Peppermint (Mentha piperita) essential oil is an essential oil which can be used in a variety of ways to benefit your health. The fragrance of peppermint essential oil appeals to many as it is a fresh, stimulating aroma. It has several health benefits.
About peppermint essential oil
Peppermint essential oil is extracted from the distillation of the leaves of the herb, peppermint. Peppermint is a small herb which is cultivated in worldwide. The leaves of the plant are highly aromatic and dark green in color. The essential oil has a strong, minty aroma with a high menthol content.
Therapeutic properties of peppermint essential oil
Peppermint essential oil is widely used in aromatherapy practice for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, digestive and astringent properties. It is commonly used for such problems as migraine, indigestion, nausea (especially travel sickness), to treat shock and to aid memory.
Ways to use peppermint essential oil
Peppermint essential oil is traditionally used in massage oils, lotions, creams and other bath and body products. If you use a high quality, therapeutic essential oil, you can add it to baking products too. I have used peppermint essential oil in a chocolate cake mixture, to give it a minty flavor. A drop or two is sufficient.
Clinical studies show that peppermint essential oil enhances memory, so it is a good tool for students who are studying for exams, or for older people who are becoming forgetful. Aromatherapy diffusers, or personal inhalers, are a good way to disperse the aroma of peppermint in this way.
Cautions for using peppermint essential oil
Due to the high level of menthol in peppermint essential oil, you should never use this particular oil with or around young children and babies. You should also avoid it in pregnancy, if you are using homeopathy treatments, and if you suffer from epilepsy or heart disease. Certain prescribed medications might interact with peppermint essential oil too.
Dilute peppermint essential oil in a carrier oil, lotion or water base before applying it to your skin. Do not use low grade or adulterated essential oils if you intend to use them in baking products or for therapeutic purposes.
Consult a qualified health care practitioner or a certified aromatherapist if you are unsure about using peppermint essential oil for a particular condition.
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and the advice given within it has not been assessed or evaluated by the FDA.
Davis, Patricia, 1999, Aromatherapy: An A-Z, UK: Vermilion
Lawless, Julia, 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Element
PubMed.gov website, Modulation of cognitive performance and mood by aromas of peppermint and ylang ylang, Moss M., Hewitt S., Moss L., Wesnes K., 2008 study, accessed March 6, 2013
Author is a certified aromatherapist