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All About Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil is a popular essential oil on the market today and has a minty, fresh and sweet aroma and produces a tingly, cool feeling to the touch. It is used in many products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, gum, candy, soap and cosmetics. The peppermint plant is a hybrid between the spearmint and water mint plants.

Peppermint essential oil should be listed with the botanical name of mentha x piperita. The botanical family is lamiaceae (labiatae). Peppermint essential oil is a lower cost for essential oils. Prices range from $10-28 for 15 ml depending on the brand and if it is organic.

Peppermint essential oil has GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe for food additive or flavoring by the US Food and Drug Administration) status.* The main constituents are Menthol, Menthone, Menthyl acetateNeomenthol, and 1,8-Cineole. The fragrance note classification is middle to middle top and the consistency is thin.

For much more on essential oils, be sure to see my Comprehensive Guide to Essential Oils.

How is Peppermint essential oil made?

To obtain peppermint essential oil, most brands will use steam distillation with the leaves and some will use the whole plant. Most essential oil brands source their peppermint raw material from India, Italy and the USA.

It is possible that an essential oil brand can sell different types of peppermint (mentha x piperita) essential oil, which is usually listed by the country of origin as this causes a slight variation to the chemical constituents and scent.

What is the shelf life of Peppermint essential oil?

Approximately 3-5 years with proper storage in cool, dark spaces. Older oils can potentially cause sensitization or skin irritation due to oxidation.

Can you use Peppermint essential oil on or around children?

Within the aromatherapy community you will see various professional opinions on the use of peppermint essential oil on and around children due to some of the potent constituents, specifically the menthol content. Menthol, the primary constituent, can cause respiratory distress for some children or be neurotoxic when used in high doses, which can happen unintentionally when applied on or near the faces of infants or children.

If you are interested in using peppermint essential oil topically on young children, consider using a Peppermint hydrosolWhen the peppermint leaves or plant material has been distilled to separate out the essential oil, what is left is aromatic waters known as a hydrosol or hydrolate. These aromatic waters are not as strong as their essential oil counterpart and are gentle on the skin. Often, these hydrosols can be used without dilution and on children and pets.

Some essential oil brands have a list of essential oils that are considered safe for children age 2-10 years old, peppermint essential oil is not one of them. These companies do not use peppermint essential oil in any of their kid line essential oil blends or synergies. Other brands have information listed for peppermint essential oil such as “Not intended for use on infants.”

Always refer to the specific instructions listed for the essential oil by the brand you are purchasing from. Here is some more information within the industry to help you decide if and when you feel comfortable using peppermint essential oil with your child.

From the Age of Client Section on the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists:

Infants, toddlers, and young children are more sensitive to the potency of essential oils and safe dilutions generally range from 0.5 – 2.5% depending on the condition. Certain essential oils should either be avoided, used in highly diluted form under the guidance of a knowledgeable professional, or included as a minor percentage in a professionally-formulated essential oil blend. For example, special caution should be exercised with potentially toxic essential oils such as Birch and Wintergreen which are both high in methyl salicylate, Eucalyptus which is high in 1,8 cineole and Peppermint which is high in menthol. Elderly clients may have more skin sensitivities so a reduced concentration/dilution may be indicated.

From Tisserand Institute March 8, 2017

Peppermint Essential Oil Infographic

What is the Peppermint essential oil dilution rate for topical application?

  • Adult: maximum 5-5.4% dilution
  • 3-6 years of age: up to 0.5% dilution
  • 6-15 years of age: general dilution rates recommended at 1.5-3%, especially for children on the younger side of the age range start with the lower dilution rate

How can Peppermint essential oil be used?

40 Ways to Use Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil is one of the best essential oils to own. It can invigorates the mind and spirit as well as provides a sense of peace and helps to clear the mind. Here is a list of many ways you can use peppermint essential oil.

  • Uplifts and refreshes
  • Helps with digestion
  • Use on achy muscles
  • Use in massage
  • Helps to soothe, awaken and perk up
  • Relieves headache and migraines
  • Use to repel spiders and bugs, such as mosquitos
  • Add a drop or two to shampoo or conditioner for a tingly, refreshing scalp massage
  • Diffuse for a cool vapor
  • Use to help open nasal passages
  • Use as a natural mouthwash
  • Provides a cool sensation that soothes sunburn
  • Use in lotion to address dry, rough heels
  • Make an invigorating salt or sugar scrub
  • Use with Epsom salt to make a foot soak
  • Sniff from the bottle or diffuse for a queasy stomache
  • Use in the car to help with motion sickness
  • Use on the back of neck to help relieve tension
  • Create a spray with witch hazel to help with hot flashes during menopause
  • Use to help with toothache
  • Use for cleaning
  • Use in a carrier oil for a quick after workout massage for achy, tired muscles
  • Make a refreshing body spray to use on hot days
  • Use with a sports massage
  • Use for relief from itchy skin
  • Create a room spray to freshen a room
  • Use to prevent ants from entering the home
  • Add to lotion or other skin care products
  • Add to laundry detergent, wool dryer balls  or a cloth in the dryer to lightly scent laundry
  • Use to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Bath oil (dilute properly prior to adding to bath)
  • Use when needing to feel calm
  • Use to promote self confidence
  • Helps to lift feelings of heaviness, grief or worry
  • Helps to encourage alertness, focus and memory
  • Helps to stimulate creativity
  • Use to make shaving cream
  • Helps improve circulation
  • Some will use to flavor food and drinks, such as in smoothies or brownies*
  • Some will ingest to help with digestion*

What essential oils can Peppermint essential oil blend with?

Blending peppermint essential oil with other essential oils may seem difficult at first, but is easier than expected. Try with citrus essential oils for a refreshing and invigorating scent. Or a woodsy essential oils for a fresh, earthy scent.

Using essential oils together allows you to experience new scents as well as enhanced therapeutic benefits. Here is a collective list of essential oils that blend well with peppermint essential oil from many of the top essential oil companies.

  • Basil Linalool (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
  • Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
  • Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
  • Cyprus (Cupresses sempervirens)
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata)
  • Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum or Pelargonium graveolens)
  • Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi)
  • Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Lemon (Citrus x limon)
  • Lime (Citrus x aurantifolia)
  • Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
  • Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
  • Orange (Citrus sinensis)
  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
  • Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii var motia)
  • Pine (Pinus banksiana)
  • Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica)
  • Red Pine (Pinus resinosa)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
  • Spruce Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
  • Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia)
  • Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
  • Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)

Many of the essential oil brands sell blends or synergy products. These are essential oil blends that have been formulated by an aromatherapist who understands how the essential oil constituents impact the body and how the essential oils work together to create a specific scent or impact on feelings and emotions or therapeutic benefit.

While the exact proportions of the essential oils are not listed in the essential oil blend, they might give you ideas of what you can do on your own. Here are a few examples of blends or synergies that have peppermint essential oil from well known essential oil brands.

  • Tension Relief from Plant Therapy
  • PanAway from Young Living
  • Clear the Air from NOW
  • Motivate from doTERRA
  • Mental Focus or Energize from Aromatics
  • Good Morning from Eden’s Garden
  • Migraine Support from Rocky Mountain Oils

What do I need to consider when using Peppermint essential oil?

Peppermint essential oil poured from bottle

Some companies produce Peppermint hydrosols, which are great for children, pets and adults. This product can be used as a refreshing body spray on hot days or during hormonal fluctuations. Or use as a foot spray to refresh and soothe after a long day. It is also soothing to skin that has been over exposed to the sun. Also, using this instead of distilled water in DIY recipe is a great way to use the benefits of a peppermint hydrosol.

Avoid peppermint essential oil if you have cardiac fibrillation or G6PD deficiency. Use caution if you use internally, especially if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or cholestasis. Some essential oil brands say to avoid if you have epilepsy or are taking homeopathic remedies.

Do not apply peppermint essential oil on or near the face of an infant or child. Some brands list that peppermint essential oil is not intended for use on infants or children.

Peppermint essential oil can cause possible skin sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children. Do not apply near eyes or on or around mucous membranes.

 

*Please note, not all essential oils should be ingested and the specific essential oil brand labels and directions should be followed. Also, there is debate within the industry regarding ingestion of essential oils without following guidance from a physician or certified aromatherapist.

Disclaimer: For informational and educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have a health concern, a medical condition, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are taking any medication please consult your healthcare provider.