Peppermint Oil is a popular essential oil due to its healing and medicinal properties. It is not only reckoned for its therapeutic benefits but it is also a key ingredient in culinary, beauty, and health products. Let us study more about this versatile oil!
Key features of Peppermint Oil:
- Its origins lie in the mint family. Also, it is believed to be a hybrid of Water mint and Spearmint.
- Its different uses and medicinal benefits have earned it a reputation of being one of the best multi-purpose oils.
- Peppermint oil is used for cosmetic purposes and is a vital component of bath blends and aromatherapy as well. It is also used for cleaning bacteria and microbe infested households.
- It is highly stimulating and therefore, it can disturb your sleep patterns. Moreover, an overdose of Peppermint oil can have many adverse effects on your mind and body. Therefore, you should not be using it daily.
Botanical origin of Peppermint Oil
Peppermint is an herb that was originally found in the Mediterranean region. Nowadays, it can also be found in the USA, Japan, UK, and Italy. The serrated leaves and the flowers that range between mauve and light pink color make identification of this herb easy. Also, you can notice that its flowers are cone-shaped.
Peppermint oil is renowned for the multiple uses that make it quite similar to Lavender oil which too has a reputation of providing multiple health and skin benefits. It heals skin irritation and itching by eliminating microorganisms from the skin cells. Moreover, it has several oral uses and proves to be beneficial for our overall health, mind, and body. The sharp scent of Peppermint oil is identical to the fragrance of Menthol. Moreover, it is also used for cosmetic, health, and cooking purposes.
The oil is extracted from the entire plant from the stem to the flower branches. However, flowers are not useful for oil extraction. Its use can be traced way back in Ancient Egypt where Peppermint leaves were placed alongside the mummies in the tombs. It was also used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicinal practices due to its magical healing properties.
The name ‘Peppermint’ might have been used instead of spearmint or mint on several occasions in the past but ancient texts have been giving its reference as an herbal medicine from 1500 BC. You can even find its reference in the story of Mentha, a nymph who was turned into an herb by Greek God Pluto. In Greek mythology, Peppermint is referred to as an herb that releases sweet aroma when you step upon it.
The Mint family comprises hundreds of herb species including plants such as Forest Mint, Water Mint, Spearmint, etc. Also, Peppermint is considered to be a natural hybrid of Mint Aquatica i.e. Water Mint and Mint Spicata i.e. Spearmint.
Benefits of Peppermint oil
Among the different constituents such as Cineole, Isovalerate, Limonene, Pinene, Menthyl Acetate, and others, Menthone and Menthol are the most active constituents of the Peppermint oil. Menthol acts as an analgesic and provides relief from headaches, inflammation, and muscle cramps. Menthone is useful as an analgesic and antiseptic agent. Moreover, it’s invigorating scent gives it an energizing property.
Peppermint oil can be used to destroy bacteria. It also relieves us from flatulence, muscle spasms, and other muscle-related issues. It reduces the stress from your muscles and therefore, can be used as a massage oil as well. It soothes skin inflammation and acts as an effective disinfectant. You can blend it with suitable carrier oil and massage on your feet to get instant relief from fever.
Peppermint oil is suitable for topical use and since it is a powerful astringent, it can be used to tighten the pores of your skin. Its anesthetic properties make it an ideal pain reliever for those who are ridden with skin inflammation or redness.
Many people use it as a chest rub to get instant relief from congestion. Moreover, you can also blend it with a coconut carrier oil to renew skin securely and healthily if you are suffering from skin issues like sunburns. It rejuvenates the health of the scalp and destroys dandruff if you add few drops of this oil into your shampoos or conditioners.
Peppermint oil has exceptional expectorant properties which makes it ideal for treating congestion as it restores normal breathing by clearing the nasal passage. It provides relief from stress, improves mental focus, provides relief from frustration, eases nervousness, and revives blood circulation when you use it in aromatherapy.
It not only provides relief from headaches but its stomachic qualities reduce your appetite by making satiating your hunger even after eating little food. Dilute it or inhale a small quantity or you can massage a small portion of the oil behind your ears to get instant relief from nausea.
This oil has antimicrobial properties that enable you to use it for cleaning and refreshing the environment. Its pleasant and fresh fragrance makes it an excellent room freshener. It is not only an effective disinfectant but it also proves to be a potent insect repellent.
We have classified the different benefits of Peppermint oil in three different categories to highlight its key benefits. They are as follows:
Peppermint oil has antiseptic, sudorific, cordial, astringent, and nervine properties that make it a perfect ingredient for cosmetic treatments.
The analgesic, digestive, expectorant, nervine, cephalic, decongestant, stimulating, emmenagogue, and cordial properties of Peppermint oil make it ideal for aromatherapy purposes.
Other Medicinal benefits
It has a diverse role in medicinal treatments due to its digestive, anesthetic, antispasmodic, anti-phlogistic, cordial, cephalic, carminative, decongestant, sudorific, vermifuge, astringent, analgesic, emmenagogue, nervine, expectorant, hepatic, febrifuge, stomachic, cholagogue, anti-galactagogue, and stimulating properties.
How to cultivate and harvest premium-grade Peppermint oil?
Peppermint plant thrives in wet and cool regions that have adequate rainfall as it needs water and moisture to survive. However, the drainage facility should also be good enough for the plant to flourish freely. Any region that experiences warm days and cold nights would prove to be the ideal place to grow Peppermint since it balances the different compounds that are essential for making premium-grade Peppermint oil.
It can grow in a partially shady or completely sunny region. It is observed that the oil content in Peppermint increases when the plant gets exposed to direct sunlight. However, the plant may produce toxic compounds like Menthofuran if the weather during the nights is warm and humid.
The production of Menthol and overall yield is the highest during the stage when 10 percent of the plant is flowering. Harvesting can be initiated on a dry and sunny day when there is no trace of dew or moisture on the crop. A hay mower can be used to cut the whole plant of Peppermint but remain careful as even the slightest crack or fracture in the stem or leaves can reduce the overall oil content. Moreover, it also negates the chances of re-growth and therefore, we recommend you to cut the plant with all the precautions and with precision.
After cutting the plant, leave it to dry (wilt) in a dry place as it leads to a higher yield. After that, cut it by using forest harvesters and keep it in a distillation pot, trailer or any other mobile container that can be transported further to complete the distillation process.
The wilting conditions should be perfect but some content of the essential oil will be lost even then if you pile-up a large bulk of leaves and stems on one another. Also, the plant should be kept safe from the attack of the microorganisms as they can initiate the fermentation process which deteriorates both quantity and quality of Peppermint oil. Therefore, some producers of Peppermint oil start the distillation process as soon as the plant is cut.
How to extract Peppermint oil?
Peppermint essential oil is mostly present in cells that are found in the underside of the leaves. It is extracted from the steam distillation of partially dry or fresh Peppermint leaves.
Peppermint oil sustains a longer period as compared to the other essential oil. For that, you will have to place the bottle in a cool, dry, and dark place. Fasten the lid of the bottle tightly after using and do not expose it under direct sunlight.
Peppermint Oil: Uses
Peppermint oil improves your concentration and memory. It also boosts your energy levels. It can be used to cure laziness and it relaxes your nerves as well. All these properties can be amplified by blending it in an essential oil diffuser.
You can add a few drops of Peppermint oil in creams and moisturizers to get instant relief from sore muscles as it has a soothing and calming effect on the muscles. It has been used to get instant relief from headaches, skin inflammation, dryness, and itchiness of the skin and joint pain from ages. It also soothes the sunburns effectively.
You can dilute it with carrier oils to make a bath blend if you are suffering from back pain, cough, fatigue or stress. It restores circulation, provides relief to the feet from tiredness, and heals cramps, spasms, and other kinds of muscle problems. Peppermint oil also heals dry, itchy, and inflamed the skin.
You can pour a few drops of Peppermint oil in your spray cleaners to sanitize the kitchen, bathroom, and other rooms that are infested with bacteria. This is possible because of the antifungal and antibacterial properties of this oil. It also acts as a powerful deterrent for insects, mites, and other types of pests.
Varieties of Peppermint oil & their unique benefits
|Variety & Scientific Name||Predominantly found in (Origin)||Benefits|
|Corn mint aka Peppermint Japanese – Mentha Arvensis||· India||· Anaesthetic properties due to simultaneous action of cooling and heating
· Heal’s itching, skin inflammation, muscle spasms, sunburn
· Soothes and softens your skin
· Removes greasiness of skin and hair
|Peppermint Supreme aka Candy Mint, Black Mitcham, Mitcham Peppermint, etc. – Mentha piperita||· England (mainly a region located in Surrey named as Mitcham)
· Also found in some regions of India
|· Soothes Headaches
· Provides relief from coughing
· Improves concentration and focus
· Enhances memory
NAHA has refrained people from consuming any essential oil internally. Also, you need to apply Peppermint oil on the skin after diluting it and that also in small quantities. It contains Menthol that can irritate the skin and disturb mucous membranes. Therefore, you must never apply it to the sensitive points of the skin such as eyes, lips, inner part of the ears, etc. Daily consumption and overdose of Peppermint oil are not recommended since it can disturb your sleep patterns.
Overdose of this oil can also cause nausea or you can see redness or rashes on the skin. Issues in the urinary bladder, pain in the abdomen, vomiting, convulsions, vomiting, diarrhea, bouts of depression and even unconsciousness in extreme circumstances, etc. are the other side effects of over-utilizing the Peppermint oil.
Do not forget to consult a doctor or therapist if you want to use Peppermint oil for massage or any other therapeutic purposes especially if you are suffering from skin issues or allergies. Pregnant women and breastfeeding ladies should not apply Peppermint on any part of their body without the advice of a doctor. Also, this oil is meant only for external application. Furthermore, you must keep it away from the reach of children.