History: Peppermint (Mentha piperita) has a strong, clean, fresh, minty aroma. One of the oldest and most highly regarded herbs for soothing digestion, it may also restore digestive efficiency.* Jean Valnet MD studied peppermint's supportive effect on the liver and respiratory systems. Other scientists have also researched peppermint's role in improving taste and smell when inhaled. Dr. William N. Dember of the University of Cincinnati studied peppermint's ability to improve concentration and mental sharpness. Alan Hirsch MD studied peppermint's ability to directly affect the brain's satiety center, which triggers a sensation of fullness after meals. This powerful essential oil is often diluted before topical application. Peppermint may also be used to enhance the flavor of food and water.
Characteristics: Peppermint is a cross between watermint and spearmint and is native to Europe. Historically, the herb has been known for its medicinal uses. Hence it is often termed as the world’s oldest medicine.
Clinical Studies: Unlike many other herbs and essential oils, numerous health benefits of peppermint and peppermint oil have been studied and proved by the scientific community. As a result, peppermint oil is also sold in the form of capsules and tablets.
Peppermint oil contains numerous minerals and nutrients including manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium, folate, potassium, and copper. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
- Indigestion: Peppermint oil is very helpful in digestion. Often people put a few drops of peppermint oil in a glass of water and drink it after their meal due to its digestive properties. It is carminative and therefore helps in removing gas. Peppermint oil is a good tonic for those who have a low appetite. It also helps during motion sickness and upset stomach. Preliminary research has proved that peppermint oil in the combination of caraway oil can be used for treating heartburns.
- Clean Shining TeethDental Care: Peppermint oil, due to its antiseptic properties, is useful for dental care. It removes bad breath and helps teeth and gums deal with germs. No wonder, it is added in numerous toothpastes. It is also useful for treating toothaches.
- Respiratory Problems: Menthol, which is present in abundance in peppermint oil, helps in clearing the respiratory tract. It is an effective expectorant and therefore provides instantaneous, though temporary, relief in numerous respiratory problems including nasal congestion, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, cold and cough. As a result, it is used in numerous cold rubs. When these cold rubs are rubbed on the chest, they remove nasal and respiratory congestion immediately.
- Nausea and Headache: Peppermint oil is a good home remedy for nausea and headache. Applying peppermint oil in diluted form on the forehead is known to remove headache.
- Stress: Like most other essential oils, peppermint is able to provide relief from stress, depression and mental exhaustion due to its refreshing nature. It is also effective against anxiety and restlessness.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome: The muscle relaxing property of peppermint oil has been found to ease IBS. This has been validated through preliminary scientific research though the exact mechanism is still unknown.
- Antispasmodic: Peppermint oil is very effective for gastroscopy, colonoscopy and during double-contrast barium enema. It is applied intraluminally. Further benefits of peppermint oil due to its antispasmodic properties are being studied.
- Urinary Tract Infection: Peppermint oil can be used for treating urinary tract infection (UTI). However, thorough scientific studies are yet to be conducted to confirm this.
- Pain Relief: Peppermint oil can be used externally for providing relief from pain. It is believed that the presence of calcium antagonism in peppermint oil aids in removing pain. It is cooling in nature and therefore helps reduce fever.
- Immune System: Peppermint oil increases your immunity to diseases and therefore helps you in preventing a number of diseases.
- Blood Circulation: It also improves blood circulation.
- Hair Care: Peppermint oil is very useful for hair care as it gives a cooling effect to the head, and removes dandruff and lice.
- Skin Care: Peppermint oil contains Menthol, which is good for skin. It gives a cooling effect. Further it nourishes dull skin and improves oily skin
Mode of Administration: Aroma lamp, bath, compress, diffusor, gargle, inhaler, light bulb ring, lotion, massage, mist spray, mouthwash, salve, steam inhalation, toothpaste
Safety: Possible skin sensitivity. If pregnant or under a doctor's care, consult your physician. Dilution recommended for both topical and internal use. Do not apply neat to a fresh wound or burn. Dilute before using on sensitive areas such as the face, neck, genital area, etc. Keep out of reach of children. Avoid using on infants and very small children.
Battaglia, S. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, Australia, 2005
Tisserand R. Young R. Essential Oil Safety, second edition. Churchhill Livingstone, UK, 2013
Sheppard-Hanger S. The Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual. Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy, USA, 2000
Caddy R. Essential Oils in Colour. Amberwood Publishing, UK, 2005
Lawless J. The encyclopaedia of Essential Oils. Element Books Limited, GB, 1992
Caddy R. the Essential Blending Guide. Amberwood Publishing, UK, 2007
Weaver W.W. Sauer’s Herbal Cures. Routledge, UK, 2001
World Wide Web Encyclopeadia Britannica. USA, 2014
Photos attribution – istock Photos
Do not take essential oils internally.
Do not apply to eyes, sensitive areas or mucous membranes.
Do not apply undiluted to skin (for directions on proper dilution refer to an aromatherapy text).
The information on this website is not intended to diagnose or prescribe.
Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children should not use essential oils without first consulting a healthcare provider.
The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA.
You should not use this information for treating a health problem or disease or to make a self-diagnosis.
Contact your Health Care provider immediately if you suspect that you have a medical problem.
Information and statements regarding Kelley products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health condition or disease. All information, content and product descriptions contained within this site is for reference purposes and is not intended to substitute advice given by a pharmacist, physician, or other licensed health-care professional. You should not use this information for treating a health problem or disease or to make a self-diagnosis. Contact your Health Care provider immediately if you suspect that you have a medical problem.