Peppermint essential oil is one of the most popular oils on the market at used for a variety of uses from jetlag and tummy upset to headaches and morning sickness. It has a fresh minty aroma that is very uplifting and clearing to the mind. There are lots of other mints around including spearmint and cornmint so make sure you are picking up a bottle that is labelled Mentha x piperita.
Despite it’s varied uses it remains one of the lower priced oils due to its quick even invasive growing in many countries around the globe and the essential oil is prolific in the leaf making it’s yield quite high per kilo.
The beautiful clearing minty, fresh aroma is due to the menthol content of the oil which is around 50% of it and with menthol being an alcohol it makes the oil very pain relieving too which is why it works so well for headaches. It has been used since ancient times for toothache, headache and cramp as well as digestive issues. The other key components in the oil are ketones which can build up in the body so care needs to be taken place to not overuse peppermint but don’t let that put you off using a beautiful and versatile oil.
My top tip is to use either the hydrolat of peppermint as a cooling spray as it is or use one drop on your palms rubbed together and placed on the forehead to cool you down.
Peppermint essential oil is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, digestive, expectorant and mucolytic. Meaning that as aromatherapists we prescribe it for migraine, bronchitis, sinusitis, colic, indigestion, nausea, colitis, IBS, irregular periods, and nervous conditions.
Emotionally, peppermint essential oil helps clear and release emotions of failure, restriction, rigidity and fear of dependence. The oil increases optimism, clarity, strength to resolve emotional pain, renewal and helps those in despair, pessimistic, heavy and in emotional pain. The physical cooling effect it has can also help calm inflamed and hot emotions such as anger and frustrations.
Peppermint essential oil is not advisable for babies and young children as the oil is too powerful and rich in menthol however from the distillation process we get peppermint hydrolat which is water based and much more gentle. As always seek the advice of a professional aromatherapist before using essential oils.
Lawless J. The encyclopaedia of essential oils. Element Books Limited, Great Britain, 1992.
Le Strange R. A history of herbal plants. Angus and Robertson, Great Britain, 1977.
Mojay G. Aromatherapy for healing the spirit. Hodder and Staughton, UK, 1996.