Top 25 Peppermint Oil Uses and Benefits

April 24, 2018
Peppermint oil - Dr. Axe

Pleasantly suitable for an abundance of oral and topical uses and antimicrobial properties, peppermint may be the most versatile essential oil in the world along with lavender oil. In fact, there are few body, health and mind issues that it cannot help.

Peppermint essential oil gives a cooling sensation and has a calming effect on the body, which can relieve sore muscles when used topically. It also contains antimicrobial properties, so it can help freshen bad breath and soothe digestive issues.

Peppermint is a hybrid species of spearmint and water mint (Mentha aquatica). The essential oils are gathered by steam distillation of the fresh aerial parts of the flowering plant. The most active ingredients include menthol (35–45 percent) and menthone (10–30 percent).

Clinically speaking, peppermint oil is recommended for its anti-nausea benefits and soothing effects on the gastric lining and colon because of its ability to reduce muscle spasms.

Not only is peppermint one of the oldest European herbs used for medicinal purposes, other historical accounts date its use to ancient Japanese and Chinese folk medicine. It’s also mentioned in Greek mythology the nymph Mentha was transformed into an herb by Pluto who had fallen in love with her and wanted people to appreciate her for years to come.

The health benefits of peppermint oil as well as peppermint oil uses have been documented back to 1,000 BC and have been found in several Egyptian pyramids.


Peppermint Oil Benefits

Some of the most common peppermint oil uses include:

  • Reduces stomach aches
  • Soothe digestive issues
  • Freshens bad breath
  • Relieves headaches
  • Antimicrobial properties
  • Improves mental focus
  • Clears respiratory tract
  • Boosts energy
  • Releases tight muscles
  • Cost-effective natural solution to replace pharmaceutical drugs

I cannot honestly think of one reason why anyone on the planet would choose not to have peppermint oil in his or her medicine cabinet at home!


Top 25 Peppermint Oil Uses

Ready to start harnessing the health benefits of peppermint? If so, here are 25 ways to use this incredible herb:

1. Muscle Pain Relief

Peppermint essential oil is a very effective natural painkiller and muscle relaxant. It is especially helpful in soothing an aching back, sore muscles and melting away a tension headache.

A study shows that peppermint oil applied topically has pain relief benefits associated with fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome. The study found that peppermint oil, eucalyptus, menthol, capsaicin and other herbal preparations may be helpful. (1)

Try my recipe for homemade muscle rub to ease muscle pain.

2. Sinus Care

Inhaling diffused peppermint oil can oftentimes immediately unclog your sinuses and offer relief to scratchy throats. Peppermint acts as an expectorant and may provide relief for colds, cough, sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis.

3. Joint Therapy

When your joints get achy, applying some pure peppermint oil mixed with lavender oil can cool muscles like an ice bath, but help you to stay warm and dry.

 

 

4. Reduce Hunger Cravings

Inhaling peppermint essential oil can stave off the munchies and can help you feel full faster. If you can’t have a diffuser with you at dinnertime, try applying a couple drops on your temples or chest, or take a couple of deep sniffs from the bottle.

5. Natural Energizer

For a non-toxic alternative to dangerous energy drinks, take a few whiffs of peppermint. It will perk you up on long road trips, in school or any other time you need to “burn the midnight oil.” For those with chronic fatigue syndrome, peppermint oil may improve focus and concentration.

6. Improve Your Shampoo

Add 2–3 drops of peppermint essential oil to your regular morning shampoo and conditioner to stimulate the scalp, energize your mind and wake up! Because it’s a powerful antiseptic, peppermint can also help remove dandruff and lice.

Try my homemade rosemary mint shampoo, a safe and economical shampoo for you and your family.

7. Allergy Relief

Peppermint oil is highly effective at relaxing muscles in your nasal passages and can help clear out the muck and pollen during allergy season. Diffusing peppermint along with clove oil and eucalyptus oil can also reduce allergy symptoms.

8. ADHD Support

Try spritzing some peppermint oil on your child’s shirt before study time or placing a drop on her tongue or under her nose for improved concentration and alertness.

9. Anti-Itch

Whether you’re battling a rash or poison ivy, applying some peppermint oil mixed with lavender oil is certain to cool and soothe any itch.

10. Fever Reducer

Because of peppermint oil’s cooling effects, it’s an excellent natural treatment to bring down a fever especially in children.  Simply mix peppermint oil with coconut oil and rub it on a child’s neck and on the bottom of their feet to help stabilize a fever instead of aspirin or other drugs.

11. Natural Bug Repellant

Ticks aren’t the only bugs that hate peppermint oil. In fact, ants, spiders, cockroaches, mosquitos, mice and even lice will be repelled.

A study that was published out of Israel compared how seven different commercial bug repellants fared against each other. As you’d expect it, the All-Natural Essential Oil Mosquito Repellent (which is a blend of cinnamon, eugenol, geranium, peppermint and lemongrass oils) was tied as the most effective mosquito repellant with OFF!® (which is loaded with toxic chemicals like DEET).

A further study showed that peppermint oil resulted in 150 minutes of complete protection time against mosquitos, with just 0.1 mL of oil applied on the arms. (2a) The researchers noted that after 150 minutes, the efficacy of peppermint oil decreased, and needed to be reapplied.

 

Peppermint Oil - Dr.Axe

12. Skin Health

Peppermint oil has calming effects on skin inflammation. You can mix peppermint oil into lip balm and body lotion for a nice cooling sensation.

Try my lavender mint lip balm to nourish lips throughout the year. Mixing peppermint and lavender essential oils can also improve eczema and psoriasis when applied topically.

13. Acne Treatment

According to medical studies one of the best peppermint oil uses is facial treatment thanks to antimicrobial properties, so it’s an excellent home remedy for acne.

14. Headache Help

Peppermint oil has the ability to improve circulation, soothe the gut and relax tense muscles. All of these conditions can cause tension headaches or migraines, making peppermint oil an excellent natural treatment.

A study from researchers at the Neurological Clinic at the University of Kiel, Germany, found that a combination of oils, including peppermint oil had “significant analgesic effect with a reduction in sensitivity to headaches.” (2b) The oils were applied to the forehead and temples for pain relief.

15. Hair Growth

Peppermint oil is used in many high-quality hair care products because it can naturally thicken and nourish damaged hair. Simply add some peppermint oil to your current natural shampoo to help stop hair loss and thinning.

16. Sunburn Relief

Peppermint oil can hydrate burnt skin and relieve the pain from sunburns. You can mix peppermint oil with a bit of coconut oil and apply it directly to the affected area, or make my natural homemade sunburn spray to relief pain and support healthy skin renewal.

17. IBS Treatment

Peppermint oil taken internally in capsule form has been shown to be effective at naturally treating IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). One study found a 50 percent reduction in IBS symptoms with 75 percent of patients who used it. (3)

18. Improve Bloating and Indigestion

Peppermint oil has been established as a natural alternative to drugs like Buscopan to reduce spasms of the colon. (4) It works by relaxing the muscles of your intestines, which can also reduce bloating and gas. Try peppermint tea or adding 1 drop of peppermint oil to your water before meals.

19. Freshen Breath and Reduce Cavities

Tried-and-true for well over 1,000 years, peppermint has been used to naturally freshen breath. According to studies, peppermint oil performed better than the mouthwash chemicals chlorhexidine at reducing cavities. (5)

You can make homemade toothpaste, mouthwash or add a drop under your tongue followed with glass of water, as this freshens bad breath, too.

20. Reduce Nausea 

A medical study found that peppermint oil uses reduced nausea that is induced by chemotherapy better than standard medical treatments. Simply adding a drop of peppermint oil to water, or rubbing 1–2 drops behind your ears, or even diffusing it can help to reduce nausea.

21. Respiratory benefits

Peppermint essential oil has the ability to open your airways and act as a decongestant. Mix it with coconut oil and eucalyptus essential oil to make my homemade vapor rub to help reduce the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis.

22. Colic

Medical research has discovered using peppermint oil is equally effective as the drug Simethione for treating infantile colic, without the side effects associated with prescribed medications. (6) Peppermint oil is an essential part of my natural remedies for colic.

23. Teething

Peppermint oil is a great natural remedy to relieve the pain associated with teething in infants. Simply mix peppermint oil with coconut oil at a 1:1 ratio and rub on the gum area.

24. Balance hormones and relieve symptoms of PCOS

Peppermint oil may have hormone balancing effects and be therapeutic for polycystic ovarian syndrome.

25. Cancer treatment

Clinical research indicates that peppermint contains the compound menthol, which inhibits prostate cancer growth. Also, studies found peppermint protects against radiation-induced DNA damage and cell death. (7)


Peppermint Oil Studies and Research

At the time I wrote this article, there were 302 scientific studies referring to peppermint essential oils and 2297 about menthol. Believe me when I tell you, the research out there is air-tight! If you make it a point to incorporate this powerful remedy into your daily routine, I promise you that your life will change in more ways than you can imagine.

Take for instance, a 2012 study out of Clayton State University that tested peppermint oils ability to reduce postoperative nausea and vomiting. Generally occurring as a common side effect of general anesthesia, about one-third of all people undergoing surgery suffer from these conditions at various degrees of intensity. (8)

For Moms who just had a C-section, this can be especially devastating as it is very likely to interfere with breastfeeding and could prevent them from that wonderful bonding experience with their baby.

The study tested evaluated how 35 Moms responded to this ancient aromatherapy and discovered that peppermint essential oil was not only quite effective in reducing post-operative nausea and vomiting, it “significantly lowered” the sickness levels of participants compared to women who received standard anti-nausea medications.

More than just aromatherapy, just one drop of peppermint oil rubbed on the stomach or taken internally can calm indigestion in no time flat. The powerful ability of peppermint to help with gastrointestinal concerns has just been tapped by the scientific community.

New research has found peppermint can improve antibiotic resistance and help heal your body from the overuse of prescription antibiotics and other chemicals that affect your body. This is probably part of the reason it is so effective in treating IBS.


Peppermint Recipes

One final way I would encourage you to use peppermint is as part of your diet. Here are two of my favorite peppermint recipes:

Homemade Peppermint Patties

GI Healing Juice


Concerns and Potential Interactions

Peppermint oil is likely safe when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in food, and when used topically. (9) Ingesting peppermint oil may cause side effects for some that include heartburn, flushing, mouth sores and headache.

Some prescription medications and over-the-counter medications may adversely interact with peppermint oil. Enteric-coated peppermint oil supplements may cause rapid dissolving leading to heartburn, nausea and rapid absorption of some medications. Take necessary precautions.

The following medications carry a “moderate” potential for interaction with peppermint oil:

Neoral, Sandimmune, Elavil, Haldol, Zofran, Inderal, Theo-Dur, Calan, Isoptin, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, Diazepam, Valium, Soma, Viracept, Cataflam, Voltaren, Ibuprofen/Motrin, Mobic, Feldene, Celebrex, Elavil, Warfarin/Coumadin, Glucotrol, Iosartan, Cozaar, Mevacor, Nizoral, Sporanox, Allegra, Halcion.

The following medications carry a “minor” potential for interaction with peppermint oil:

Over-the-counter and prescription antacids including Tums, Rolaids, Ripan, Bilagog, Amphojel, Tagamet, Zantac, Axid, Pepcid, Prilosec, Prevacid, Aciphex, Protonix, Nexium.

Natural supplement precautions:

Peppermint can reduce the absorption of iron when taken simultaneously. If taking iron supplements and peppermint oil, allow at least three hours between the two. Peppermint oil also increases the absorption of quercetin when taken at the same time; allow at least three hours between taking these together.

Read Next: 15 Carrier Oils for Essential Oils


Josh Axe

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