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10 Peppermint Oil Uses To Live By!


No, we aren't talking about mints, gum, or candy canes. Really, it's quite fascinating – in a somewhat sad way – that peppermint is so commonly associated with sweet treats rather than medicinal benefits. Aside from lavender, peppermint may be the most versatile of all of our essential oil options. And yet we've limited it to Santa Claus and toothpaste.

Considering that peppermint has the ability to:

  • Treat a variety of illness from stress and migraines to skin conditions to digestive wellness
  • Combat cancer cells
  • Remain gentle on the skin and body
  • Affect the body via respiratory, digestive, or topical applications
  • Remain affordable thanks to easy propagation
  • Stand up to thorough research

Is there any reason at all that we wouldn't stock our cabinets with peppermint essential oil? Our culture is seriously missing out!

History & Composition

Peppermint (Mentha x peperita) is a hybrid combination of watermint and spearmint that grows prolifically – in fact, it can take over like a weed. The aerial parts – flowers and leaves – are harvested for essential oil production, which is conducted via steam distillation. At this point, active ingredients typically include menthone at around 20% of the composition and menthol at roughly 40%. (1)

Typically, peppermint oil is used as an antiemetic (helps to prevent nausea) and antispasmodic (helps to prevent vomiting as well as any other harsh gastrointestinal contractions). It's a soothing digestive aid and beneficial during times of illness.

Historically, peppermint dates back as one of the oldest medicinal herbs used in Europe, an ancient remedy for both Chinese and Japanese cultures, and an Egyptian medicine in at least 1,000 B.C. When, in Greek mythology, Pluto pursued the nymph Mentha, he transformed her into an herb (guess which?) so that the generations to come would enjoy her just as well as he. Such a colorful legacy is contained well in this cool, accessible, effective substance.

Peppermint in the Literature

Stepping away from Greek literature and into the scientific realm, peppermint is found throughout databases of studies and reviews – even moreso when we look at its specific component menthol. With hundreds and literally thousands of mentions, scientists are all over this remarkable herb. I don't make promises and guarantees often, but peppermint is almost a sure thing: add it to your daily regimen and your life will never be the same.

Nausea Relief

For example, while we all hope to avoid surgery, sometimes it is a necessary part of life – and a common part of surgery is unpleasant post-operative nausea, to the tune of 1/3rd of surgical patients. In 2012, Clayton State University facilitated tests on peppermint essential oil's effects on this nasty phenomena. Moms who are in recovery from a Caesarean especially do not want to deal with vomiting and nausea on top of the mixed emotions of the joy of birth and pain of surgery, not to mention the time that could be spent bonding with their babies. So, moms were chosen for this study, with 35 respondents discovering “significantly lower” nausea levels with inhaled peppermint compared with standard treatments. (2)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The use of essential oils is sometimes underestimated when limited to the connotations of “aromatherapy.” Topical and occasionally internal applications are relevant, as well, and one drop mixed with one teaspoon of coconut oil or (internally) honey, rubbed on the stomach or ingested, can calm an upset stomach or indigestion in a snap. This remarkable ability is being broached by researchers, marked by a systematic review of the literature that cover's irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and peppermint.

Nine studies were reviewed, spanning more than seven hundred patients, and the conclusion was clear – taking peppermint oil in enteric-coated capsules performs much better than placebo when it comes to pain and symptom management. In their conclusion, University of Western Ontario researchers stated that,

“Peppermint oil is a safe and effective short-term treatment for IBS. Future studies should assess the long-term efficacy and safety of peppermint oil and its efficacy relative to other IBS treatments including antidepressants and antispasmodic drugs.” (3)

Bug Repellant

One of my personal favorite benefits of peppermint essential oil is bug repellant – especially since I live in mosquito country!

In a comparison of seven commercial bug repellants, Terminix® ALLCLEAR® Sidekick Mosquito Repeller nearly topped the charts. If you aren't aware, this is an “all-natural” blend that lists cinnamon, eugenol, geranium, peppermint, and lemongrass oils. It was very close to a tie with OFF!®, the chemical-laden, DEET-filled commercial brand. (4)

Although I don't recommend Terminix® ALLCLEAR® because I have little faith in a big name company to use true, pure, therapeutic grade essential oils, the lesson is the same. It underscores the efficiency of essential oils, no matter their quality. And an effective essential oil blend most definitely is preferred to harmful, toxic chemicals or nasty ‘skeeter bites!

Top 10 Peppermint Essential Oil Uses

  1. Ease Pain Naturally– For a natural muscle relaxer or pain reliever, peppermint essential oil is one of the best. Try using it on an aching back, toothache, or tension headache.
  2. Clear Sinuses Diffused or inhaled peppermint essential oil usually clears stubborn sinuses and soothes sore throats immediately. As an expectorant, the results may be long lasting and beneficial when you're down with a cold, plagued with a cough, or struggle with bronchitis, asthma, or sinusitis.
  3. Relieve Joint Pain – Peppermint oil and lavender oil work well together as a cooling, soothing anti-inflammatory for painful joints.
  4. Cut Cravings – Slow an out of control appetite by diffusing peppermint before meal times, helping you feel full faster. Alternatively, apply a drop or two on your sinuses or chest to keep the benefits to yourself.
  5. Energize Naturally – Road trips, long nights studying, or any time you feel that low energy slump, peppermint oil is a refreshing, non-toxic pick-me-up to help you wake up and keep going without the toxins loaded into energy drinks.
  6. Freshen Shampoo -A couple of drops included in your shampoo and conditioner will tingle your scalp and wake your senses. As a bonus, peppermint's antiseptic properties can also help prevent or remove both lice and dandruff.
  7. Ease Allergies – By relaxing the nasal passages and acting as an expectorant, peppermint can help relieve symptoms during allergy season.
  8. Relieve ADHD – A spritz of peppermint on clothing or a touch on the back of your neck can help to improve concentration and alertness when focus is needed.
  9. Soothe an Itch – Cooling peppermint and soothing lavender combine again to sooth an itch from bug bites or healing sun burns.
  10. Block Ticks – Stop ticks from burrowing with a touch of peppermint oil. Make sure you remove them by their head to lessen your chances of contracting Lyme disease!

Cautionary Common Sense

Be sure to follow professional recommendations, healthcare provider advice, and common sense when using peppermint essential oil. While it is incredible versatile and relatively gentle, it is still a medicinal-quality substance and should be treated with care. As with all oils, make sure to always dilute with a carrier oil and, as always, listen to your body and the wisdom of those who have used aromatherapy before us: essential oils are best in small doses!

Also, don't consume neat. The University of Maryland Medical Center warns that peppermint essential oil can relax the esophageal sphincter and pose risks for those with reflux. (5) Don't consume neat. Taking one or two drops of peppermint in a gel capsule can remedy this risk relatively easily.




This post currently has 14 comments.

  1. Kara Crow
    October 25, 2016

    What about using peppermint for migraines in children. What do you suggest?

    • Customer Support
      December 9, 2016

      My apologies, but Dr. Z is legally prohibited from giving medical advice over email. He has, however, created a special Facebook group that can help as we have hundreds of members that are actively engaged in sharing testimonies of how they have overcome similar illnesses as yours. You can be part of it by joining his essential oil’s club here –>

  2. Heather
    September 25, 2016

    I had a fall in May this year and had a compressed fracture of my L2 vertebrae which was misdiagnosed for the first 4 weeks. Four months later I was / am have extreme pain after being to long on my feet or while sitting and especially while trying to stand up. I am schedule to have a procedure where bone cement will be injected into the vertebra to stabilise it.
    Eight days ago I remembered an interview you gave on FMTV about taking a capsule for bowel condition and an EO morphine bomb for arthritis
    I thought I’m going to see if this has any effect.
    For 5 days I took 1 capsule with peppermint, starting with 1 drop and increasing to 5. I thought I was just imagining my pain was subsiding. 2 days ago I took a capsule morning and night with 2 each drops of lemongrass, Margo ram and frankincense. I have had no pain, can move easily and feel ‘normal’ for the first time in months. I’m so grateful for the work you do and for sharing your knowledge freely.

    Do you think I have sustained a level of healing
    or just found something that is a more effective analgesic.?

    • Customer Support
      October 19, 2016

      Heather, thank you so much for sharing that incredible story!

  3. Brittany
    June 7, 2016

    I have heard that I shouldn’t use peppermint while nursing or pregnant. I heard from one person not to diffuse it, but not about using it topically. What do you think?

    • Dr. Z
      June 8, 2016

      Hi Brittany,

      I discuss this in my article here –>

      Some women report that it can decrease supply, other’s don’t. It’s one of those “it not proven” claims. If you’re concerned, then I’d definitely stay away from topical use.

      The likelihood of the diffused oil penetrating your skin and affecting milk supply is low. Just remember that there are volatile organic compounds EVERYWHERE – if you can smell it, it’s a particle floating around your nose. This includes perfume, aerosols, plug-ins and diffused essential oils. Hopefully, this puts your mind to rest because people are freaking out about milk supply when they walk into Jo-Ann Fabric’s or Bath & Body Works. 😉

  4. Rich
    April 27, 2016

    Are organic oils considered therapeutic

    • Dr. Z
      April 27, 2016

      It all depends on the company’s internal standards. Something may be “organic” but not safe for internal use because of a non-edible carrier oil or for other reasons…

  5. Jenny
    February 18, 2016

    Would spearmint oil have similar benefits?

    • Dr. Z
      February 20, 2016

      Yes, similar, but different for sure. 🙂

  6. M. J.
    January 11, 2016

    With kids, is the tummy rub dilution rate higher?


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