Health Benefits of Peppermint Essential Oil
English Name: Peppermint
Latin Name: Mentha piperita
What is Peppermint?
The peppermint plant is a hybrid cross of watermint and spearmint, all members of the mint family Lamiaceae. First described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753, the fast-growing herb can be found growing amid its parent species around the globe, though it is indigenous to Europe. Tall smooth stems support dark green, coarsely toothed leaves that are often fuzzy, as well as purple flowers that bloom in mid to late summer in the northern hemisphere. Both the flowers and the leaves are often harvested for use in tea or to be processed for their essential oils. Peppermint that is cultivated generally produces a higher quality and quantity of oil, though wild plants are generally suited for the purpose as well. Because the plant grows so rapidly, it is considered an invasive species in Australia, New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands and the Great Lakes region of the U.S.
How does Peppermint work?
The leaves of the peppermint plant and its essential oil contain a high concentration of menthol, menthone and methyl esters, all of which create a cooling effect when applied to the skin and can help reduce swelling and inflammation. The plant also contains significant antimicrobial and antiviral components, which is why it is often included in household cleaning products. Many minerals and nutrients are present in peppermint oil, including manganese, iron, magnesium, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A and C, giving it powerful potential to enrich the diet and soothe the body. The pleasant aroma and flavor of peppermint make it a popular additive in candy and gum, as well as a widely used aromatherapy essential oil and scent component for soaps and shampoos1.
What are the benefits of Peppermint?
Peppermint oil is widely used to soothe the aches and pains of overused muscles and minor joint swelling, thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory properties. Because of the natural expectorant qualities of the menthol found in peppermint, a few drops of peppermint essential oil in a diffuser can relieve many common cold symptoms, like nasal congestion, headache and an irritated cough. When topically applied, peppermint can also help soothe a fever with its natural cooling properties1. Since ancient times, it has been used to alleviate digestive issues, and modern research has confirmed peppermint’s effectiveness in treating irritable bowel syndrome, nausea and motion sickness2. The anti-microbial element of peppermint can be effective in eliminating the bacteria that causes some acne, and the essential oil may reduce stress levels, boost the immune system and serve as a natural bug repellant. In aromatherapy, the bright scent of peppermint may help control appetite, improve concentration and elevate mood. Mint is commonly known to eliminate bad breath, but the antiseptic character of peppermint also fights germs in the mouth, helping combat tooth decay3.
Products Featuring Peppermint
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The content provided is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have a health condition, please consult a medical professional and do not use this information to self-diagnose or self-treat.
 "31 Surprising Peppermint Oil Benefits & Uses." Organic Facts. September 04, 2018. Accessed October 05, 2018. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-peppermint-oil.html.
 McKay, D. L., and J. B. Blumberg. "A Review of the Bioactivity and Potential Health Benefits of Peppermint Tea (Mentha Piperita L.)." Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. August 20, 2006. Accessed October 05, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16767798.
 "Peppermint Oil." National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. December 01, 2016. Accessed October 05, 2018. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/peppermintoil.
Reviewed by Master Herbalist, Mary Ellen Kosanke