Peppermint oil is one of the most widely used essential oils, found in everything from candy canes, to chewing gum, to toothpaste. Beyond its good smell and unique, refreshing taste, however, peppermint essential oil has a number of benefits for your health.
While some of these uses you may already know, there are many uses and benefits of peppermint oil that we are only beginning to understand. Here are twenty-five of the top, and often surprising, benefits of peppermint essential oil.
25 Incredible Peppermint Oil Uses
There’s a reason why, traditionally, restaurants give out mints at the end of your meal. It’s because mints contain peppermint oil, which aids digestion and relieves uncomfortable gas caused by indigestion, leaving you with happy memories of a good meal instead of associating their restaurant with pain from overeating.
While most mints now are more sugar than anything else, you can still use peppermint oil for indigestion relief: Drink a glass of water with a few drops of peppermint essential oil added. The oil increases the acidity of your stomach, helping you to better digest foods, and also will relieve gas and discomfort. (1, 2, 3, 4)
2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Enteric coated (to prevent dissolving in the stomach) peppermint oil capsules taken between meals has been found to ease the symptoms of IBS. It relaxes the smooth muscles in the intestinal tract and improves rhythmic contractions, which relieves abdominal pain, gas, and diarrhea. It has been found to be especially helpful in treating children with IBS. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Peppermint oil, when taken orally in the form of enteric-coated pills, has proven to cure gallstones and ureteric stones. Be sure to talk to your doctor about appropriate doses for you. (4, 5)
Applying a topical solution of ethanol and 10% peppermint oil has been found to reduce the symptoms of tension headaches. Diffusing peppermint oil (vapor therapy) may also help to ease headache pain. (3, 4, 6)
5. Fibromyalgia and Rheumatism
Peppermint oil has excellent muscle pain relieving effects and is effective in helping to ease the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Rubbing some diluted peppermint oil on aching muscles and joints helps to decrease the inflammation causing the pain. Adding some peppermint essential oil to your bath will also help relax your muscles and ease joint pain. (1, 3, 7)
6. Candida Overgrowth
Chronic Candidiasis can cause stomach pain, bloating, and gas, as well as rashes on the skin. Peppermint oil has antibacterial properties that have proven effective against out of control Candida bacteria when taken in enteric-coated capsules. (4, 5, 8)
7. Sinus Infections
Thanks again to the antibacterial and antimicrobial factors in peppermint oil, diffusing or breathing in peppermint oil vapor helps to clear mucus, improve breathing, and increase sinus drainage. It is often used to treat acute sinusitis and both chronic and acute bronchitis. (4, 8)
Similar to it’s ability to fight sinus infections, inhaling peppermint oil vapor also has an anti-inflammatory effects on the trachea. This decrease in inflammation in-turn decreases the effects of asthma. (8)
9. Hot Flashes
Menopausal women everywhere rejoice! A spray made up of peppermint oil and neroli hydrolat has shown to be effective for some women at reducing annoying hot flashes. (4)
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10. Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
Peppermint oil has a direct virucidal (aka destructive) effect on HSV, and is even effective against certain acyclovir-resistant strains of HSV-1.
One of the reasons peppermint oil is so effective is because of it’s lipophilic nature, meaning it can easily penetrate the skin. This may make it useful as a topical treatment for herpes. (4)
11. Mosquito Repellent
So long, blood-suckers! The menthal in peppermint oil, when applied to your skin, has shown to have a strong repellent action against mosquitoes. This is fantastic for anyone who wants to avoid both getting bitten and the chemicals in convention bug spray. (4)
12. Reduce Nausea
Whether you have a fever, just had surgery, or get motion sickness, peppermint is an incredible anti-nauseate. It is most effective when inhaled in vapor form, however peppermint teas or adding a few drops of peppermint oil to a glass of water may also help. (1, 3, 4)
13. Nervous Disorders and Mental Fatigue
Peppermint oil has psychoactive actions that may have similar effects as psychostimulants, helping to calm the mind and help those who suffer from nervous disorders still lead productive lives. (4)
14. Increase Concentration
Even for those who don’t suffer from nervous disorders, peppermint oil still has a mind stimulating effect. The next time you have lots of work or studying to do, diffuse some peppermint oil while working to help you concentrate and do better quality work. (4)
15. Antimicrobial and Anti-Plasmid Activity
Peppermint oil has shown to be effective against bacteria such as E. Coli, Staphylococus epidermis, and two Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast strains. More importantly, the menthol in peppermint oil kills plasmid-containing bacteria that are resistant to other antibacterial agents. (4)
16. Type 1 Allergic Reactions
Though not entirely sure on the mechanism, it has been reported that peppermint oil is effective against type 1 allergic reactions, which are the immediate hypersensitivity reactions causing anaphylaxis. (4, 9)
17. As an Anti-Fungal
In a 1:20 (or 5%) dilution of peppermint oil and water, peppermint oil has shown to inhibit the growth of Aspergillus niger fungus (black mold on fruit) and Penicillium ckyogenum fungus (salted food products and water damaged buildings), all which can be detrimental to human health. (4)
18. Reduce Appetite and Cravings
If you are trying to lose weight and struggling with cravings or constantly feeling hungry, diffusing peppermint may help you stick to your diet better. One study found that the scent of peppermint may help to decrease appetite and quench cravings. (4)
19. Reduce Daytime Sleepiness
Though the mechanism is unclear, some studies have found that peppermint oil may help reduce feelings of fatigue and keep you energized throughout your day. The next time you feel yourself hitting that afternoon slump, try rubbing a little bit of diluted peppermint oil on your wrists or somewhere near your face and allow the aroma to revitalize you. Make sure to test it on a small, covered area in case of allergic reaction and avoid exposing that area to the sun. (4)
Got too much sun at the beach this weekend? Try adding a few drops of peppermint oil to your body cream or lotion for a soothing effect and to reduce the overall red appearance of the burn. (4)
Mosquitoes aren’t the only critters who dislike peppermint oil: The Phenols, phenolic ethers, ketones, and oxides have a toxic effect when used on lice. (4)
The antibacterial properties of peppermint oil are quite effective against acne causing bacteria. The menthol has a cooling, anti-inflammatory effect on the red bumps, and it also has a cleansing effect on the skin, unclogging your pores of trapped oils and providing a less favorable environment for bacteria. (10, 11)
To use for acne, you can directly apply high quality peppermint oil directly to the effected skin for a spot-treatment, wash your face with clean water mixed with a few drops of peppermint oil, or you can dilute the oil in coconut oil and use as a moisturizer. Again, always spot-check first in a non-visible area, such as under your armpit. (11)
Many people do not realize that dandruff is just a form of acne on your scalp. Try adding a few drops of peppermint oil to your shampoo and watch your dandruff disappear. (4)
24. Hair Growth
Anyone who struggles to grow long, thick, beautiful hair should consider using peppermint oil in the hair-care routine. Add a few drops of peppermint oil to your shampoo for the longest, thickest, healthiest hair you’ve ever had. (12)
25. Bad Breath
Saving the most obvious for last: Peppermint oil has amazing bad-breath killing abilities, and more importantly, it helps to protect you from gum infection-causing bacteria. This is why most toothpastes have peppermint oil added to them, as well as mouth washes. Swish some peppermint oil and water around your mouth after eating to take care of any bad breath and bacteria. (4)
The great thing is, peppermint oil is easy to make at home! Follow this video below to learn how to make your own peppermint essential oil:
As you can see, there are so many peppermint oil uses! Comment below and let us know what your favorite way to use peppermint oil is.
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(5) Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, 3rd Edition
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