This cooling and refreshing essential oil is used in aromatherapy
to stimulate the mind, increase mental agility and to increase
focus, while cooling the skin, reducing redness and calming
irritation and itchiness. It furthermore helps to ease spastic
colon, migraine, headaches, sinus and chest congestion and boosts
the digestive system.
Peppermint oil has a fresh, sharp, menthol smell, is clear to pale
yellow in color and watery in viscosity.
Origin of peppermint oil
It is a native of the Mediterranean, but is now also cultivated in
Italy, USA, Japan and Great Britain. It is a perennial herb that
grows up to 1 meter (3 feet) high and has slightly hairy serrated
leaves with pinkish-mauve flowers arranged in a long conical shape.
It has underground runners by which it easily propagates. This herb
has many species, and peppermint piperita is a hybrid of watermint
(M. aquatica) and spearmint (M. spicata).
According to Greek mythology the nymph Mentha was hotly pursued by
Pluto, whose jealous wife Persephone, trod her ferociously into the
ground, whereupon Pluto then turned her into a herb, knowing that
people would appreciate her for years to come.
It has been cultivated since ancient times in Japan and China.
Evidence of use was found in Egypt in a tomb dating back from 1000
Peppermint oil is extracted from the whole plant above ground just
before flowering. The oil is extracted by steam distillation from
the fresh or partly dried plant and the yield is 0.1 - 1.0 %.
The chemical components of peppermint oil are menthol, menthone,
1,8-cineole, methyl acetate, methofuran, isomenthone, limonene,
b-pinene, a-pinene, germacrene-d, trans-sabinene hydrate and
Peppermint oil is non-toxic and non-irritant in low dilutions, but
sensitization may be a problem due to the menthol content.
It can cause irritation to the skin and mucus membranes and should
be kept well away from the eyes. It should be avoided during
pregnancy and should not be used on children under seven.
The therapeutic properties of peppermint oil are analgesic,
anesthetic, antiseptic, antigalactagogue, antiphlogistic,
antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cephalic, cholagogue,
cordial, decongestant, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge,
hepatic, nervine, stimulant, stomachic, sudorific, vasoconstrictor
Peppermint oil is excellent for mental fatigue and depression,
refreshing the spirit and stimulating mental agility and improving
concentration. It helps for apathy, shock, headache, migraine,
nervous stress, vertigo and faintness and in general respiratory
disorders, as well as dry coughs, sinus congestion, asthma,
bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis and cholera.
For the digestive system, peppermint oil is effective for a range
of ailments, as it stimulates the gall bladder and the secretion of
bile. It is used for colic, cramps, dyspepsia, spastic colon,
flatulence and nausea and can relieve pain in cases of toothache,
aching feet, rheumatism, neuralgia, muscular pains and painful
On the skin, peppermint oil is used to relieve skin irritation and
itchiness and also helps to reduce skin redness, where inflammation
is present. It is used for dermatitis, acne, ringworm, scabies and
pruritus and also relieves itching, sunburn and inflammation of the
skin, while at the same time having a cooling action.