Benefits and Use of Peppermint Oil

The next few posts will be about an herb we grow commercially on our farm in Oregon. I can not bestow enough accolades for the use of peppermint whether it be the plant or the essential oil. We have grown peppermint for over 30 years on 2400 acres, grown commercially and shipped worldwide, it has to be one of the most commonly used oils in the world, but few really know the virtues of peppermint.

I and my daughter are constantly creating uses for this oil, from salves {we created a muscle salve for Hubbie after his farming accident when a water line {wheel} came down on top of him and crushed his spine. If it had not been for our German Shepherd Mountain my husband’s injuries would have been far more severe than what had initially occurred. He would have been stuck in a foot and half of the frozen ground for hour’s before our foreman found him. Mountain’s deep resounding barking caught the attention of neighbors who, thank goodness, interceded. I will always be internally grateful to our neighbors, the undaunting vigilance of Mountain and the peppermint oil that helped my husband recover.

peppermint leaves

Mentha piperita, or Peppermint as it is commonly known, is a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean but has also been cultivated in the USA, Italy, Great Britain, and Japan. It can be identified by its serrated leaves and by its flowers that range in color from light pink to mauve, growing in a conical shape.

Peppermint essential oil has been called one of the most versatile oils in the world, sharing the title with Lavender. Abounding in dermal and oral uses as well as anti-microbial properties, there are countless issues for which it is beneficial, promoting the wellness of body, mind, and overall health. The scent of Peppermint can be described as being fresh, sharp and comparable to Menthol, and the components of this multi-purpose oil are used internationally in cosmetic, culinary, and health industries.

Extracted from the Peppermint herb, the uses of this cherished plant and its benefits have been traced back to Chinese and Japanese folk medicine practices and even Ancient Egyptian times where dried Peppermint leaves were found placed in tombs inside the pyramids. Due to the common incidence of using the name Peppermint interchangeably with the terms Mint and Spearmint, there has been confusion about its history of cultivation, but ancient textual references to it prove that it has been used for culinary purposes and in herbal medicine since 1500 BC. Peppermint is also mentioned in Greek mythology in the story of the nymph “Mentha” or “Minthe,” who is transformed into the sweet-smelling herb that releases a powerful, lingering aroma every time she is stepped on.

Peppermint is one of the hundreds of species belonging to the Mint family of plants or the Mint “genus.” Included in this genus are herbs such as Spearmint, Water Mint, and Forest Mint. Peppermint is thought to be a naturally occurring hybrid of Water Mint (M. aquatica) and Spearmint (M. spicata).

peppermint oil

BENEFITS OF PEPPERMINT OIL

The main chemical constituents of Peppermint essential oil are Menthol, Menthone, and 1,8-Cineole, Menthyl acetate and Isovalerate, Pinene, Limonene, and other constituents. The most active of these components are Menthol and Menthone. Menthol is known to be analgesic and is thus beneficial for reducing pain such as headaches, muscle aches, and inflammation. Menthone is known to be analgesic as well, but it is also believed to show antiseptic activity. Its invigorating properties lend the oil its energizing effects.

Used medicinally, Peppermint essential oil has been found to eliminate harmful bacteria, relieve muscle spasms and flatulence, disinfect and soothe inflamed skin, and release muscle tension when used in a massage. When diluted with a carrier oil and rubbed into the feet, it can work as a natural effective fever reducer.

Used cosmetically or topically in general, Peppermint acts as an astringent that closes pores and tightens the skin. It’s cooling and warming sensations make it an effective anesthetic that leaves the skin numb to pain and calms redness and inflammation. It has traditionally been used as a cooling chest rub to relieve congestion, and when diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut, it can promote the safe and healthy renewal of skin, thus offering relief from skin irritations such as sunburn. In shampoos, it can stimulate the scalp while also removing dandruff.

When used in aromatherapy, Peppermint essential oil’s expectorant properties clear the nasal passageway to promote the relief of congestion and to encourage easy breathing. It is believed to stimulate circulation, reduce feelings of nervous tension, soothe feelings of irritability, boost energy, balance hormones, and enhance mental focus. The scent of this analgesic oil is believed to help relieve headaches, and its stomachic properties are known to help suppress the appetite and promote the feeling of being full. When diluted and inhaled or when rubbed in small amounts behind the ear, this digestive oil can reduce the feeling of nausea.

Due to its anti-microbial properties, Peppermint oil can also be used as a cleaning solvent to sanitize and deodorize the environment, leaving behind the trail of a fresh, cheerful scent. Not only will it disinfect surfaces, but it will also eliminate bugs in the home and function as an effective insect repellant.

Peppermint essential oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties.

COSMETIC:
Antiseptic, astringent, cordial, nervine, sudorific.

ODOROUS:
Analgesic, cephalic, cordial, decongestant, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, nervine, stimulant.

MEDICINAL:
Analgesic, anesthetic, anti-galactagogue, anti-phlogistic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cephalic, cholagogue, cordial, decongestant, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, hepatic, nervine, stimulant, stomachic, sudorific, vasoconstrictor, vermifuge.

CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY PEPPERMINT OIL

Due to its need for water, Peppermint flourishes in cool or temperate regions that are wet such as near streams or in areas with plenty of rainfall, though adequate drainage is also required. In order to produce the ideal balance of oil compounds during the growing phase, the best growing conditions would consist of warm or hot days followed by cool nights. When grown in warm climates, Peppermint can grow in partial shade or full sun. When harvested in the sun, it will be higher in oil content; however, if the growing conditions are too warm, especially at night, less desirable compounds such as highly toxic Menthofuran will form.

When 10% of the Peppermint crop is in the flowering stage, it produces the optimum oil and Menthol yield and quality. When all traces of dew disappear on a dry, sunny day, harvesting can begin. The whole Peppermint plant is cut down with the aid of conventional hay mowers. If the stems become fractured or if the leaves break, there will be lower oil yields and this will prevent the regrowth of the plants. For this reason, it is important to cut the plant neatly. More economical oil extraction is achieved through lower moisture content, so once the Peppermint is cut, it is left in the field to wilt. Afterward, it is sliced with a forage harvester into a mobile distillation pot, tub, or trailer in which it is transported to the facility for distillation.

Despite the ideal wilting conditions, Peppermint will still lose essential oil from lying in rows of dry leaves or in heaps for any amount of time. If the Peppermint is not checked, the quality and quantity of the oil could be compromised by fermentation – that is, the chemical breakdown of the Peppermint by microorganisms. In order to prevent this, some producers distill the fresh Peppermint as soon as it is cut.

HOW IS PEPPERMINT OIL EXTRACTED?

The essential oils of Peppermint are found in cells on the underside of the leaves and are collected through the process of steam distilling the fresh or partially dried plant leaves.

As with all other essential oils, Peppermint will retain stability and have a prolonged shelf life if stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight with the bottle cap tightly closed.

USES OF PEPPERMINT OIL

In a diffuser, Peppermint oil can help to enhance relaxation, concentration, memory, energy, and wakefulness.

When used topically in homemade moisturizers, the cooling and calming effects of Peppermint essential oil can relieve sore muscles. Historically, it has been used to reduce itchiness and the discomfort of inflammation, headaches, and joint pains. It can also be used to relieve the sting of sunburns.

In a diluted massage blend or bath, Peppermint essential oil is known to relieve back pain, mental fatigue, and coughs. It boosts circulation, releases the feeling of having tired feet, relieves muscular pain, cramps, and spasms, and soothes inflamed, itchy skin among other conditions.

Well-known for its anti-microbial and anti-fungal qualities, a few drops of the oil can be added to homemade spray cleaners and spritzed on areas that are particularly in need of anti-bacterial care, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Peppermint makes an effective and natural deterrent to house pests and insects.

A GUIDE TO PEPPERMINT OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

 

PEPPERMINT VARIETY & BOTANICAL NAME COUNTRY OF ORIGIN BENEFITS OF OIL
Peppermint Japanese 
(also called Cornmint)Mentha arvensis
Found in:

  • India
Believed to:

  • have the dual action of warming and cooling
  • relieve itching, inflammation, sunburn and muscle aches
  • soften skin
  • aid treatment of greasy hair/skin
Peppermint Supreme
(also called Peppermint English, Candy Mint, Mitcham Peppermint, and Black MitchamMentha piperita
Found in:

  • England (specifically, an area in Surrey called Mitcham)
  • India
Believed to:

  • relieve headaches
  • relieve mild coughing
  • focus the mind
  • improve memory

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR PEPPERMINT OIL

As per NAHA guidelines, we do not recommend the ingestion of essential oils. In low dilutions, this oil is non-toxic and thus does not irritate the skin; however, its Menthol content can potentially cause irritation to the skin and mucous membranes. It should never be used around the eyes, inner ears, and any sensitive areas. Due to its stimulant properties, using Peppermint oil daily could interfere with sleep patterns.

The following symptoms can also be the result of overdose: skin rashes, urinary problems, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, slow or rapid breathing, convulsions, depression, and in severe cases, unconsciousness.

As is the case with all essential oils, it is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using Peppermint essential oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Peppermint essential oil without the medical advice of a physician, and the oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of seven.

PEPPERMINT OIL ESSENCE…

    • Peppermint belongs to the Mint family with Spearmint, Water Mint, and Forest Mint and is a naturally occurring hybrid of Water Mint and Spearmint.
    • Peppermint essential oil is multi-purpose, earning the reputation of being one of the most versatile oils in the world along with Lavender oil.
    • The most active components of Peppermint essential oil are Menthol and Menthone, which are known to reduce pain and to invigorate, energize, and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, respectively.
    • There are numerous applications for which Peppermint essential oil can be used, including cosmetics, aromatherapy, relaxing baths, and as a cleaning agent around the house.
  • Due to its stimulant properties, using Peppermint essential oil daily could interfere with sleep patterns, and an overdose of the oil can lead to potentially severe side effects.

Energize with Peppermint Oil {Recipes}

Peppermint Essential Oil is an eminent and versatile oil that can be used on almost any part of the body for almost any ailment. The positive effects of Peppermint Oil are powerful and have beneficial impacts on interconnected body systems. It is famed for its ability to reduce pain and to stimulate, invigorate, energize, and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. It can be used in numerous body care products ranging from skin and hair care to emotional care through aromatherapy.

USING PEPPERMINT OIL IN A DIFFUSER OR ROOM SPRAY (ENERGIZE)

When used in aromatherapy, Peppermint Essential Oil’s expectorant properties clear the nasal passageway to promote the relief of congestion and to encourage easy breathing. It is believed to stimulate circulation, reduce feelings of nervous tension, soothe feelings of irritability, boost energy, balance hormones, and enhance mental focus. The scent of this analgesic oil is believed to help relieve headaches, and its stomachic properties are known to help suppress the appetite and promote the feeling of being full. When diluted and inhaled, this digestive oil can reduce the feeling of nausea.

  1. PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL ROOM SPRAY BLEND FOR ALERTNESS
Ingredient Amount
Peppermint Essential Oil 85 drops
Ginger Essential Oil 40 drops
Grapefruit Essential Oil 35 drops
Sweet Basil Essential Oil 15 drops
Pure Water 120 ml / 4 oz.

Instructions

  1. Mix all essential oils together in a spray bottle.
  2. Add water.
  3. Shake again.
  4. Spritz whenever you need a boost of energy.
  5. For best results, spray the room mist above your head 10 times. After every 2 or 3 sprays, close your eyes to avoid irritation and deeply inhale the scent to relax and feel rejuvenated.

PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSER BLEND FOR INCREASED FOCUS

Ingredient Amount
Peppermint Essential Oil 2 drops
Cinnamon Essential Oil 2 drops
Rosemary Essential Oil 1 drop

Instructions

  1. For optimal blending before adding to an electric diffuser, add all oils to a 2-mL glass bottle and roll bottle between hands.
  2. Based on the manufacturer’s instructions, add the appropriate number of drops to your diffuser.

 

  1. PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSER BLEND FOR COOLING DOWN
Ingredient Amount
Peppermint Essential Oil 4 drops
Spearmint Essential Oil 4 drops
Citronella Essential Oil 4 drops
Lemongrass Essential Oil 1 drop

Instructions

  1. For optimal blending before adding to an electric diffuser, add all oils to a 2-mL glass bottle and roll bottle between hands.
  2. Based on the manufacturer’s instructions, add the appropriate number of drops to your diffuser.

USING PEPPERMINT OIL IN A MASSAGE (RELIEVE FATIGUE)

When used in a massage, Peppermint Essential Oil has been found to eliminate harmful bacteria from the skin, relieve muscle spasms and flatulence, to disinfect and soothe inflamed skin, and to release muscle tension. When diluted with a carrier oil and rubbed into the feet, it can work as a natural fever reducer. It can effectively decrease feelings of fatigue caused by strenuous physical or mental work, stress, or a lack of restful sleep.

  1. PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL MASSAGE BLEND FOR FATIGUE RELIEF
Ingredient Amount
Peppermint Essential Oil 6 drops
Rosemary Essential Oil 5 drops
Grapefruit Essential Oil 4 drops
Carrier Oil 1 tbsp (15 ml)

Instructions

  1. Measure out the carrier oil in a container.
  2. Slowly add in the essential oils.
  3. Pour the massage oil into a dark bottle and shake well to combine.
  4. Massage the blend into the upper chest, shoulders, back of the neck, and down the back.

 

  1. PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL MASSAGE BLEND TO UPLIFT THE MOOD
Ingredient Amount
Peppermint Essential Oil 5 drops
Thyme Essential Oil 4 drops
Grapefruit Essential Oil 4 drops
Cypress Essential Oil 2 drops
Carrier Oil 1 tbsp (15 ml)

Instructions

  1. Measure out the carrier oil in a container.
  2. Slowly add in the essential oils.
  3. Pour the massage oil into a dark bottle and shake well to combine.
  4. Massage the blend into the upper chest, shoulders, back of the neck, and down the back.

 

  1. PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL MASSAGE BLEND FOR MUSCLE SORENESS
Ingredient Amount
Peppermint Essential Oil 4 drops
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil 4 drops
Thyme Essential Oil 3 drops
Ginger Essential Oil 3 drops
Lemon Essential Oil 1 drop
Carrier Oil 1 tbsp (15 ml)

Instructions

  1. Measure out the carrier oil in a container.
  2. Slowly add in the essential oils.
  3. Pour the massage oil into a dark bottle and shake well to combine.
  4. Massage the formula into the preferred muscles.

 

  1. PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL MASSAGE BLEND FOR PHYSICAL STRENGTH
Ingredient Amount
Peppermint Essential Oil 5 drops
Melissa Essential Oil 5 drops
Palmarosa Essential Oil 5 drops
Allspice Essential Oil 5 drops
Eucalyptus Essential Oil 4 drops
Lime Essential Oil 4 drops
Ginger Essential Oil 2 drops
Grapeseed Carrier Oil 2 tbsp (30 ml / 1 fl. oz.)

Instructions

  1. Measure out the carrier oil in a container.
  2. Slowly add in the essential oils.
  3. Pour the massage oil into a dark bottle and shake well to combine.
  4. Massage the formula into the preferred muscles.

USING PEPPERMINT OIL IN A BATH (BREATHE EASY & REJUVENATE)

In a diluted bath blend, Peppermint Essential Oil is known to clear nasal passages and to relieve congestion, back pain, mental fatigue, and coughs. It boosts circulation, releases the feeling of having tired feet, muscular pain, cramps, and spasms. It soothes inflamed and itchy skin, among other conditions.

  1. PEPPERMINT BATH BLEND TO BREATH MORE EASILY
Ingredient Amount
Peppermint Essential Oil 5 drops
Cajeput Essential Oil 5 drops
Eucalyptus Essential Oil 5 drops
Epsom Salt 1 cup
Carrier Oil (Grapeseed, Sweet Almond, Hazelnut, or Sesame suggested) 1 tsp (5 ml)

Instructions:

  1. Pour Epsom Salt into a clean mixing bowl.
  2. Add Essential Oil(s). Mix well.
  3. Spoon the final product into clean jars (such as canning or jam jars).
  4. When adding the salts to a bath, ensure complete dissolution in water to avoid slipping.
  5. Depending on the size of the bathtub, use between ¼ to ½ cup of this salt blend per bath.
  6. Relax in the bath and enjoy for 30 minutes.

 

  1. PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL FOOT BATH BLEND TO REJUVENATE
Ingredient Amount
Peppermint Essential Oil 4 drops
Pine Essential Oil 4 drops
Eucalyptus Essential Oil 4 drops
Carrier Oil (Grapeseed, Sweet Almond, Hazelnut, or Sesame suggested) 1 tsp (5 ml)

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients in a container and mix thoroughly.
  2. Transfer blend to a large container filled with 8 cups (2 L) of hot water or spa foot bath filled.
  3. Soak feet for 20 minutes.
  4. Towel dry and apply moisturizer.

USING PEPPERMINT OIL IN COSMETICS (PURIFY AND REFRESH)

Used cosmetically or topically in general, Peppermint Essential Oil acts as an astringent that closes pores and tightens the skin. It’s cooling and warming sensations make it an effective anesthetic that leaves the skin numb to pain and calms redness and inflammation. It has traditionally been used as a cooling chest rub to relieve congestion and, when diluted with a carrier oil, it can promote the safe and healthy renewal of skin, thus offering relief from skin irritations such as sunburn. In shampoos, it can stimulate and soothe the scalp while also removing dandruff.

  1. PEPPERMINT AND VANILLA BODY SCRUB TO SOFTEN AND PURIFY
Ingredient Amount
Dead Sea Salt 8 Tbsp
White Clay (or substitute with more Sea Salt) 2 Tbsp
Almond Oil (or substitute with Olive Oil) 6 Tbsp
Chopped Mint Leaves 2 Tbsp
Vanilla Bean Seeds From 1 Bean
Peppermint Essential Oil 10 drops
Lemon Essential Oil (or substitute with 1 tsp of Lemon Juice) 5 drops
Lemon Zest 1 Tsp

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Spoon the mixture into an air-tight glass jar.
  3. This recipe makes approximately 150 ml (5 oz.) of body scrub.
  4. Soak feet for a short period of time in bathtub or basin of water to soften and prepare skin for exfoliation.
  5. With hand, scoop out some homemade scrub and put it on feet.
  6. In a circular motion, rub homemade scrub all over feet using a scrub brush, or work it in with hands for 15-30 seconds on each foot.
  7. Soak feet in water to rinse off the scrub.
  8. Lift feet out of water and dry with a towel.
  9. Apply lotion to seal in moisture.

 

  1. HOMEMADE PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL & LEMON FACE WASH
Ingredient Amount
Water 1 cup
Bar of Unscented Glycerin Soap (Chopped) 1/5 of a bar
Lemon Essential Oil 5 drops
Peppermint Essential Oil 5 drops

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, boil the water.
  2. Remove pan from heat and stir in glycerin soap pieces until completely dissolved.
  3. Set aside to cool completely.
  4. Once cooled, add essential oils and stir gently to mix thoroughly.
  5. Using a funnel, pour face wash into a pump bottle.
  6. Remaining face wash can be stored in a covered glass jar.

 

  1. PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL & HONEY FACIAL TONER
Ingredient Amount
Honey 1 Tbsp
Warm Water 1/3 cup (78 mL / 3 fl. oz.)
Apple Cider Vinegar ¼ cup (60 mL / 2 fl. oz.)
Water 1 cup (250 mL / 8 fl. oz.)
Peppermint Essential Oil 6-8 drops

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix warm water and honey until honey completely dissolves.
  2. Stir in Water, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Peppermint Essential Oil.
  3. Using a funnel, pour face wash into a small bottle.
  4. The remaining toner can be stored in a small glass jar.
  5. For best results, use after washing face with Peppermint & Lemon Facial Wash.
  6. Apply toner to the skin using a cotton ball. Do not wash off.

 

  1. PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL LIP BALM BLEND FOR FRESH COOLNESS
Ingredient Amount
Shea Butter 1 Tsp
Vitamin E Oil 1 Tsp
Sweet Almond Oil 2 Tsp
Beeswax Pellets 2 ½ to 3 heaping tsp (or 1 ½ to 2 tsp solid Beeswax)
Peppermint Essential Oil 10 drops

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, heat Shea Butter, oils, and Beeswax on the lowest stove-top heat setting. Heating the blend too quickly could result in a gritty lip balm.
  2. Remove the blend from heat and add Peppermint Essential Oil.
  3. Pour blend into metal tins or tubes, leaving open.
  4. Allow the balm to set inside containers for 24 hours, then cover.
  5. Apply to lips.

TIPS

  • If the mixture is too thin: Simply add Beeswax pellets (or tiny bits of solid Beeswax) one at a time.
  • If the mixture is too thick: A splash of Almond Oil will help reduce thickness.
  • If mixture becomes too thick after adding Peppermint Oil (this may happen, as Peppermint EO is colder): Simply heat mixture VERY slowly over low heat until it liquefies.
  • If saucepan doesn’t pour well, use a dropper to fill lip balm containers.

 

  1. HOMEMADE PEPPERMINT SHAMPOO BLEND TO STIMULATE THE SCALP
Ingredient Amount
Coconut Milk (Homemade or Canned) ¼ cup (60 mL / 2 fl. oz.)
Liquid Castile Soap ¼ cup (60 mL / 2 fl. oz.)
Peppermint Essential Oil 20 drops
Olive or Almond Oil (Optional – for dry hair) ½ tsp

Instructions

  1. In an empty shampoo bottle, jar, or pump soap dispenser, combine all ingredients.
  2. Shake well to mix thoroughly.
  3. Keep in the shower for up to a month.
  4. Shake before each use.
  5. Use approximately 1 teaspoon every time you shampoo.

PEPPERMINT OIL ESSENCE…

    • When diffused, Peppermint Essential Oil can boost energy, clear the respiratory tract, stimulate circulation, alleviate feelings of nervous tension and stress, and soothe feelings of irritability.
    • In a massage, Peppermint Essential Oil relieves fatigue, muscle spasms, muscle tension, flatulence, and fever. It is known to disinfect and soothe inflamed skin.
    • In a bath, Peppermint Essential Oil boosts circulation, releases the feeling of tiredness, and soothes itchy skin.
  • In cosmetics, Peppermint Essential Oil brightens, clears, and tones the skin, hydrates a dry scalp and promotes hair health and growth.

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