Peppermint may be the most versatile essential oil in the world. With the abundance of oral and topical uses and antimicrobial properties, there are few issues that it cannot help.
Peppermint essential oil’s cooling sensation creates a calming effect on the body, which can relieve sore muscles when used topically. It also has antimicrobial properties so it can help freshen bad breath and soothe digestive issues.
Peppermint is a hybrid species of spearmint and water mint (Mentha aquatica). The essential oils are gathered by steam distillation of the fresh aerial parts of the flowering plant. The most active ingredients include menthol (35–45%) and menthone (10–30%).
Clinically speaking, peppermint oil is recommended for its anti-nausea benefits and soothing effects on the gastric lining and colon because of its ability to reduce muscle spasms.
Not only is peppermint one of the oldest European herbs used for medicinal purposes, other historical accounts date its use to ancient Chinese and Japanese folk medicine. It’s also mentioned in Greek mythology–the nymph Mentha was transformed into an herb by Pluto who had fallen in love with her and wanted people to appreciate her for years to come.
People have been using peppermint oil since 1,000 BC–it has even been found in several Egyptian pyramids.
10 Peppermint Oil Benefits
- Reduces stomach aches
- Soothe digestive issues
- Freshens bad breath
- Relieves headaches
- Antimicrobial properties
- Improves mental focus
- Clears respiratory tract
- Boosts energy
- Releases tight muscles
- Cost-effective natural solution to replace pharmaceutical drugs
Reap the benefits of peppermint oil by adding it to a healthy recipe. Here are some favorites:
Top 25 [Non-Food] Peppermint Oil Uses
1. Muscle Pain Relief –Peppermint essential oil is a very effective natural painkiller and muscle relaxant. It is especially helpful in soothing an aching back, sore muscles, and melting away a tension headache. A study shows that peppermint oil applied topically has pain relief benefits associated with Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome.
2. Sinus Care –Inhaling diffused peppermint oil can oftentimes immediately unclog your sinuses and offer relief to scratchy throats. Peppermint acts as an expectorant and may provide relief for colds, cough, sinusitis, asthma, and bronchitis.
3. Joint Therapy –When your joints get achy, applying some pure peppermint oil mixed with lavender oil can cool muscles like an ice bath, but help you to stay warm and dry.
4. Reduce Hunger Cravings –Inhaling peppermint essential oil can stave off the munchies and can help you feel full faster. If you can’t have a diffuser with you at dinnertime, try applying a couple drops on your temples or chest, or take a couple of deep sniffs from the bottle.
5. Natural Energizer –For a non-toxic alternative to dangerous energy drinks, take a few whiffs of peppermint. It will perk you up on long road trips, in school or any other time you need to “burn the midnight oil.” For those with chronic fatigue syndrome, peppermint oil may improve focus and concentration.
6. Improve Your Shampoo –Add 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil to your regular morning shampoo and conditioner to stimulate the scalp, energize your mind, and wake up! Because it is a powerful antiseptic, peppermint can also help remove dandruff and lice.
7. Allergy Relief –Peppermint oil is highly effective at relaxing muscles in your nasal passages and can help clear out the muck and pollen during allergy season. Diffusing peppermint along with clove oil and eucalyptus oil can also reduce allergy symptoms.
8. ADHD Support –Try spritzing some peppermint oil on your child’s shirt before study time or placing a drop on her tongue or under her nose for improved concentration and alertness.
9. Anti-Itch –Whether you’re battling a rash or poison ivy, applying some peppermint oil mixed with lavender oil is certain to cool and soothe any itch.
10. Fever Reducer –Because of peppermint oil’s cooling effects, it is an excellent natural treatment to bring down a fever especially in children. Mix peppermint oil with coconut oil and rub it on a child’s neck and on the bottom of their feet to help stabilize a fever.
11. Natural Bug Repellant –One study showed that peppermint oil resulted in 150 minutes of complete protection time against mosquitos, with just 0.1 mL of oil applied on the arms.
12. Skin Health -Peppermint oil has calming effects on skin inflammation. Mix peppermint oil into lip balm and body lotion for a nice cooling sensation. Mixing peppermint and lavender essential oils can improve eczema and psoriasis when applied topically.
13. Acne Treatment –According to medical studies one of the best Peppermint Oil Uses is facial treatment thanks to anti-microbial properties so is an excellent ingredient to help cure acne naturally.
14. Headache Cure -A study from researchers at the Neurological Clinic at the University of Kiel, Germany, found that a combination of oils, including peppermint oil had “significant analgesic effect with a reduction in sensitivity to headaches.” The oils were applied to the forehead and temples for pain relief.
15. Hair Growth -Peppermint oil is used in many high quality hair care products because it can naturally thicken and nourish damaged hair. Simply add some peppermint oil to your current shampoo or make your own homemade rosemary mint shampoo that can help stop hair loss and thinning.
16. Sunburn Relief -Peppermint oil can hydrate burnt skin and relieve the pain from sunburns. You can mix peppermint oil with a bit of coconut oil and apply it directly to the affected area, or make my natural homemade sunburn spray to relief pain and support healthy skin renewal.
17. IBS Treatment -Peppermint oil taken internally in capsule form has been proven to be effective at naturally treating IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). One study found a 50% reduction in IBS symptoms with 75% of patients who used it.
18. Improve Bloating and Indigestion -Peppermint oil has been established as a natural alternative to drugs like Buscopan to reduce spasms of the colon. It works by relaxing the muscles of your intestines, which can also reduce bloating and gas. Try peppermint tea or adding 1 drop of peppermint oil to your water before meals.
19. Freshen Breath and Reduce Cavities -For well over 1,000 years peppermint has been used to naturally freshen breath. According to studies, peppermint oil performed better than the mouthwash chemicals chlorhexidine at reducing cavities.
20. Reduce Nausea –A medical study found that peppermint oil uses reduced nausea that is induced by chemotherapy better than standard medical treatments. Simply adding a drop of peppermint oil to water, or rubbing 1-2 drops behind your ears, or even diffusing it can help to reduce nausea.
21. Respiratory benefits -Peppermint essential oil has the ability to open your airways and act as a decongestant. Mix it with coconut oil and eucalyptus essential oil to make my homemade vapor rub to help reduce the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis.
22. Colic -Medical research has discovered using peppermint oil is equally effective as the drug Simethione for treating infantile colic, without the side effects associated with prescribed medications.
23. Teething -Peppermint oil is a great natural remedy to relieve the pain associated with teething in infants. Simply mix peppermint oil with coconut oil at a 1:1 ratio and rub on the gum area.
24. Balance hormones and relieve symptoms of PCOS -Peppermint oil may have hormone balancing effects and be therapeutic for polycystic ovarian syndrome.
25. Cancer treatment -Clinical research indicates that peppermint contains the compound menthol, which inhibits prostate cancer growth. Also, studies found peppermint protects against radiation-induced DNA damage and cell death.
Peppermint Oil Studies and Research
There are hundreds of scientific studies referring to peppermint essential oils and thousands about menthol.
A 2012 study out of Clayton State University tested peppermint oil’s ability to reduce postoperative nausea and vomiting. Generally occurring as a common side effect of general anesthesia, about one-third of all people undergoing surgery suffer from these conditions at various degrees of intensity.
More than just aromatherapy, just one drop of peppermint oil rubbed on the stomach or taken internally can calm indigestion in no time flat. The powerful ability of peppermint to help with gastrointestinal concerns has just been tapped by the scientific community.
New research has found peppermint can improve antibiotic resistance and help heal your body from the overuse of prescription antibiotics and other chemicals that affect your body. This is probably part of the reason it is so effective in treating IBS.
A combined medical study of all the literature on peppermint’s ability to cure irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was just published this July and, of the nine studies combined they stated:
“Peppermint oil was found to be significantly superior to placebo for overall improvement of IBS symptoms and improvement in abdominal pain.” They concluded, “Peppermint oil is a safe and effective short-term treatment for IBS.”
Some medications and supplements may interact with peppermint oil. Please consult your doctor if you are on a regulated supplement plan or if you are taking any prescription medications.
Photo credit: iStock Originally posted on Dr. Axe