I always… and I mean always have peppermint essential oil in my fridge. I use it more than lavender oil! And it has so many incredible benefits.
I use it to clear my sinuses, relief my flu symptoms and clean my counters. It even helps me concentrate. And that’s not the half of it.
Peppermint Essential Oil Properties
Botanical name: Mentha piperita.
Close relative: Peppermint is pretty similar to spearmint (Mentha spicata).
Color: Colorless to light yellow
Smell: Uh, minty! It’s fresh, crisp, and smells like mint toothpaste.
Menthol makes up about 50% of peppermint essential oil.
Other compounds in the oil include menthone, menthyl acetate, menthofuran, eucalyptol, neomenthol, z-caryophyllene and germacrene-D. There may also be traces of alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, limonene, pulegone, sabinene and isomenthyl acetate.
Peppermint Essential Oil Benefits
The benefits of peppermint essential oil range from relieving headaches, improving mood, boosting concentration and memory, fighting inflammation and killing cancer cells in vivo. The oil is also antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, repellent and insecticidal.
You see! The oil has lots of incredible benefits. And they are all proven.
Peppermint oil relieves headaches and migraines
A 1994 study looked at how peppermint oil affected 32 healthy men with tension headaches. It showed a 10% mix of peppermint and ethanol greatly relieved their pain.
The researchers attributed these findings to the cooling and relaxing effects of the oil on the temporal muscles.
So cool your muscles and calm your pain with peppermint essential oil.
It helps mood and concentration
Okay, so the study I just mentioned also proved the peppermint-ethanol mix made the men feel less excited, anxious, irritated, annoyed and depressed. And it also improved their concentration spans.
So if you need a little boost or to meet your deadlines at work, reach for this oil.
It helps memory
This 2008 study also found the oil improved the memory quality and accuracy of its participants.
Peppermint oil boosts exercise performance
It’s time to use peppermint oil while you work out. This 2013 study explained peppermint oil helped lungs relax, increased blood oxygen levels and more. As a result, the oil improved exercise performance, blood pressure, respiratory rate and more.
It may protect against cancer
Here is where I need say: the studies proving the anticancer benefits of peppermint essential oil are not clinical trials. They are animal studies and laboratory studies. These findings will not be enough to prove peppermint oil can have a positive effect on cancer cells in your body. Way, way more research is needed.
Hopefully that will happen soon. In the meantime, take a look at this 2006 study on mice.
It found the oil reduced the number of tumors in the mice and protected cells from radiation and mutation. Essentially (no pun intended), peppermint oil showed anti-tumor, chemoprotective, anti-mutagenic and antioxidant benefits.
There is a lot of evidence that prove the anti-inflammatory benefits of peppermint essential oil. And I mean a lot!
The oil is well-established for both acute inflammation as well as chronic inflammation. That’s why it is in so many products like mints, toothpaste, mouthwash, cold medicine, cough drops and more.
So use the oil to relieve your inflamed skin, muscles, sinuses, and more. It will cool you down, calm your insides and reduce internal swelling.
It kills bacteria
This one is another well-known, proven benefit. In fact, peppermint oil is among the most antibacterial essential oils you can use.
One study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy showed peppermint oil at 0.5% to 2% concentrations were enough to inhibit and kill resistant bacteria. That concentration equates to about one or two drops per teaspoon of carrier oil or water or alcohol.
It’s potent stuff!
Peppermint essential oil is antiviral
You can find studies from the 1960s that prove peppermint kills viruses.
A recent one was done on the herpes simplex virus. It noted just a trace of peppermint (like 2 drop to 5 liters of carrier oil) was able to kill off a lot of the virus. That’s why the study recommended peppermint oil for recurring herpes infections.
It’s also antifungal
This shouldn’t come as a surprise – peppermint oil works on fungi and mold too! And a 2003 research paper actually proved the vapor of peppermint oil killed fungi. So one whiff and fungi will die!
Another study published in 2012 also showed just a little bit of oil is enough to kill a wide range of fungi. The researchers went on to suggest using peppermint for treating fungal infections.
Here’s the final peppermint essential oil benefit. It kills bugs including the mosquitoes that cause dengue and yellow fever.
A 2011 study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine clearly proved this. The researchers added 0.1mL of the oil to participants’ skin and exposed them to adult female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The participants did not get bitten for 150 minutes. That means the oil completely repelled mosquitoes for two and a half hours!
Now, peppermint oil isn’t just good for repellent purposes. It also kills mosquito larvae. So you can control the mosquito population and stop them from infecting you with just one simple essential oil!
Peppermint Essential Oil Uses
Peppermint oil is a great addition to your diffuser and massage blends. Plus it blends particularly well with spicy, floral and citrus oils. So you can use peppermint with eucalyptus, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, marjoram, rosemary and tea tree essential oils.
Remember you should do a skin patch test before using this oil on your skin. And you should not exceed a 5% blend.
Peppermint oil tends to give a cooling, slightly burning sensation on the skin. So using less is better with peppermint oil.
Essential oils are no joke. So take the necessary precautions when using peppermint oil. For instance, don’t ingest undiluted peppermint essential oil and keep it out of the reach of kids and pets.
There is one reported case where a woman ingested large quantities of peppermint oil in a suicide attempt. She went into a coma. But after medical intervention, she was stabilized within 8 hours and became conscious by 24 hours.
The report shows that while peppermint oil has little side effects; it can be dangerous when too much is ingested.
And, like with all essential oils, always check with your doctor before using this oil especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Where to buy peppermint essential oil