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Peppermint Essential Oil

Most of us recognize the digestive properties of peppermint from our mint sauce to serve with lamb. It cuts through grease and helps the body to digest rich foods more easily. But peppermint does more than support a healthy digestive system, it is also cephalic clearing our heads and helping us to focus more easily.

What Is Peppermint Essential Oil Good For

Peppermint is cooling and clears the mind. It energizes and invigorates. If you need to be awake-wake-wake - peppermint is your friend acting like three shots of espresso.

I find it wonderful for weary muscles. If you have worked out hard the day before, add a drop to your shower gel or flannel in the morning. Its detoxifying and anti-inflammatory magic absorbs through the skin and gives the tissues the wake-up call they need.

Breathing peppermint essential oil reduced nausea and, of course, most toothpastes use peppermint to freshen the breath.

Peppermint Essential Oil Uses

Peppermints cephalic nature focuses the mind and removes unwanted thoughts (Cedarwood too is wonderful for battling troubling distractions of the mind). Blend with lavender to ease headaches and particularly migraines, where peppermint also steadies those horrible feelings of nausea.

Although it would be the first respiratory oil I would reach for, it does help steady breathing and makes an effective blend with frankincense and eucalyptus.

Peppermint Essential Oil Properties

Analgesic – Use in compresses to alleviate headaches. Add one drop to preparations for groaning muscles. Blends very well with lavender for both situations

Antiseptic – Add one drop of peppermint and lavender essential oils to a bowl of cold water. Soak a flannel and squeeze out. Clean wounds from the outside to protect against infection. Lavender soothes where peppermint cools.

Antispasmodic – especially digestive conditions. Add one drop to a tea spoon of carrier oil and rub over the chest to ease indigestion.

Cephalic – The kick up you need with a hang over, or for studying for exams. Do not use in the evening, however; sleep will do you more good than any essential oil!

Digestive – A variety of experiments are underway to find the best way to create a drug from peppermint, to replicate its effects on Dyspepsia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other digestive problems. (1)

Expectorant -  Add one drop to a blend of eucalyptus and cedarwood in a tea spoon of carrier oil to shift mucus debris off the chest

Astringent – Clears grease and grime from the skin, but more pertinently dries the skin so should not be used too often in the bath.

Febrifuge – Add one drop of eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils to a bowl of cold water. Soak and squeeze out a flannel. Place on the back of the neck to reduce temperature while seeking medical attention.

Emmenagogue – Ancient usage was to place peppermint leaves into a bowl of steaming water then to place the bowl into a commode. Sitting over the steam brings on late and scant menstruation. Far easier is to add one drop into a teaspoon of carrier oil and massage over the abdomen morning and evening until bleeding starts.

Nervine – Peppermint works very well alongside rosemary oil for nerve pain, but emotionally it steadies the nerves too. Personally here, though, I would opt for more calming oils such as lavender or orange, if a person is anxious. Peppermint would be my first choice to inhale before stepping onto a stage to give a presentation.

Peppermint Essential Oil Diffuser Benefits

Peppermint in the morning is a bright productive day. Peppermint in the evening is insomnia!

Is Peppermint Essential Oil Safe for Dogs and Cats

Strictly speaking, yes. However, neither particularly like the smell, so it is best to avoid diffusion around them if you can. Topical use for digestive problems tends to be too pervasive for animals and choosing lavender, orange or camomile are better options.

Cautions of Peppermint Essential oil

Maximum dilution for adults - 3%

In vulnerable and weakened states – 2%

Peppermint Essential Oil Side Effects

Essential oils don’t have side effects, only many main effects. Peppermint is extremely stimulant, so will keep you awake at night. It is spectacular as a 'wake me up' in the morning, but avoid using after tea.

I’ve often found people recommend peppermint essential oil for ADHD but rather than grounding people, I find it tends to lift the energy up through the head. While peppermint does focus, I think it is probably too stimulating for these people. Try sandalwood, vetiver, cedarwood or frankincense instead.

It is very cooling, and can make some areas feel numb. It is not advisable to use peppermint essential oil neat on the skin.

Peppermint Essential Oil and Pregnancy

Diffusing peppermint oil is wonderful for reducing morning sickness, but do not use the oil topically before 16 weeks of pregnancy

Peppermint Essential Oil and Children

Like eucalyptus essential oil, peppermint can be dangerous to small children. It is high in menthol that slows down respiration. It is not advisable to diffuse peppermint or use it topically with children under three.

Works Cited

  1. [Peppermint oil-caraway oil fixed combination in non-ulcer dyspepsia--comparison of the effects of enteric preparations]. Freise J1, Köhler S. s.l. : Pharmazie , 1999.


Author: Elizabeth Ashley, AKA The Secret Healer

Elizabeth Ashley is The UK Director of National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy and overseas speaker for the International Federation of Aromatherapists, also the author of 20 books about aromatherapy including 12 Amazon category number one best sellers, as well as being a regular contributor to five professional trade journals.

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