Peppermint comes from a Latin word “mente” meaning “thought” (mental). The Greek myth says that nymph, Mentha, who was pursued by Pluto, was crushed to dust by his wife Persephone. Pluto changed her back into a sweet smelling peppermint plant.
Peppermint is a very useful and easy grown plant to your garden or pot. It is one of the most loved essential oils beneficial for many diverse health problems.
Peppermint is one of the oldest medicines described in written and unwritten history. It’s documented history is going back to ancient Greeks and Egyptians, later Romans, till the mid 18th century to our days where Pepperint is mentioned for many therapeutic uses in Europe.
Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans were grown and used peppermint to flavor food, wine, and sweets. Aristotle mentions peppermint being used as an aphrodisiac.
Traditional herbalists used peppermint mainly for relieving digestive problems such as stomach aches, gas, diarrhea, and indigestion. It was also and still is used in the treatment of colds, flu, nervous disorders, cholera, and to ease tension headaches.
Peppermint was one of the ingredients found in “Four Thieves Vinegar” or “Marseilles Vinegar”.
Genus Species: Mentha piperita
Part of the Plant Used: Leaves and stems
Properties of Peppermint essential oil and Use
Peppermint essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves and stems of the plant. The phytochemicals (natural plant-based chemicals) found within a good quality, medicinal grade peppermint essential oil include menthol, up to 50%, menthone, menthofuran, menthyl acetate, 1.8-cineole, pulegone, perillyl alcohol, limonene, beta-pinene, and beta-caryophyllene. Many of these phytochemicals are currently being studied for their anti-cancer benefits.
Peppermint also contains flavonoids, primarily eriocitrin, luteolin, and hesperidin. As with many plants, the phytochemical profile of peppermint varies according to the season it is harvested and environmental growing conditions.
Basic therapeutic properties
Cooling,uplifting, energizing yet soothing. Supports healthy digestive system, intestinal function and gastrointestinal system.
Aromatic Affect on the Mind
Aromatic fresh and cool
Its aroma cools and calms the mind diminishing the fear of the unknown. Especially the fear that holds us back to move forward to a new direction either to learn something new or to change our physical position in place or life.
Its refreshing aroma can cleanse our etheric body and increase attunement with the soul clearing the filters we concieve things and allow for new options to appear before us.
Root, sacral, solar plexus and throat chakras
Medium to High
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Specific benefits and uses
Its refreshing, cooling aroma makes the differnce for many diverse health problems. Like Marjoram and others, it is a herb that promotes motion energetically. Its cooling effects could lower heat.
There has been a multitude of research studies on peppermint. Much of the anti-cancer benefits of peppermint are due to its phytochemical content. Limonene, beta-pinene, and beta-caryophyllene are all highly anti-cancer phytochemicals with plenty of anti-cancer research on them. In a 2012 animal study reported in the journal PloS One, peppermint had cytotoxic effects against lung carcinoma, leukemia, and gastric cancer cells. This same research indicated peppermint was a potent anti-inflammatory, important in cancer because cancer is such a pro-inflammatory process in the body. Researchers also found peppermint to have antioxidant properties.
Another animal study reported in 2014 in the Journal of Oral Pathology & Medicine found that peppermint inhibited the initiation and promotion of tongue cancer in mice. It also showed that peppermint has a chemopreventive (“chemo” means cancer) effect.
A 2015 study released in the American Journal of Cancer Research found that perillyl alcohol (one of the phytochemicals in peppermint, referred to as “POH” in the study) was effective for those with malignant brain tumors. The study reported that “clinical trials in Brazil have explored intranasal POH delivery as an alternative to circumvent the toxic limitations of oral administration. In these trials, patients with recurrent malignant gliomas were given comparatively small doses of POH via simple inhalation through the nose. Results from these studies show this type of long-term, daily chemotherapy to be well tolerated and effective”. The researchers agreed that perillyl alcohol had chemopreventive activity, suppressed tumor growth, and had antiangiogenic properties (the ability of tumors to develop their own blood supply to feed them) both in animals and humans.
An older 2011 in vitro (test tube) study reported in the Internal Journal of Toxicology indicated that peppermint had cytotoxic (“cyto” means cell) activity. It also had anti-cancer activity against six different cancer cell lines − cervical, breast, acute T-cell leukemia, bladder, pancreatic, and colorectal cancer.
Menthol has also recently been studied for its anti-cancer effects, most notably against prostate cancer cells. Two studies reported in 2012 that menthol influences gene expression, has cytotoxic activity, and inhibits the proliferation (spread) of prostate cancer cells. A study reported in 2009 revealed that menthol enhances the anti-proliferative activity of vitamin D3 in prostate cancer.
There are a number of studies attesting to the antimicrobial properties of peppermint, making it great for wound healing, respiratory infections, tonsillitis, bronchitis, laryngitis. One particular study found peppermint oil to be potent against E. coli. It also inhibited bacteria exhibiting resistance to antibiotic drugs, Shigella sonei, Staphylococcus aureus, and Micrococcus flavus.
3. Digestive Aid
Peppermint has proved to be an amazing natural remendy for the digestive system. There are many studies on peppermint essential oil and its ability to relieve the symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). A 2007 Italian study reported in the Journal of Digestive Liver Disease found a 50% reduction in the symptoms of IBS for 75 percent of patients who used peppermint oil. Peppermint has also, powerful antispasmodic properties, which is probably why it works so well. It is effective for stomach aches, flatulence, and diarrhea.
For indigestion or stomach ache − rub one drop of peppermint oil across the stomach. You can also take it internally in a capsule with a glass of water. Or simply put one drop in a glass of water and mix it (no, oil and water don’t combine well, but the oil will disperse to a degree) and drink the water. If you have fresh peppermint in your garden or terrace, you could also, drink it as tea.
4. Fever Reduction
While it isn’t a good idea to break a fever at its very onset (a fever is the body’s way of killing invading microbes), there are times when you may need to step in and reduce it. Peppermint essential oil works very well for this.
For Reducing a fever, put one teaspoon of an organic carrier oil in a bowl, add 1 drop of peppermint essential oil. Mix it and apply the oil to the bottoms of the feet and back of the neck. Check your temperature again in 30 minutes or so − it should be reduced by one or two degrees. See precautions below if working with a child.
A compress on forehead with one or to drops of Peppermint will also be effective with its cooling properties.
5. Fungal Infections
Fungal infections are problematic and can be difficult to eradicate. Candida albicans is especially hard to get rid of. Recent research (2015) indicated the phytochemicals within peppermint essential oil exerted powerful anti-fungal activity and was quite effective against candida.
6. Headaches & Migraines
A 2016 research study in Germany found that topical treatment with peppermint essential oil was significantly more effective in treatment of tension headaches than a placebo. It was also comparable to the efficacy of acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin) and paracetamol (Tylenol). Peppermint oil helps to relieve migraines as well. A 2010 Iranian study on menthol found that pain, nausea, and the other symptoms associated with migraines were much improved by applying menthol to the forehead and temples of 35 patients with migraines.
Peppermint has long been used as a treatment for nausea. A 2013 study found that both peppermint and spearmint reduced the intensity and frequency of nausea associated with chemotherapy.
8. Pain Relief
Due in large part to its menthol content, peppermint essential oil is effective for pain relief. Peppermint is good for sore muscles, achy joints, neuralgia, cold sores, fibromyalgia, and many other painful conditions. It appears to work not only by interrupting the pain signal from the sore place to the brain, but also helps to ease pain due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Especially as a blend with other essential oils such as Peppermint, Marjoram, Rosemary and Thyme can relief from muscle or joint pain.
Massage peppermint or a blend essential oils either directly into affected areas or dilluted in base oil or cream.
9. Promotes Hair Regrowth
A Chinese animal study reported in 2014 in Toxicological Research demonstrated that peppermint essential oil may be helpful for hair loss. Animals were divided into four groups, and saline, jojoba oil, minoxidil and peppermint oil were applied to the skin of shaved mice for 4 weeks. Only the peppermint oil group exhibited a significant increase in skin thickness, hair follicle numbers, depth of hair follicles and hair regrowth. The researchers said that at week three, the peppermint oil “remarkably promoted hair growth.” In fact, the growth was better than saline and jojoba and even greater than the minoxidil (Rogaine), a popular hair regrowth drug. Further, they reported that at week four the peppermint oil showed hair regrowth at about 92%, whereas minoxidil about only at 55%.
For hair regrowth, do a skin test first on a small patch of skin to ensure your scalp is not overly sensitive to peppermint essential oil. Wait 30 minutes or so − if no irritation occurs, proceed. In a small glass bowl add two drops of peppermint essential oil to one tablespoon of a good organic carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut. Massage the oil into the scalp and leave for at least half an hour. Remember the research study above showed the best results after week four, so be persistent. Be sure no oil gets in the eyes.
10. Radioprotective / Neuroprotective
2010 research reported in the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics admitted that radiation-induced damage to normal tissues “restricts the therapeutic doses of radiation that can be delivered to tumors and thereby limits the effectiveness of the treatment.” Researchers found that peppermint protected the testes, gastrointestinal tract, and hematopoietic stem cells in mice. In addition, 2013 research on mice published in Cytotechnology found that peppermint played a significant role in protecting neurons from radiation damage.
11. Respiratory Problems
Peppermint essential oil contains vitamins C and A, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and potassium − all of which are useful for any condition where mucus is present. It is the menthol content, however, which makes peppermint oil so helpful for respiratory problems. It is a natural decongestant (it dissolves mucus). It has natural anti-histamine properties and will not cause sleepiness.
Peppermint also relaxes the muscles of the respiratory tract − it is a natural bronchodilator. All of these things, combined with its antibacterial and antiviral benefits, make it excellent for colds, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), exercise-induced asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis, and flu.
You can try one of the following techniques:
(a) Diffuse the oil into the room using a cool mist or ultrasonic diffuser. Do not heat essential oils as it diminishes their therapeutic benefits.
(b) Place a drop or two of peppermint oil into the palms of the hands and breathe in deeply. It will be absorbed into the bloodstream rapidly through the lungs and sinuses. Be careful to avoid the eyes.
(c) For congested sinuses, place one drop of peppermint essential oil in the palm of your hand, lick it off with your tongue, and then place your tongue on the soft palate (the roof of your mouth), then breathe in.
12. Skin Complaints
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, peppermint essential oil eases skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis. It can ease the pain of sunburn and is excellent for chapped lips. Because of its ability to inhibit bacterial growth and reduce inflammation, it’s also wonderful for acne.
13. Weight Loss
Inhaling Peppermint essential oil can stave off the munchies and help you feel full a little more quickly. A 1994 study reported that inhaling peppermint essential oil affected the satiety center in the hypothalamus. This was a 6-month study with over 3,000 people, during which time the average weight loss experienced was 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms).
14. Mosquito repel
Peppermint essential oil can be used in a blend with other mosquito repels essential oils such as Lavender, Eycalyptus, Geranium, Basil and Lemongrass. You could make a blend with these essential oils and put it in a carrier oil such as Almond oil and use a small roll on bottle or spray to have it always with you on summer time.
15. Hot summer days
At hot days of summer time peppermint could be a nice addition to your drinking water. Put one or two stems with their leaves in a jug and leave for a while in the room or in the refregarator. Its cooling effects will refresh you from inside. Alternatively you could put a drop or two in your drinking water or make a cooling mist to spray your skin.
How to Use it
- Add a drop or two to water, tea, juice or other beverage.
- Put a couple of drops in baking, dressing, marinade or drink recipe.
- Diffuse, use it in a spay mist with water or inhale directly from the bottle
- Dillute it in a carrier oil for massage
Blends well with:
A lot of Essential Oils according to the intended use.
Peppermint essential oil is generally regarded as safe. It is approved by the FDA for use as a Food Additive (FA). Nevertheless remember to use only therapeutic grade essential oils.
Watch your eyes or cuts when using peppermint oil. Place a pure vegetable oil on location if irritation or stinging occurs. Do not use water because it will worsen the symptoms.
Peppermint essential oil should not be used on children younger than 6 years of age and should be avoided if a person has high blood pressure. Use cautiously during pregnancy.
Be aware that peppermint essential oil is extremely condensed. One drop of peppermint oil has the menthol content of over 20 cups of peppermint tea. Be extremely cautious when using peppermint on or near the face, especially with children. Never apply essential oils anywhere near eyes or ears. Be sure to dilute with an organic carrier oil if you have sensitive skin.
Always dilute peppermint for children. It is recommended to avoid using peppermint oil with children under two unless you absolutely need to (for instance, for reducing fever). From six months up to six years of age, use one drop of peppermint essential oil to 4 teaspoons of carrier oil. For children over six years, elderly adults, or pregnant women, use 1 drop of peppermint oil per teaspoon of carrier oil.
It is not recommended to use any essential oil as a stand-alone treatment for cancer or the other disorders mentioned in this article. However, when used in combination with other therapies, both natural and conventional, essential oils can play a wonderful role in the healing process.