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"Peppermint raises the spirit to fuller understanding and appreciation of the mysteries that will eventually fully unfold to us," writes aromatherapist Valerie Ann Worwood in Aromatherapy For the Soul. She also says peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita) stimulates and soothes, uplifts and calms. The oil's emotional benefits are to encourage regeneration, self-acceptance, concentration, vitality, and vibrancy.
Plant family: Lamiaceae/Labiatae
Production: Steam distilled from the leaves and stem of the plant, which is a creeping herb.
Aroma: Minty, slightly camphor-like.
Perfume/Aromatic note: Top
Is peppermint safe to use during pregnancy? Conflicting information is available. Aromatherapy and Massage for Mother and Baby doesn't include peppermint as an oil to use but also does not list it as one to avoid. Consult a professional.
Is peppermint oil safe for children? Do not use on or near the faces of children under age 2, according to Essential Oil Safety. Some sources recommend not using this essential oil with children under the age of 3 to 6 years.
Cautions: Do not use if you have cardiac fibrillation or G6PD deficiency, according to Essential Oil Safety. Also, the essential oil can cause a burning sensation and will irritate eyes if used close to them. Not compatible with homeopathic remedies.
Source: Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Ed.
Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art: Peppermint clears sinuses, reduces nausea, helps relieve headaches and other types of pain, may enhance digestion, and stimulates the skin's oil production. "Peppermint oil's dual hot and cold action accentuates the warming sensation in liniments."
The Heart of Aromatherapy: Peppermint clears congestion, soothes sore muscles and joints, supports digestion, eases nausea, uplifts and energizes, and focuses and sharpens the mind.
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Uses for peppermint essential oil include helping relieve digestive problems, sinus congestion, headache, muscle aches and pains, menstrual cramps, tension, fatigue, and apathy.
The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (updated edition): Peppermint may help relieve muscle pain, neuralgia, sinusitis, spasmodic cough, indigestion, flatulence, nausea, colds and flu, headaches and migraines, fatigue, nervous stress, and vertigo.
Aromatherapy For Healing the Spirit: Traditional Chinese Medicine views peppermint oil as energetically cool and dry. It circulates Qi-energy, clears hot phlegm, and stimulates the nerves and brain. The oil is useful for colds and flu that involve strong fever, sore throat, and headache. Peppermint stimulates the flow of Qi-energy in the Stomach and intestines, making this essential oil one of the best for the digestive system.
Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics, Volume I: Psychologically, peppermint promotes motivation, self-confidence, alertness, and emotional renewal. Physically, the essential oil restores and stimulates hypotonic/weak conditions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the essential function of the oil is to activate the Qi, raise the Yang, and strengthen the Shen.
Subtle Aromatherapy: Peppermint acts on the ego, both getting rid of pride and helping you overcome feelings of inferiority.
The Essential Guide to Aromatherapy and Vibrational Healing: Spiritually, peppermint can keep you alert during mediation and is useful for regression therapy, rebirthing, and other practices that use breathwork. Mentally, the essential oil wakes you up and stimulates clarity and focus. Emotionally, use the oil to help you sort out your feelings.
Aromatherapy and Subtle Energy Techniques: Peppermint essential oil uplifts, awakens, refreshes, and revitalizes. The oil is especially useful for the sixth chakra to stimulate the conscious mind and promote clear perception.
To use peppermint to support digestion and reduce gas, cramping, and nausea, make a massage oil and use it on the abdomen.
Some studies have suggested taking enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules helps manage symptoms of IBS for some people.
To use peppermint oil for hair, you can add a few drops to a bottle
of unscented natural shampoo. For a hair treatment to support hair
growth, use this blend:
Massage a little into your hair, let set for at least 10 minutes, and then shampoo as usual.
To use peppermint oil for headaches, dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil and massage the back of your neck. Use peppermint alone or combine it with another headache-relieving essential oil, such as lavender, rosemary, or basil. Another option is to use peppermint in an inhaler or diffuser.
Diffusing peppermint oil can also clear your sinuses; reduce feelings of irritability, nervous tension, or stress; and promote focus.
Here's a a diffuser blend for focus:
Source: New Directions Aromatics
You can make a healing balm to help relieve the coughing and congestion of cold or flu:
To use: Apply to your chest as needed. You can also use the balm on the bottom of your feet. Store the balm in a cool dry place.
Caution: Eucalyptus can irritate the skin of some people. Spot test before using, although it's unlikely to irritate the bottom of the feet. The radiata type of eucalyptus is gentler than the globulus type.
Adapted from Up Nature
Peppermint is a great addition to aromatherapy cleaning products.
Room Cleansing Spray
For a room spray, combine the following ingredients in a spray bottle:
Shake well before each use to mix the water and oils. Spray into the air, avoiding any delicate fabrics.
Source: Pure Scents for Well Being
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
For a natural toilet cleaner:
Source: An Aromatic Life
Some people believe peppermint is a more effective insect repellent than citronella when used on the body. Blend peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil and apply to your body.
Peppermint may repel ants, cockroaches, and mice, according to Aromatherapy for Dummies. However, using peppermint oil for mice and pests is more likely to work for keeping new ones out than for getting rid of ones already in your home.
To help keep bugs out of the house, try this spray:
Blend all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well before each use, and spray where bugs tend to enter the house.
To repel ants or mice, another option is to cut a sponge into small squares. Place a few drops of peppermint oil on each square, and place the squares in the corners of cupboards or where ants or mice enter. Add more oil once a week.
Photo Credit: Simon Eugster, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons