Peppermint oil is one of the most popular and versatile essential oils available. It is used a treat a number of health issues and offers many physical and mental benefits. It can be used topically, internally or aromatically.
Peppermint is a hybrid herb of spearmint and water mint. The essential oils are created through cold extraction of the flowering plant. The use of peppermint dates all the way back to 1000 BC, with it even being found in many Egyptian pyramids.
12 Top Benefits & Uses of Peppermint Oil
Today, many people use peppermint oil regularly for the fantastic benefits it offers. From relieving nausea to fighting infections, it’s a valuable essential oil which can help treat many health conditions. Let’s take a look at the best benefits and uses peppermint oil offers.
1. Treats Respiratory Conditions
Peppermint oil offers many respiratory benefits. It helps to open your airways, unclog sinuses, clear mucus, and reduce congestion. As it has antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidant properties, it is ideal to use for treating the flu, cough, asthma, and bronchitis. Peppermint oil is also great for soothing a sore throat, as it helps calm down inflammation.
If you are suffering from clogged sinuses, try inhaling diffused peppermint oil to quickly clear the sinus cavity, allowing you to breathe easier. Another way to use peppermint oil for clearing sinuses is to combine it with almond oil and rub it gently under your nose. For a homemade vapor rub, mix peppermint oil with coconut oil and eucalyptus oil.
2. Reduces Headaches
According to a study completed by the Neurological Clinic at the University of Kiel in Germany, peppermint oil has a significant analgesic effect, which results in reduced sensitivity to headaches. As peppermint oil has the abilities to improve circulation, relieve muscle tension, and heal the gut, it’s an excellent natural remedy for migraines and tension headaches.
To relieve headaches, apply 2–3 drops of peppermint oil to your temples, forehead and the back of your neck.
3. Eliminates Nausea and Motion Sickness
For the many people who suffer from motion sickness, it’s incredibly unpleasant as symptoms include dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. By applying peppermint oil topically to the abdomen, it can significantly reduce these symptoms of motion sickness.
Post-surgery nausea is very common, and a research study found that when patients inhaled peppermint oil after surgery, their nausea levels had significantly decreased from before inhaling the oil. To reduce nausea, inhale peppermint oil directly from the bottle, or you can rub 1–2 drops behind your ears.
4. Relieves Muscle and Joint Pain
Peppermint oil acts as a natural pain reliever and muscle relaxant. It also has cooling and invigorating properties and is capable of preventing or relieving muscle spasms. When applied topically, it’s been shown to provide pain relief to those who suffer from fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome. Peppermint oil can also reduce discomfort associated with achy or painful joints.
For pain relief, apply 2–3 drops of peppermint oil directly to the area of concern three times a day. You can also add 5 drops to warm bath water with Epsom salt. To reduce muscle and joint pain, mix peppermint oil with lavender oil and apply directly to the affected area.
5. Increases Energy and Physical Performance
Inhaling peppermint oil can provide a boost of energy and enhance physical performance, making it an excellent natural alternative to chemical-filled energy drinks. It can also improve mental alertness and memory. It’s great to use as a pick-me-up during a long day at work or school, or before your gym workout.
To increase energy levels and improve concentration, drink a glass of water with 1-2 drops of peppermint oil, or apply 2-3 drops to the back of your neck and temples.
6. Thickens and Nourishes Hair
Peppermint oil is found in lots of high-quality hair care products as it thickens and nourishes hair naturally. It can also be used as a natural remedy for treating dandruff. A study conducted with mice showed that after topical application of peppermint for four weeks, the results showed a significant increase in dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth. Peppermint oil can even be used to get rid of lice, as lice are repelled by its smell.
To promote hair growth or thickness, and help nourish damaged hair, add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil to your shampoo and conditioner. To treat dandruff, mix a couple of drops with coconut oil or olive oil and let sit for 30 minutes, with a shower cap on your head.
7. Reduces Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
Peppermint oil helps to relax the muscles in the nasal passages and remove the pollen and muck during allergy season. As it has expectorant, anti-inflammatory, and invigorating properties, it’s considered the ideal essential oil to use for allergies.
For relief from the symptoms that come with seasonal allergies, diffuse peppermint oil with eucalyptus oil, or apply 2–3 drops of peppermint oil to your temples, chest, and back of the neck.
8. Improves IBS Symptoms
Peppermint oil, when taken daily in capsule form, it has been proven to help reduce the symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). This includes urgent and frequent bathroom trips, abdominal pain and/or bleeding, spasms in the colon, bloating and gassiness.
To treat IBS, take 2 peppermint oil capsules twice a day, or try drinking 1-2 drops in a glass of water. You can also apply 2–3 drops of peppermint oil directly to your abdomen.
9. Relieves Itchiness
The menthol content in peppermint oil naturally counteracts itching. A study conducted with pregnant women who had pruritis, an itchy skin condition, showed that itchiness had significantly decreased after the women applied a mixture of peppermint oil and sesame oil topically.
To treat itchy skin, apply 2–3 drops of peppermint oil directly to the affected area, or add 5–10 drops to a warm bath. If you have sensitive skin, combine it with equal parts carrier oil before topical application. Peppermint oil mixed with lavender oil also works well for itch relief, as lavender has skin-soothing properties on its own.
10. Freshens Breath
Peppermint oil is a natural breath freshener. In fact, it can be more effective at eliminating bad breath than conventional mouthwashes which are filled with chemicals. It also helps kill off bacteria and fungus in the mouth which can lead to cavities or infections.
For minty breath and a healthy mouth, add one drop of peppermint oil to your toothpaste before brushing your teeth.
11. Improves Skin and Relieves Sunburns
Peppermint oil is successful at calming, toning, and softening the skin thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties. It has been shown to reduce acne, greasy skin, dermatitis, and sunburns.
To improve your skin’s appearance and help treat acne, mix 2 – 3 drops of peppermint oil with equal parts lavender oil and apply directly to affected area. For sunburn relief, mix 2 3 drops of peppermint oil with a half teaspoon of coconut oil and apply topically to the sunburned skin.
12. Repels Bugs
Although many humans find the smell of peppermint to be pleasing, many critters feel the opposite and are repelled by peppermint’s scent, including ants, spiders, cockroaches, mosquitos, and mice. A study showed that when people applied 0.1 ml of peppermint oil to their arms, they were fully protected against mosquitoes for 150 minutes. However, after 150 minutes, ifs efficiency decreased and needed to be reapplied.
In addition to applying peppermint oil topically as a natural bug repellent, you can also keep ants out of your home by putting some peppermint oil on a cotton ball, and make a barrier, wiping it around the areas where they are entering your home.
Peppermint oil is mostly safe when used topically and aromatically. If drinking peppermint oil, it must be in small amounts, as an excessive amount can be toxic. Only a tiny bit – 1 or 2 drops – is necessary to gain its full effects. Ingesting peppermint oil can cause side effects in some people, including heartburn, flushing, mouth sores and headaches.
Do not use peppermint oil on an infant’s or young child’s face or chest because it can cause skin irritations. When using peppermint oil on sensitive skin, always dilute it with a carrier oil first, such as coconut oil.
Some prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs can have adverse interactions with peppermint oil. Therefore, be sure to always check with your doctor first before regularly using of any type of essential oil to treat a health-related condition.