
- Insecticidal Properties
- Stimulant Properties
- Fun Facts
- Commercial Uses
- How to Use Spearmint Essential Oil
A Brief Overview
Spearmint essential oil is widely known around the world. Its uses date back thousands of years and have been documented in Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, and Greek medicine. It is even mentioned in the Bible for its benefits!
The Romans were known to have brought mints into Great Britain back when they’ve conquered it. Similarly, the Englishmen took spearmint to their settlements in America in the late 1500s, where it was often used in the treatment of scurvy. In the middle ages, spearmint and mint were mixed with salt and applied directly to the wound from mad dog bites.
The uses and benefits of spearmint essential oil covers a wide range of ailments. The oil is extracted from the leaves of the spearmint herb by the conventional process of steam distillation. Its primary chemical constituents are carvone, limonene, 1,8-cineole, and β-myrcene -- chemicals that are found to be highly beneficial to one’s physical and mental health. The oil has been known to help relieve various respiratory ailments, including common colds, asthma, and sinusitis; digestive problems such as constipation, indigestion, and gas; skin and dental problems; headaches or migraines, stress and, because of its mood-boosting properties, even depression.
Benefits and Uses of Spearmint Essential Oil
Here’s a thorough rundown of the health benefits of spearmint essential oil as used both on the ancient and modern times:
1. Antiseptic Properties
Antiseptics are antimicrobial substances that inhibit the growth of bacteria and therefore reduce the chances of infections occurring on the skin or on wounds and cuts. We often depend on store-bought antiseptics, but the problem with these over-the-counter antiseptic creams and soaps is that they contain ingredients that are harmful to our skin in the long run. In 2016, the US Food & Drug Administration issued a rule that confirmed that over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products contain ingredients that can no longer be marketed. In other words, they’re harmful.
The caryophyllene, myrcene, and menthol in the spearmint essential oil give it its antiseptic properties. In a study published by the Journal of Microbiology Research, spearmint oil was proven to be an essential antimicrobial and antiseptic agent. It has demonstrated high inhibitory and antimicrobial effects on Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Aspergillus niger and Candida albicans.
The great thing about spearmint is that it is “Generally Regarded as Safe” for ingestion according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Hence, it is great as well for helping treat internal wounds and infections including those along the digestive tract (mouth, stomach, and intestine). However, it should only be taken with the aid of a professional aromatherapist or after consulting with a physician.
If you’re dealing with ulcers or have been wounded, applying spearmint essential oil can do wonders for you. Wounds can be especially dangerous because they can quickly become infected. Not only will the spearmint essential oil help protect your wound or ulcer from infections, it will help you heal faster and relieve all the wound’s associated pain. What’s even better is that it’s a completely natural antiseptic and will induce no side effects at all when used correctly.
2. Antifungal Properties
Fungal infections are nasty. They are caused by various types of fungi including yeast and dermatophytes. Fungal skin infections are often associated with rashes and a lot of itching.
In a study published by the Journal of Essential Oil Research, Spearmint Essential Oil was found to have significant effect to the inhibition of five pathogenic fungi: Aspergillus niger, Mucor mucedo, Fusarium solani, Botryodiplodia theobromae and Rhizopus solani.
During ancient times, the Greeks used spearmint to help treat fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and other infectious or transmittable diseases such as scabies, syphilis, and gonorrhea.
3. Antispasmodic Properties
Spasms can be very painful and bothersome! It can affect muscles in various parts of your body and can occur for a variety of reasons. Spasms aren’t usually a long-term issue, but it can be extremely annoying when it takes its toll on your everyday life, making it more difficult to do everyday activities properly.
The menthol that spearmint essentially contains gives it its antispasmodic properties. It acts as a relaxant and is great for the muscles and nerves in your body. The cooling and relaxing effect of the menthol in spearmint helps relieve spasmodic coughs, body aches, pain from muscle pulls, muscle cramps, pain in the abdominal region, pain in the intestinal region and even pain from spasmodic cholera.
Whatever discomfort you have, whether it’s from a hard day’s work, a trip to the gym or just a bad stomach cramp from eating too much, spearmint essential oil can offer you some measure of relief.
4. Carminative Properties
Flatulence is not usually a big problem, but sometimes, it can get a little more severe than expected and become uncontrollable, causing pain or a bloated feeling in the abdominal region. Carminatives help in preventing the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract and also help easily release the gas that is present.
Spearmint essential oil is a natural carminative. Its relaxing properties can help soothe problems in the intestine and abdominal region and facilitate a smoother passing of gases from the stomach and intestines. It also helps relieve stomach aches, indigestion, cramps and other uncommon issues such as loss of appetite, restless feeling, insomnia, chest pain, headaches, and vomiting. Forget all those laboratory-made digestive pills, just grab some spearmint essential oil to keep your digestive system running smoothly and free of pain!
5. Stress Relieving Properties
Stress is a bigger problem than society acknowledges. Whether it’s temporary, circumstantial or chronic, stress can sometimes be too overwhelming that it disrupts us from carrying out our daily functions in life just because our mind is just not “into it” and our bodies follow suit. Stress is especially common among city dwellers due to the highly robotic and hectic lifestyle that they often have. Busy weekdays and heavy traffic could easily trigger stress. Stress affects a lot of people, not just adults, and it is an alarming problem that needs to be addressed more seriously rather than merely being brushed off as something that a good night’s sleep can fix.
Spearmint essential oil is a natural stress reliever. When inhaled, the scent receptors in the brain’s emotional powerhouse process the smell as calming, allowing the brain and body to relax and thereby ease feelings of stress and nervousness. The scent of spearmint essential oil can also help with concentration problems, relieve stress-related headaches and other similar neural problems that occur for the same reason.
Feeling a bit under the weather? Depressed? Spearmint essential oil is also a mood booster! Inhaling the aroma of the spearmint oil is known to help induce positive thoughts and feelings, and fight any feelings of anxiety or nervousness. We all have days when we’re feeling down. Aromatherapy with some spearmint essential oil is a great way to lift your spirits up. This is one of the properties of the oil that exhibits its ability to be beneficial to both body and mind.
So the next time you’re feeling blue, anxious, nervous or just need a little bit of a boost in concentration and overall happiness, diffuse some spearmint essential oil in your room or just drop a few diluted drops in your hand and inhale as you rub it between your palms. Lay your head down, relax, take it all in, indulge and let the oil do its magic.
6. Emmenagogue Properties
Menstruation is a regular part of a lady’s life. It usually occurs without any major complications (except for the unlucky chosen ones) but it can be uncomfortable at times even for those with a normal menstrual flow. Regardless if it’s a cramp, fatigue or heavy and atypical bleeding, menstrual problems are a nightmare for any woman.
Spearmint essential oil has the properties of an emmenagogue and hence promotes the secretion of estrogen which helps maintain the health of the uterus. This allows the oil to deal with issues associated with menstruation such as early menopause, irregularities with periods or blocked menses and other problems such as feelings of pain in the abdomen and feelings of nausea or fatigue.
7. Restorative Properties
Our bodies are far from simple. It contains various organs and systems that all coordinate and work together to keep us healthy. Any problems with any part or system in our body can affect the rest of the entire network of systems and your general health. This is why it’s important to make sure every system in our body, whether it’s the respiratory or digestive system, is well-maintained.
Spearmint essential oil is a natural and powerful restorative, which means that when your general health isn’t that great, it can help restore its balance and bring you back to being healthy again. The oil helps maintain the general functions of organs and other systems that keep you going in the body to ensure that everything is in top shape. If your body has faced any health issues or injuries, the oil can help repair the damages. When we are in a state of bad health, we tend to be more susceptible to illnesses and sometimes just feel sick in general; spearmint oil is great for helping you recover from such feelings and in rejuvenating one’s health.
8. Insecticidal Properties
Our homes are sacred to us all, especially on the weekends after a rough and stressful week at work. When we’re in our homes, we want to be comfortable and in a state of relaxation, the time spent indoors is really important and we don’t want any disturbances. One of the biggest disturbances when in the house (in our opinion) is insects. Those dreadful flying or crawling creatures that always seem to get on our nerves all the time and invade the sanctity of our houses!
We all usually use aerosol sprays to either kill or repel any insects or mosquitoes. What we often forget to consider is the fact that these sprays contain lots of chemicals, many of which are harmful not just to us but to our environment as well. When sprayed indoors, we are all exposing our bodies and our lungs to these potentially harmful chemicals. If more people were aware of essential oils like spearmint oil, which has insecticidal properties, they would be able to opt for a natural and harmless solution to get rid of any insects from their houses.
Spearmint essential oil is a great insect repellant and is also an ingredient in many insect repellent creams. The best part is, you could use the oil whichever way you want. You can spray the diluted oil in the affected areas or you can apply it blended with a carrier agent onto your skin so you can ensure no bugs land on you. Spearmint oil is a completely organic essential oil that brings no baggage of any harm with it.
9. Stimulant Properties
The oil is also a well-known stimulant. It can help stimulate the circulation of blood in your body and aids in the free flow of oxygen. Moreover, it stimulates the secretion of important hormones, digestive enzymes, gastric juices and bile, thereby increasing your metabolic rate and boosting your immune system.
10. Fun Facts
- The spearmint herb from which we extract the potent oil from is native to Europe, but it’s highly popular across the world and is also largely cultivated in the USA and in Asia.
- Ancient Greeks were known to bathe in water containing spearmint oil. It was not only for its cooling and refreshing effect and aromatic scent, it was also because the oil was known to cure sexually transmitted diseases or sexually transmitted infections. Yep, even the Ancient Greeks were worried about STDs!
- During the Middle Ages which was between the 5th and the 15th century, markets and other such public places would have spearmint leaves on the floor; this was done to symbolize good health and to repel any rodents that might try to enter and invade the place.
- Even back then, the herb was also a popular solution for various dental problems, including gum problems. Today, spearmint is a fairly popular additive to toothpaste and chewing gum, and it is perhaps most famous as an ingredient in Wrigley’s Spearmint chewing gum.
- You can blend spearmint oil with a bunch of other essential oils including Lemon Essential Oil, Bergamot Essential Oil, Grapefruit Essential Oil and Lavender Essential Oil for a variety of uses.
- The current largest producer of spearmint essential oil in the world is the capital city of the United States of America, Washington DC.
- In Tennessee and other Southern parts of the USA, spearmint is considered as an invasive weed. In contrast, it is considered as a cash crop in the agricultural industry in the Northern Plain states and some parts of the Midwest.
- In Greek Mythology, Minthe was said to be a beautiful wood nymph whom Hades developed affection for. Enraged, Persephone (Hades’ wife) turned Minthe into a plant that people would step on and crush. Hades came to her rescue, but unable to reverse the spell, Hades made Minthe smell good so that she will always be noticed and not be taken for granted.
- In the Bible, mint was held in such high regard that it was used as tithes by Pharisees along with anise and cumin.
- Aristotle disallowed the use of mints by soldiers before going into battle as it may lower their eagerness to fight.
11. Commercial Uses
Aside from its wide array of therapeutic uses, the spearmint oil also has a few commercial uses up its sleeves.
- As the oil is known for its antiseptic uses, it can make an effective antiseptic cleaning agent.
- It is also a great organic insect and rodent repellent.
- As mentioned, the oil’s flavorsome and aromatic fragrant makes it a great culinary ingredient.
How To Use Spearmint Essential Oil
Place a few diluted drops on your hands or use an essential oil diffuser. It can help relieve irritation in your lungs and expel mucus in your nose and throat. Its cool fragrance can also enhance mood and concentration and soothe mental stress.
Adding a few drops in your bath water can help relieve muscle pains and fatigue. It can also be invigorating.
Use in conjunction with your go-to massage oil, or make this your go-to massage oil to help relieve muscle spasms.
Apply a diluted solution on insect bites and other skin conditions. Spearmint oil is also known to help treat acne.
With the aid of a professional aromatherapist, the oil can be ingested to help treat problems in the digestive system.
The use of essential oils, in general, should always be taken with some precaution. It is prescribed that you dilute spearmint essential oil first with carrier oils like coconut oil, grapeseed oil, evening primrose oil or almond oil before using to prevent skin irritations. It is also advised to conduct a skin patch test prior to extensive topical use to ensure that you are not sensitive to any of the chemical components of spearmint essential oil. To do this, apply the oil to a small area of your skin and observe for any unwanted effects such as a burning sensation or irritation in the applied area.
Pregnant and nursing women must avoid using spearmint oil because of its emmenagogue properties. The oil promotes the secretion of estrogen which, if complications occur, may lead to miscarriage. Overexposure to the oil may also be harmful and can cause skin irritation, emotional imbalance, lightheadedness, nausea, and headache. It is imperative that you consult with a physician or a professional aromatherapist before using spearmint oil for its medicinal properties.
Did you know you can also luxuriate while you help your digestive system do its job with better ease? For that, all you’ll need are:
- 12 drops of spearmint essential oil
- 7 drops of bergamot essential oil
- 6 drops of sage essential oil
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
- 1/2 cup almond oil
- 2 tablespoons beeswax
- 1/2 tablespoon vitamin E oil
- Over a double boiler, melt the beeswax. While that’s happening, gradually add in the vitamin E oil, grapeseed oil, and almond oil, stirring as you go.
- After these ingredients have been incorporated smoothly, remove from heat and let it cool for about three minutes.
- Add the pre-blended essential oils and stir it in thoroughly.
- Transfer the resulting mixture into an airtight glass jar. Allow it to set for at least two hours, then you can use the salve to massage your stomach whenever it’s needed.
Some over-the-counter chest rubs can be so strongly formulated that not everyone can tolerate it. For a gentler yet still-effective way to ease various symptoms of cold, gather together:
- 4 tbsps virgin coconut oil
- ½ tbsp beeswax pellets
- 15 drops of spearmint essential oil
- 10 drops of sage essential oil
- 5 drops of fir essential oil
- Glass salve jar
- Over a double boiler, combine the coconut oil and beeswax and stir gently until everything’s melted.
- Once you’ve arrived at a smooth consistency, remove the mixture from heat and allow it to cool for several minutes.
- Blend in the essential oil thoroughly and transfer everything to the salve jar. Close the lid tightly when not in use, and use a spoon or q-tips when taking a measure to protect it from germ contamination.
- Apply over the chest, throat, or aching limbs as needed. For best results, add or increase spearmint essential oil drops.
- Add 1 - 2 drops of Spearmint oil to your diffuser.
- Pour in ¼ to ½ cup of distilled water to disperse the oil.
- Run the diffuser for 30 to 60 minutes to stimulate your brain and improve mental capacity.
- Add 2 - 3 drops of Spearmint essential oil to 10 ml of carrier oil (Jojoba, Coconut or Fractionated Coconut Oil) and mix them well in a glass bottle.
- Apply 1 - 2 drops of this blend to your forehead, temples, back of neck, throat and chest to help you feel calm whenever you’re overly stressed.
- You can also use this as a headache relief by massaging your temples with this dilution.
Check out a variety of essential oils you can use in these recipes here in Our Shop.
Although spearmint is a bit less popular than its cousin peppermint, spearmint essential oil is still among the most useful and beneficial of all essential oils. More often than not, its various uses is overshadowed by mass-produced products. Many times, due to the lack of knowledge about natural solutions, we blindly choose to resolve our physical or mental problems with pharmaceutical drugs that may come with side effects. In the case of repelling mosquitoes, we’re quick to grab a bottle of aerosol to get rid of insects, but we forget the harm those chemicals in the air can cause to our body and our lungs when we breathe. The many benefits and uses of spearmint essential oil are definitely something we should be more aware of so that we can apply it to our daily lives.
Aroma Foundry offers 100% Pure and All Natural Spearmint Essential Oil. Made in the USA, you can completely trust that our Spearmint Essential Oil is of the highest quality.
- “Everything You Need to Know About Spearmint Oil” Essential Oils Informer, http://essentialoilsinformer.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-spearmint-oil/.
- “Spearmint Essential Oil: Uses, Benefits, and Precautions” Sustainable Baby Steps, http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/spearmint-essential-oil.html.
- “Spearmint” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spearmint.
- “10 Surprising Benefits Of Spearmint Essential Oil” Organic Facts, https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/spearmint-essential-oil.html.
- “Spearmint Plants – Spearmint Essential Oil” Experience Essential Oils, http://www.experience-essential-oils.com/spearmint-plants.html.
- “Spearmint essential oil information” Esoteric Oils, http://essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/spearmint.htm
- “Spearmint Oil: The Gentler Mint Oil” Mercola, http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/spearmint-oil.aspx
- “Chemical Composition, and Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activities of Essential Oil of Spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) From Pakistan”, Journal of Essential Oil Research, http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/48216662/chemical-composition-antioxidant-antimicrobial-activities-essential-oil-spearmint-mentha-spicata-l-from-pakistan.
- “11 Proven Spearmint Essential Oil Benefits”, Healthy Focus, https://healthyfocus.org/spearmint-essential-oil-benefits/.
- “Phytochemical Analysis of Local Spearmint (Mentha spicata) Leaves and Detection of the Antimicrobial Activity of its Oil”, Journal of Microbiology Research, https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/46cc/ad60ba0a2e57b2013839903649f558dca509.pdf
- “Spearmint”, Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, https://www.encyclopedia.com/plants-and-animals/plants/plants/spearmint.