Our Complete Guide to Peppermint Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses and Cautions
Peppermint oil is popular the world over due to its many benefits. These include boosting energy, cough, cold and flu support, killing germs, skin care, reducing itching, reducing nausea and vomiting, relieving headaches or migraines and helping to combat muscle pain and spasms. Many people also rely on peppermint oil for hair growth as it stimulates the scalp and boosts blood flow.
Peppermint oil is certainly not a new discovery. Historians have found that it dates all the way back to Ancient Egypt, and medical texts from 1550 B.C talk about how this herb helps relieve stomach complaints. This plant was so valuable that the Ancient Egyptians treated it as a form of money. In fact, that’s where the term “to mint money” comes from and why we still refer to currency as mint!
Today, peppermint oil may not be used as a currency, but it certainly has numerous other uses. Not only can it curb various ailments, but it’s also used for aromatherapy, massage therapy and even as a natural repellent!
Peppermint essential oil has a fresh, uplifting smell and is frequently used to scent cosmetics, soaps, toothpaste, mouthwash and aromatherapy treatments.
As with any essential oil, you need to know a bit more about it to ensure that you use it safely. This guide describes all the different ways to use peppermint oil in the safest and most effective ways possible.
- What is peppermint essential oil?
- Peppermint essential oil - quick facts
- How is peppermint essential oil made?
- Benefits of peppermint essential oil
- Peppermint oil for hair growth
- Peppermint oil for a sweaty or itchy scalp
- Peppermint oil for skin care
- Peppermint oil for repelling pests
- Peppermint oil for reducing nausea and vomiting
- Peppermint oil for migraines and headaches
- Peppermint oil for muscle pain
- Peppermint oil for coughs and colds
- How to use peppermint essential oil
- Topical use
- Aromatherapy massage with peppermint essential oil
- Inhalation of peppermint essential oil
- Bathe in it
- Bug repellent
- Peppermint essential oil research
- Peppermint oil for hair growth - 2014
- Peppermint oil for a healthy scalp - 2007, 2012
- Peppermint oil benefits for skin - 2016
- Peppermint oil as a bug repellent - 2000, 2011, 2018
- Peppermint oil for headaches and migraines - 2016
- Peppermint oil for nausea and vomiting - 2019
- Peppermint oil for muscle pain - 2012, 2020
- Peppermint oil for coughs - 2011, 2016
- Side effects of peppermint essential oil
- Contraindications of peppermint essential oil
- Where to buy peppermint essential oil
- Peppermint essential oil FAQs
- Is peppermint essential oil safe for my pets?
- What are the benefits of using peppermint essential oil in a diffuser?
- How should I apply peppermint essential oil topically?
- In summary
What is peppermint essential oil?
Peppermint essential oil is the name of the natural oil that gets extracted from this herb. It contains 40+ different compounds, including menthol ― which is what makes it so refreshing ― methanone, menthofuran, 1,8-cineole and limonene.
The plant has square stems, dark green leaves and blunt clusters of pinkish flowers. It’s a very adaptable plant, but it prefers climates that are cool and moist. Peppermint belongs to the family Lamiaceae, which includes other plants famed for their aromatic properties. This list includes lavender, lemon balm, mint, basil and marjoram.
Peppermint essential oil - quick facts
🍃 Latin name: Mentha x piperita
🍃 Country of Origin: Northern Africa, the Mediterranean
🍃 Scent note: Minty
🍃 Annual Production: 800,000+ tons
🍃 Popular uses: Eases headaches and muscle aches, encourages hair growth, soothes itching, repels pests
How is peppermint essential oil made?
Although it was once limited to Northern Africa and the Mediterranean, this herb is now grown the world over. In fact, the United States of America produces more than 70% of the world’s supply.
Peppermint essential oil is made using a process called steam distillation. Steam is injected into the plant material via an inlet in the stem. This releases the herb’s aromatic molecules and turns them into vapor. Vapor compounds then travel to the condenser or condensation flask where they are condensed back into liquid and collected.
Benefits of peppermint essential oil
Peppermint essential oil has a wide range of benefits, which is why it’s one of the most popular essential oils in the world.
Some of the main benefits of peppermint oil include:
- 🍃 Hair growth
- 🍃 Sweaty, dry, itchy scal
- 🍃 Skin care
- 🍃 Bug repellent
- 🍃 Nausea and vomiting
- 🍃 Migraines and headaches
- 🍃 Muscle pain
- 🍃 Coughs and colds
Let’s take a look at each of these benefits of peppermint oil in more detail.
Peppermint oil for hair growth
Peppermint essential oil can leave your skin and scalp with a cool, tingling feeling because it boosts circulation to the area where you’re applying it. This is why so many people swear by peppermint oil for hair growth: it promotes circulation and growth during the anagen phase when hair cells are dividing quickly and hair is growing the fastest.
Peppermint oil for a sweaty or itchy scalp
Peppermint essential oil can also help you to combat a sweaty scalp while leaving your strands shiny and soft. The oil breaks down sweat and removes any sweaty buildup that can lead to a dry, itchy or unpleasant-smelling scalp. Luckily, peppermint oil also acts as an antimicrobial and antifungal, helping to kill any germs that like to colonize a sweaty or itchy scalp!
Peppermint oil for skin care
Peppermint essential oil benefits for the skin are numerous as this oil is a natural cleanser with antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Its cooling effect can soothe skin irritations and help combat inflammation.
Peppermint oil for repelling pests
Who knew that peppermint essential oil was a good repellent for various bugs and critters around your home? Pets that are repelled by peppermint oil include mosquitoes, cockroaches, flies, moths, spiders, ticks, rats and other unwanted critters.
Peppermint oil for reducing nausea and vomiting
Indigestion is one of the most studied and scientifically confirmed benefits of peppermint essential oil. It drastically reduces the frequency and severity of nausea, retching and vomiting, even in patients with severe chronic conditions.
Peppermint oil for migraines and headaches
Peppermint essential oil is a popular go-to for alternative therapies for headaches and migraines. Many such formulations are sold in stores. It is generally used topically as a rub on the temples and neck, although even nasal sprays exist.
Peppermint oil for muscle pain
The cooling menthol content of peppermint essential oil makes it a popular topical choice for soothing muscle pain and cramps or joint pain. It has both anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
Peppermint oil for coughs and colds
Peppermint is a tried-and-true recipe for coughs, colds and respiratory symptoms. It can be rubbed on the chest or inhaled to help open up the airways and reduce coughing and other cold symptoms.
How to use peppermint essential oil
Peppermint essential oil can be used in a variety of ways, depending on its intended purpose. Here are some of the most common ways to use peppermint essential oil:
- 🍃 Topical use
- 🍃 Aromatherapy massage
- 🍃 Inhalation
- 🍃 Bathe in it
- 🍃 Bug repellent
Let’s take a look at each of these uses of peppermint essential oil in more detail.
Topical use with peppermint essential oil
To stimulate hair growth or relieve an itchy scalp, mix two drops with a hair-friendly carrier oil like argan, grapeseed, jojoba, moringa or pumpkin seed oil and apply this blend to your scalp. Leave it on for five minutes before shampooing and conditioning as usual.
Alternatively, you can add two tablespoons of the essential oil to your bottle of shampoo or conditioner to gain these benefits.
Rubbing peppermint essential oil diluted with a carrier oil that’s non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging) onto your temples, behind your ears and at the back of your neck is also a popular way of soothing migraines and headaches the natural way.
Aromatherapy massage with peppermint essential oil
Peppermint essential oil is a wonderful choice for aromatherapy massages. The oil helps boost immunity, clear sinuses, relieve headaches, muscle pain and joint pain, and its minty freshness can either boost your alertness and energy or be relaxing.
While it’s primarily known for its revitalizing abilities, this essential oil can do so much more! Think of it as a whole body and mind tonic that will leave you feeling refreshed.
Be sure to dilute the oil properly before you apply it in a massage. A good rule to follow is to mix between three and six drops per ounce of carrier oil. Feel free to experiment by creating your own blend by combining it with other essential oils to mix up the aroma and increase the overall benefits.
Inhalation of peppermint essential oil
It’s easy to enjoy the benefits of peppermint essential oil by inhaling it. Add a couple of drops to your diffuser to help you get stuff done ― or just sit back, relax and enjoy! Adding a couple drops to a bowl of hot water, covering your head and inhaling is a great way to use peppermint to help with coughs, colds and other respiratory issues.
Bathe in it
Dilute a few drops of peppermint essential oil in one to two tablespoons of carrier oil and add it to your bathwater. The bonus of an aromatherapy bath is that it’s a combination of both topical use and inhalation, helping you benefit from it in almost every way possible.
The scent will relax and invigorate you. Plus, this is a great way to fight inflammation, boost energy, clear your respiratory tract, alleviate anxiety, and it will even make you less irritable.
When it comes to using peppermint oil as a bug repellent, you can think of this plant as the holy grail! Apply it topically to help keep pesky mosquitoes away. You can also leave it around the entry points to your home and it will keep cockroaches, flies, moths, spiders, ticks and other unwanted critters away. Rats also hate the smell of this oil, so a few well-placed, oil-soaked cotton balls in your roof or basement can keep them at bay.
Peppermint oil for hair growth - 2014
A 2014 study on mice revealed that peppermint essential oil looks promising for stimulating hair growth. Rodents treated with it for 4 weeks experienced increased blood flow to hair follicles, resulting in hair regrowth that was thicker and faster.
Peppermint oil for a healthy scalp - 2007, 2012
Peppermint’s antimicrobial properties make it an effective tool in helping to keep your scalp healthy from fungus that likes to colonize your scalp. Peppermint has been found to keep away fungal infections of the scalp such as head lice as well as Trichosporon ovoides which causes piedra hair infections.
Peppermint oil benefits for skin - 2016
A study undertaken by expert dermatologists showed that peppermint essential oil provides effective and safe relief from pruritis or chronically itchy skin. Participants were asked to use a placebo, petrolatum or peppermint essential oil, and the peppermint oil group experienced the greatest reduction in itchy skin.
Peppermint oil as a bug repellent - 2000, 2011, 2018
This study analyzed the effect of peppermint oil on mosquitoes. It found that not only is applying a dilution of this essential oil to your skin a great way to keep these bugs at bay, but it inhibits the survival of larvae and full-grown mosquitoes equally. Studies have also confirmed peppermint’s ability to repel spiders and flies, among others.
Peppermint oil for headaches and migraines - 2016
Topically applying peppermint essential oil for headaches has been found as effective as acetylsalicylic acid and paracetamol. Another study showed that it even worked as well as lidocaine for migraine sufferers!
Peppermint oil for nausea and vomiting - 2019
Studies have scientifically proven that peppermint oil is effective in treating the side effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients. It drastically reduced the frequency and severity of nausea, retching and vomiting.
Peppermint oil for muscle pain - 2012, 2020
A study in mice in 2012 confirmed that peppermint essential oil has analgesic or pain-relieving effects. And another 2020 study in rats confirmed peppermint’s ability to relieve inflammatory muscle pain. As noted above, peppermint oil is also effective in helping to relieve the pain associated with tension headaches and migraines.
Peppermint oil for coughs - 2011, 2016
In a placebo-controlled study published in 2011, peppermint was one of five essential oils in combination that immediately and significantly improved cold symptoms of cough, sore throat and hoarseness.
A 2016 study found that peppermint oil vapor was effective against respiratory tract bacteria such as drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Side effects of peppermint essential oil
Very occasionally, certain people may experience side effects when using peppermint oil. These can include:
- Headaches. Certain people find peppermint oil useful in treating headaches, but others may find themselves experiencing them as a result of using this oil. If using peppermint oil gives you headaches, you may be overly sensitive to it.
- Respiratory collapse. A serious condition where you’ll find yourself unable to breathe on your own, respiratory collapse is a very rare side effect of exposure to peppermint oil.
The best way to avoid any issues from a sensitivity to peppermint oil is to do a patch test before topical use, and start with low concentrations and work your way up as you see fit for either topical use or inhalation.
If you find yourself experiencing any kind of side effect from using peppermint essential oil, stop using it at once. If your symptoms don’t subside, seek treatment from a medical professional.
Contraindications of peppermint essential oil
Peppermint oil is widely used the world over, but some people should avoid it. Of course, if you have a known allergy to mint or peppermint, or if you’ve had a previous reaction, you shouldn’t use it. Pregnant and lactating women should also be cautious of its use.
Another important factor to bear in mind is that peppermint is toxic to dogs. As beneficial as this essential oil is for relieving inflammation and reducing your stress levels, your dog won’t benefit in the same way. If they ingest peppermint oil or come into too much skin contact, they will show symptoms of poisoning that include diarrhea, lethargy and vomiting. And cats, birds and other animals are even more sensitive to it. So if you have a furry friend around, think twice before using it on yourself in places they may lick you or before diffusing it.
Where to buy peppermint essential oil
Peppermint essential oil is widely available online and in stores. When purchasing peppermint oil, be sure to look for a 100% pure essential oil - not an extract. This ensures that you’re getting an authentic product with all of the therapeutic benefits of peppermint. If it’s organic, even better!
Here are some of the best places where you can purchase peppermint essential oil.
volant’s Organic Peppermint Essential Oil is naturally sourced, 100% pure, organic and vegan. This is why it’s an ideal choice for aromatherapy treatments.
Amazon marketplace is another good option for finding quality peppermint essential oil. With multiple vendors supplying this product, you can compare prices and reviews until you find what you’re looking for.
As we’ve discovered, peppermint essential oil is a popular choice for treating many different physical ailments. This is why you should be able to find it at most pharmacies.
DoTERRA’s peppermint essential oil boasts a high menthol component. Whether you plan on using yours for its mental advantages or want to keep it in your medicine cupboard for physical issues, this is a good choice.
Peppermint essential oil FAQs
Is peppermint essential oil safe for my pets?
No, it is one of the essential oils that are toxic to most household pets, including birds, cats, and dogs.
What are the benefits of using peppermint essential oil in a diffuser?
Use peppermint essential oil as aromatherapy for colds, coughs, pain reduction, to improve concentration, boost your energy and reduce stress.
How should I apply peppermint essential oil topically?
Always dilute it in a carrier oil that is a good fit for your skin type and do a patch test first. If you don’t have an allergic reaction, apply the mixture to your desired areas.
Peppermint essential oil can be used safely by most people to treat mental, physical and emotional ailments. You may find that it helps to ease indigestion and nausea, supports healthy hair growth and a healthy scalp, and helps to soothe irritated, itchy, dry skin. It has proven to be very helpful in treating anxiety, feelings of sadness and irritability, and it can combat muscle pain, headaches, tension and be a great stress reliever. And who knew it was such a powerful bug repellent?!
While there is not a massive amount of research into the advantages of peppermint essential oil, the studies that have been undertaken have all had positive results. They’ve indicated that, with proper use, this essential oil can increase your quality of life dramatically.
If you’re thinking about starting to use peppermint essential oil, make sure that the products you purchase are of high quality. volant is proud to offer only the best oils sourced ethically and created using natural ingredients that deliver what they promise. This means that when you buy peppermint oil from volant, you can trust that you’re getting an amazing, pure, organic product.
If you still have questions about any aspect of peppermint essential oil, please don’t hesitate to reach out. volant representatives can be reached at email@example.com and are happy to assist you with whatever you need.