Peppermint oil: a powerful oil with the power of menthol

This article was previously published on January 10, 2019 and has been updated with new information.

History shows a wide range of uses for peppermint essential oil, which has been used as far back as ancient Rome and Egypt.1 Different cultures have used this oil not only for its mint scent, but also for its therapeutic benefits. Moreover, peppermint oil is known to symbolize hospitality

What is Peppermint Oil?

Peppermint oil is derived from the leaves of the peppermint plant (Mentha piperita), a hybrid of the watermint and spearmint, and M. arvensis var. piperascens, a plant of the Labiatae family.3 It is often used as a home remedy for stomach problems, muscle aches and headaches. Peppermint oil can also be used in capsules or supplements

9 Uses And Benefits Of Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is used in aromatherapy, the practice of using essential oils to support health,5 where it has been shown to be effective in relieving pain and nerve pain,6 as well as nausea,7 and in improving memory and increasing of alertness.8 According to published research publications, peppermint oil exhibits antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidant, analgesic, radioprotective and anti-edema properties9 and may be helpful for:

Relief from Stomach Problems — Peppermint oil is a safe and effective alternative to medications in reducing intestinal cramps.10 It can help relieve pelvic pain11 and provide relief from indigestion and upset stomach.12

Research has also shown that peppermint oil is effective in improving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).13 Another study reveals similar findings.14 Peppermint contains high concentrations of menthol15, which may help reduce smooth muscle spasms and reduce muscle tension. blocking calcium channels in the gut. 16

Relieving breathing problems — Peppermint oil can be used as an expectorant and decongestant.17 It can help clear mucus in your airways18 when used as a chest rub or inhaled through a vaporizer.19

The essential oil may also benefit individuals with tuberculosis. Researchers found that when inhaled, the oil can help reduce inflammation caused by tuberculosis and minimize the risk of the disease worsening or returning.20 Peppermint oil may also relieve asthma because it contains rosmarinic acid, an anti-inflammatory compound.21,22

Relieving Pain – Peppermint oil can help relieve sore muscles when added to a massage oil blend or bath water. Dabbing a few drops on your wrist or inhaling the aroma can relieve a headache. You can also massage the oil on your temples.

Promoting Positive Effects on Cancer-Related Treatments – Peppermint oil may help address chemotherapy-induced nausea. It may also help treat hot flashes in women being treated for breast cancer

Helping relieve herpes infections – Peppermint oil has been shown to have a beneficial effect against the drug-resistant herpes simplex virus. Due to its lipophilic nature, peppermint oil can penetrate the skin, making it potentially useful against recurrent herpes infections.24

Improving hair and skin health — Mixing peppermint oil with massage oils25, shampoos and lotions can give these products antiseptic26 and antimicrobial properties. The oil can also help cool the skin and remove dandruff27 or lice from your scalp28 or contribute to hair growth.29

Improve dental health — Peppermint oil extract may be more effective than the mouthwash, the chemical chlorhexidine, in preventing the development of a biofilm that can lead to cavities30 and bad breath.

Providing comfort from stress and nervous system problems – Due to its stimulant effects, peppermint oil is used to manage stress and treat nervous disorders and mental fatigue. Studies suggest that the essential oil may have an effect similar to psychostimulants, as shown in an animal study

Acts as an Itch Reliever – Applied topically when mixed with a carrier oil, the cooling sensation it provides can help relieve itchiness by blocking the irritating sensation.32

Composition of Peppermint Oil

The two main components of peppermint essential oil are menthol and menthone,33 which is why it is widely used as an ingredient in lozenges, toothpastes and rubs.34 Other components found in peppermint oil include menthyl acetate,35 1,8-cineole, limonene, beta- pinene and beta-caryophyllene

How do you make infused peppermint oil?

There are several ways to make your own peppermint oil infusion at home. Here’s a recipe from you can try:37


Fresh peppermint leaves available in supermarkets or health food stores (You can also grow your own peppermint leaves, as the plant is easy to grow and you won’t ingest any chemical additives) Carrier oil Colander Clean tea towel Hammer or mortar and pestle Cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer Glass bottle or container with lid


Place leaves in the colander. Spray them gently with cold water and spread them out on a clean tea towel to air dry. Using a hammer or mortar, gently pound the leaves, making sure they have a strong peppermint scent and are lightly bruised. Refrain from grinding too much or hitting too hard. If using a mallet, first place the leaves on a cutting board or counter, then tap them lightly. If using a mortar and pestle, use the pestle to gently press down on the leaves. Fill the glass bottle with peppermint leaves. Pour in carrier oil until the leaves are well covered. Close the jar tightly and shake lightly so that the oil coats the leaves. Place the sealed jar away from direct sunlight for about 24 to 48 hours to allow the peppermint leaves to soak into the oil. Carefully pour the soaked oil through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer into a new glass jar. Discard used leaves and store used oil in a cool, dark place. Use within four to six months.

How does peppermint oil work?

While it’s tempting to buy products that contain peppermint oil, using them whole without additional ingredients can yield more positive results. However, it should never be used undiluted as it can cause irritation, especially in people with sensitive skin. It should be diluted in carrier oils such as sweet almond, jojoba, coconut and olive and used under the supervision of a qualified physician.

Peppermint oil is sensitive to heat and should be stored in tightly closed bottles in a cool place. Avoid taking peppermint oil along with other supplements and medications as it can cause negative effects. Peppermint oil, for example, can interfere with the rate at which your body processes cyclosporine, leaving more of the medication in your bloodstream.38

Peppermint oil is also known to interact with other drugs such as felodipine (Plendil), simvastatin (Zocor), antacids, calcium channel blockers, and blood pressure lowering medications.39

Is Peppermint Oil Safe?

Peppermint oil is safe in small amounts in most adults, but it can cause side effects in people with sensitivities. It is important for the following people to avoid using this essential oil or to use it with caution with the help of a healthcare professional:40,41

Pregnant and breastfeeding women – Peppermint oil or other similar products can have emmenagogue and abortifacient effects, so it would be wise not to use peppermint oil without your doctor’s approval.42

Children — Peppermint oil should not be used undiluted because there is insufficient information about its safety for children; do not use it at all for children under 30 months. In older children, always try a patch test first to test for allergic reactions

Diabetics – Using peppermint oil may increase the risk of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and Hiatal Hernia Patients – Peppermint can relax the sphincter between the stomach and esophagus and cause acid to travel up into the esophagus.46

People with gallbladder problems – Peppermint oil can cause gallbladder inflammation; those diagnosed with gallstones should consult a doctor before using peppermint oil

People taking antacids – These drugs can cause peppermint oil capsules to break down easily, increasing the risk of heartburn.48

Peppermint Oil Side Effects

Use extreme caution when using peppermint oil or other related products as you may experience the following side effects:49.50

Allergic reactions such as skin rash

Slow heart rate51

Abdominal pain and diarrhea

Sores or sores in the mouth

Eye irritation


Vomiting and nausea52

Gastric acid


muscle weakness

brain damage

epileptic attacks

If you suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorders, avoid using peppermint oil as it can interfere with sleep.53 While it may have great benefits, I recommend talking to a healthcare provider before using it for therapeutic applications.

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