The Surprising Benefits of Peppermint Oil

peppermint oil benefits

Peppermint oil; as the name suggests is derived from peppermint, an ancient herb and this herb has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times in China, Japan, and Egypt. It is a hybrid cross between the spearmint and water mint plants.

In modern times, peppermint oil serves as a natural alternative for the treatment of many maladies and is also a common ingredient in common off-the-shelf care products.

What Is Peppermint Oil?

Peppermint Oil is a herbal supplement derived from the peppermint plant. This plant is a naturally occurring hybrid cross between the watermint and spearmint plants and originated in Europe and the Middle East.

Historical accounts date its usage in ancient China and Japan for medicinal purposes. Ancient Egyptians used peppermint and dried peppermint leaves have been discovered in pyramids that have been carbon dated back to 1,000 BC.

The Romans grew peppermint for medicinal purposes, especially as a digestive aid in their gardens. It was also grown as a ground cover between stepping stone pathways as they enjoyed the pleasing aroma the plants produced when crushed underfoot.

Peppermint grows mostly in moist areas like river banks, lakesides, and ditches. It is a hybrid plant and reproduces only vegetatively by spreading by its runners. It is widely grown all over the world today.

In 1750, a new hybrid was created and grown in London and is the first recorded cultivation of peppermint. Peppermint was first grown commercially in the United States in 1790 in the state of Massachusetts.

Outside of its native range, the areas where peppermint is invasive and is officially grown for the production of oil are Australia, the Galápagos Islands, New Zealand, and in the Great Lakes region of the United States.

According to a 2014 FAOSTAT report of the United Nations(1), 92,296 tonnes of peppermint were produced worldwide with Morocco accounting for 92% and Argentina 8%.

Today the health benefits of peppermint oil have been widely documented through extensive scientific research. Many medicines and skin care products contain peppermint oil.

It is most commonly available as Peppermint Essential oil which is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile (easily evaporated at normal temperatures) chemical compounds from the peppermint plant.

[Also Read: Health Benefits of Coconut Oil]

The Greek Connection

The name Peppermint originates in ancient Greek mythology in the form of a love triangle. The popular myth suggests that Hades seduced Minthe, a nymph. Enraged with jealousy, Persephone, his wife, turned Minthe into a plant that people would tread on everywhere.

Hades was outraged and imbued the plant with peppermint so that whenever the plant was crushed underneath footfalls, it would release a wonderful aroma and people would forever remember Minthe and recall how beautiful and full of life she had been.

Did You Know!

  • It takes 256 pounds of peppermint leaves to make one pound of peppermint essential oil.
  • 1 drop of peppermint oil is equal to 28 cups of peppermint tea

How Is Peppermint Oil Made?

  • Peppermint essential oil is extracted through a steam distillation process from the parts of the plant that grow above the ground, mainly the leaves and flowers. The active ingredients in peppermint oil include menthol and menthone.

Historical Nuggets

  • 1877: Colgate toothpaste with peppermint flavoring was introduced for the first time.
  • Late 1800s: The Black Mitchum variety of peppermint was planted in Michigan and Indiana and transformed useless mucklands into productive agriculture lands.
  • Early 1900s: Wrigley Chewing Gum and Peppermint hard candy, LifeSavers were introduced to consumers.
  • 1900s: Hiram G. Hotchkis (New York) and A.M. Todd (Michigan) became the Peppermint Kings.
  • 1950s: Verticillium Wilt, a disease nearly destroyed the peppermint industry and prompted the A.M. Todd Company to develop a wilt-resistant variety of peppermint.

Peppermint growers in the United States replaced the old method that required boiling the mint in order to release the oils and then skimming the oil off the top of the water by beginning to use steam distilleries in 1864.

The new distillation process not only improved the quality of the extracted oil but also significantly enhanced production. The United States produces approximately 75 percent of the world’s peppermint oil today.

How to Make Peppermint Oil at Home?

benefits of peppermint essential oil
Image: Shutterstock

Preparation Time: 10 mins

Steeping Time: 2 weeks

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peppermint leaves (fresh)
  • 1 cup olive oil (or grapeseed oil)

Instructions

  • To make peppermint oil, crush the fresh leaves with your hands or chop them using a knife. Thereafter, put it in a glass jar.
  • Pour olive oil over it and mix thoroughly.
  • Close the lid, shake the jar, and let it steep for about 1-2 weeks. Make sure to shake the jar at least once every day.
  • Strain the oil using a fine strainer or cheesecloth in an airtight container.
  • Use the oil immediately or store it in a cool and dry place for 3-5 months.

Notes: You may keep repeating the entire process until the desired quantity of oil is obtained or you can take a large quantity in the first go itself. Remember, the ratio of peppermint leaves to oil should not be more than 1:1

Composition of Peppermint Oil and Nutritional Information

The main active components of peppermint essential oil are menthol (50–60 %) and menthone (10–30 %). It also contains many essential minerals and vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and even fatty acids. Minerals such as calcium and folate found in peppermint increase the nutritional value.

Amount per 100gms % Daily Value
Total Fat 0.9 g 1%
Saturated fat 0.2 g 1%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.5 g 0%
Monounsaturated fat 0 g 0%
Trans fat 0 g 0%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 31 mg 1%
Potassium 569 mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 15 g 5%
Dietary fiber 8 g 32%
Protein 3.8 g 8%
Vitamin A 85%
Calcium 24%
Vitamin D 0%
Vitamin B-12 0%
Vitamin C 53%
Iron 28%
Vitamin B-6 5%
Magnesium 20%

Benefits of Peppermint Oil

In modern times, peppermint oil is recommended for the treatment of many symptoms. It has displayed anti-nausea benefits and soothing effects on the gastric lining and colon. Its cooling effects help relieve sore muscles when used topically and its antimicrobial properties to help fight infection.

Peppermint oil has many health benefits including acting as an insect repellent, treatment of joint pains and headaches, improving circulation, ensuring healthy skin, and promoting general health and stress relief.

Peppermint oil displays the following properties:

    • Antimicrobial
    • Antiviral
    • Antioxidant
    • Antifungal
    • Antiedema
    • Analgesic

Health Benefits of Peppermint Oil

Peppermint essential oil is used in a wide variety of places such as culinary, medicinal, and topical applications. The oil has a distinct aroma, a cooling sensation, and a spicy touch to it. It has been used since ancient times in Japan and China for the treatment of stomach issues and nausea.

Today, peppermint oil is an ingredient in many generic products such as candy, chewing gum, cough syrup, liqueur, mouthwash, ointment, shampoo, soap, and toothpaste among others.

Some of its medicinal uses are:

1. Peppermint Oil for Hair

hair loss remedies
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Hair loss is a distressing condition that is associated with a multitude of natural, medical, or nutritional conditions. Male pattern baldness, for example, is increasingly recognized as a physically and psychologically debilitating medical condition.

Peppermint oil is used for the treatment of dryness and itchiness in the scalp and also for hair loss. Its antimicrobial properties make it ideal for scalp ailments and its vasodilator properties help with hair loss by increasing blood circulation to the hair follicles.

An animal study with mice to test(2) for the effectiveness of peppermint oil for hair growth showed that after topical application of peppermint for four weeks, there was a significant increase in dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth.

Peppermint oil is used in many hair products as it can naturally thicken and nourish damaged hair.

How to Use:

  • To use peppermint oil to treat hair loss, you can add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil into your shampoo and conditioner or you could make homemade shampoo.
  • Just use the shampoo normally and enjoy the benefits.
  • Another way is to add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil to coconut or any other carrier oil.
  • Massage the oil onto your scalp thoroughly and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before bathing.

You will probably feel a tingling sensation. If it gets too intense for you, wash it off immediately and use a little less peppermint oil in the mixture next time.

Homemade Peppermint Oil Shampoo

Total Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz Aloe Vera Gel
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 10 tbsp Baking Soda
  • 20 drops Rosemary Oil
  • 10 drops Peppermint Oil
  • BPA free plastic dispenser bottles

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients together.
  • Store in a glass or plastic bottle in a cool area.

2. Peppermint Oil for Headaches

The active ingredients in peppermint oil have the ability to improve circulation, soothe the gut, and relax tensed muscles. These conditions are a common cause of tension headaches or migraines.

Researchers at the Neurological Clinic at the University of Kiel, Germany, conducted a clinical trial(3) and found that a combination of peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, and ethanol had a “significant analgesic effect with a reduction in sensitivity to headaches.”

There was also an increased cognitive performance when these oils were applied to the forehead and temple. They also had a muscle-relaxing effect.

How to Use:

  • To treat your headache, simply apply 2–3 drops of peppermint oil to your forehead, and the back of your neck.

[Also Read: Home Remedies for Headache]

3. Peppermint Oil for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome
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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects mostly women and the cause is still unknown. IBS symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal cramps. Treatments for IBS include changes in medication, diet, and lifestyle.

Peppermint oil taken in capsule form has been found to be effective in the treatment of IBS. It reduces spasms in the colon, relaxes the muscles of your intestines, and can help to reduce bloating and gassiness.

A randomized clinical trial(4) found a 50% reduction in IBS symptoms with 75 percent of patients who used it. A majority of the patients with IBS who were treated with two peppermint oil capsules twice a day for four weeks showed improved symptoms, including reduced abdominal bleeding, abdominal pain or discomfort, diarrhea, and constipation.

How to Use:

To ease the symptoms of IBS, take 1-2 drops of peppermint oil with a glass of water or in a capsule just before your meal. You can also try applying a few drops to your abdomen, though internal ingestion has been found to be more effective.

[Also Read: Yoga Poses for IBS]

4. Peppermint Oil for Cough and Sinus Care

Peppermint oil is a natural expectorant and helps to open airways, clear mucus, and reduce congestion. It is one of the best essential oils for the treatment of symptoms of colds, flu, cough, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory conditions.

Inhaling diffused peppermint oil offers relief from scratchy throats and unclogs your sinuses.

Elsevier’s Journal of Ethnopharmacology, published a study(5) that the use of peppermint oil proved to be antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory in nature, and considerably soothed the trachea inflammation and coughing in rats.

Laboratory studies have shown that the active ingredients of peppermint oil have antimicrobial, antiviral, and antioxidant properties and thus could help fight infections in the respiratory tract.

How to Use:

Diffuse and inhale a few drops of peppermint oil or apply 2-3 drops topically to your chest, back, neck and temples.

Homemade Vapour Rub

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup grated beeswax
  • 20 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • Glass Jar

Directions:

  • Pour the olive oil, coconut oil, and beeswax into a jar.
  • Place a saucepan with 2 inches of water over medium-low heat.
  • Place the jar in a saucepan and allow the oils to melt. Stir to combine.
  • Once combined, allow to cool slightly and add in the essential oils.
  • Pour mixture into metal tins or storage containers and allow to set.

5. Peppermint Oil for Muscle and Joint Pain

remedies for joint pain
Image:ShutterStock

Peppermint essential oil is an extremely effective muscle relaxant and pain killer due to its invigorating and antispasmodic properties. It is very good for the treatment of tension related headaches and in some clinical trials, it outperformed acetaminophen.

Studies(6) have shown that peppermint oil, when applied topically provides pain relief associated with fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome. Research shows that peppermint oil and menthol, among other herbal preparations, work as topical analgesics.

How to Use:

Peppermint oil can be used for pain relief by applying it topically to the affected area. Apply 2-3 drops directly or add a few drops to a warm water bath with Epsom salts. Combining Peppermint and Lavender Oil helps relax your body and reduce muscle pain.

Homemade Muscle Rub

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil.
  • 1/4 cup grated beeswax.
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne powder.
  • 2 teaspoon ginger or turmeric powder
  • 15 drops peppermint essential oil.
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil.
  • Glass jar.

Directions:

  • Pour all oils (except essential oils) into a jar. Place a saucepan with 2 inches of water over medium-low heat.
  • Place the jar in saucepan and allow contents to melt. Stir to combine. Add the cayenne and ginger/turmeric.
  • Once combined, allow to cool slightly and then add in essential oils. Mix well.
  • Pour mixture into metal tins or storage containers and allow to set.

(Note: While turmeric is an outstanding anti-inflammatory, be aware that it will cause some temporary skin discoloration).

6. Peppermint Oil for Fresh Breath and Oral Health

benefits of oral
Image:ShutterStock

Peppermint oil has active ingredients that kill bacteria and fungus in your mouth that could lead to cavities or infections. It is a natural breath freshener.

The European Journal of Dentistry published a study(7) that found that peppermint essential oil contained active ingredients that had antimicrobial activities against oral pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus fecalis, Escherichia coli, and Candida albicans.

How to use:

To boost your oral hygiene and freshen your breath, just add peppermint oil to your toothpaste or put a drop under your tongue and have a glass of water.

Homemade Peppermint oil Mouthwash

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 3 drops spearmint essential oil
  • 3 drops lemon essential oil
  • 3 cups spring water
  • 1 tablespoon calcium carbonate powder
  • 8 drops concentrated trace minerals liquid
  • 6 drops liquid pure stevia optional

Directions:

  • Using a mason jar or BPA-free plastic bottle, add the water, calcium carbonate powder and the trace minerals. Mix with a spoon.
  • Next, add the essential oils.
  • Close the container and shake well.

7. Peppermint Oil for Seasonal Allergy Relief

During allergy season, using peppermint oil helps clear the pollen and other muck from your respiratory tract and to relax the muscles in your nasal passages. It is one of the better essential oils for the treatment of allergies due to the expectorant, anti-inflammatory, and invigorating properties of its active ingredients.

The European Journal of Medical Research published a laboratory study(8) that menthol displayed therapeutic efficacy for the treatment of chronic inflammation such as allergic rhinitis, colitis, and bronchial asthma.

How to Use:

Diffuse and inhale a few drops of peppermint oil or apply 2-3 drops topically to your chest, back, neck and temples.

8. Peppermint Oil for Increased Energy and Exercise

Women Exercise
Image:ShutterStock

Peppermint essential oil is a natural non-toxic alternative for energy drinks. A few deep whiffs will boost your energy levels throughout the day and increase your memory and alertness.

Adding a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your drinking water can also enhance physical stamina and performance.

Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine published a study(9) that investigated the effects of ingesting peppermint oil on exercise performance. After ingestion of peppermint oil, significant improvements in all of the tested variables were observed by the researchers.

They also observed increased air exhalation suggesting that peppermint oil may have a positive effect on the bronchial smooth muscles.

How to Use:

To increase your energy level and concentration, drink 1-2 drops of peppermint oil along with a glass of water or alternatively apply 2-3 drops topically to your temples, neck, and back.

9. Peppermint Oil for Relieving Itchiness

Research has shown that menthol, the active ingredient in peppermint oil inhibits itching.

A clinical trial(10) involving randomly selected pregnant women diagnosed with pruritus tested for peppermint’s ability to relieve symptoms. Researchers found a significant improvement in women treated with peppermint oil.

How to Use:

To reduce itching, apply 2-3 drops of peppermint oil topically to the affected area or alternatively add a few drops to a warm water bath. If applying to a sensitive area, combine it with a carrier oil like coconut oil or mix with lavender oil, which also has soothing properties.

10. Peppermint Oil for Naturally Repelling Bugs

Peppermint Oil is a natural insect and bug repellent and is effective against ants, spiders, cockroaches, mosquitoes, mice, and possibly even lice.

The Malaria Journal published a study(11) that found that peppermint essential oil along with lemongrass, geraniol, pine, cedar, thyme, patchouli, and clove were the most effective bug repellents. These oils have shown to repel malaria, filarial and yellow fever vectors for 60–180 minutes.

How to Use:

For protection against bugs, apply a few drops of peppermint oil on your arms every 2-3 hours.

11. Peppermint Oil for Sunburn Protection and Relief

women suffer with sunburn
Image:ShutterStock

Peppermint oil provides natural relief from sunburn pains and helps to hydrate the affected skin area. Peppermint essential oil has a higher SPF value(12) compared to other essential oils.

See Also
how to cure heartburn

[Also Read: How to Treat Sunburn]

How to use:

For relief from sunburn and to promote natural and healthy skin regeneration, mix 2-3 drops of peppermint oils with coconut oil and apply directly to the affected areas.

Homemade Sunburn Spray Recipe

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup aloe vera juice
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil
  • 10 drops lavender oil
  • 10 drops peppermint oil
  • Glass spray bottle

Directions:

  • Add two inches of water to a small saucepan and place the aloe vera juice and coconut oil in the jar.
  • Place the jar in the saucepan and heat the pan over medium heat and allow the mixture to liquefy.
  • Keep stirring to combine.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the essential oils to the pan and mix well.
  • Pour the mixture into the spray bottle.
  • Store in a cool, dry place.

12. Peppermint Oil for Nausea

remedies for Nausea -
Image:ShutterStock

A study found(13) that inhaling peppermint oil significantly reduced nausea levels post-surgery. The patients were asked to rate how they felt being affected by nausea on a scale of 0 to 5, with 5 being the most nauseous. The average score went from 3.29 before peppermint oil inhalation to 1.44 within two minutes after using peppermint.

How to use:

To treat nausea, inhale the peppermint oil directly from the bottle or add one drop to a glass of water or rub 1-2 drops behind your ears.

[Also Read: Natural Ways to Treat Nausea ]

13. Peppermint Oil for Skin Health

Peppermint oil has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties and has calming, softening, toning, and anti-inflammatory effects on the skin when it’s used topically.

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine published a review(14) peppermint oil is also effective in reducing blackheads, chicken pox, greasy skin, dermatitis, inflammation, itchy skin, ringworm, scabies, and sunburn.

How to Use

To brighten skin: Include a few drops of peppermint oil into your daily skincare routine. The menthol content provides a cooling effect and reduces blotching and inflammation.

To treat acne and pimples: Mix 2-3 drops of peppermint and lavender essential oils and apply topically to the affected area. The antimicrobial properties inhibit bacterial growth and get rid of pimples quickly.

Peppermint oil can also be used as a facial mask, facial toner, and as a facial scrub as opposed to the store-bought options. It is a natural option for blemish free and healthy skin.

Homemade Peppermint Facial Scrub

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • Two tablespoons olive oil
  • Three teaspoons salt

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, peppermint oil, and salt.
  • Wash your face and gently rub the mixture onto your face. Rinse after 15-20 minutes.
  • Repeat the process every three days for healthy, radiant skin.

14. Peppermint Oil for Treatment of Colic

colic - abdominal pain
Image:ShutterStock

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine published a study(15) that found that using peppermint oil was equally effective as the drug Simethicone for treating infantile colic, and didn’t have the side effects associated with it.

Before applying peppermint oil on your infant, we strongly recommend that you discuss this treatment plan with your child’s pediatrician.

How to Use:

Apply 1 drop of peppermint oil topically on the stomach area or mix 1 drop with water and feed slowly over time.

15. Peppermint Oil as an Anti-cancer Agent

Peppermint oil has shown indications of being an anticancer agent in some laboratory studies(16). It was found that menthol, one of the active ingredients in peppermint oil inhibited prostate cancer growth by inducing cell death and regulating cellular processes.

Other Uses for Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is a safe and extremely versatile essential oil. It can be used internally in small doses and externally as a topical application. There are many ways to include peppermint oil into your daily routine.

Other Medicinal Uses

  • ADHD: Peppermint oil provides excellent support for ADHD. It has been shown to improve concentration, have a calming effect, and improve mental clarity. Just add a few drops on your child’s shirt/top for daylong benefits.
  • Reduces the frequency of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Although studies are still underway, peppermint oil has been shown to decrease the frequency with which UTIs,  owing to its antibacterial properties.
  • Antispasmodic: Peppermint oil has been found extremely useful during colonoscopies, gastroscopy, and during double-contrast barium enemas due to its muscle relaxing properties.
  • Reduces fever: Due to the cooling properties of menthol, peppermint oil has been found to be very effective in bringing down a fever, especially in children. To use, mix some peppermint essential oil with some coconut oil and apply to the feet and neck. It is an excellent alternative to store-bought drugs.
  • Helps with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: While the causes of this disease remain unknown, inhaling peppermint oil has been shown to relieve fatigue, the primary symptom.
  • Teething: Peppermint oil is an excellent natural alternative for relieving teething pain in infants and children. To use, mix 1 drop of peppermint oil and a quarter teaspoon of coconut oil and rub on the gums.
  • Improves blood circulation: The stimulating effects of peppermint oil have been shown to improve blood flow almost instantly upon inhalation.
  • Balances hormones: A blend of peppermint oil, fennel, clary sage, sage, and lavender helps balance hormones in both men and women.
  • Reduces breastfeeding discomfort: Rubbing a little peppermint oil on the breast can help relieve discomfort caused by cracked and dry skin and pain around the nipples during breastfeeding.
  • Nail care: Due to its antifungal properties, peppermint oil along with hydrogen peroxide is a very good treatment for fungal infections on your nails when applied topically.

Diffuse

To increase your alertness, add 3-5 drops of peppermint oil to an essential oil diffuser and enjoy the benefits as the aroma fills the room.

Cooking and Drinks

Peppermint leaves are often used alone in peppermint tea and/or with other herbs in herbal teas. Peppermint is also used for flavoring ice cream, candy, fruit preserves, alcoholic beverages, and chewing gum.

Homemade Peppermint Ice Cream

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 c heavy cream cold
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 3.5 oz peppermint crushed

Directions:

  • In a mixing bowl, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form
  • Blend in sweetened condensed milk
  • Fold in crushed peppermint
  • Pour into a loaf pan or baking dish and freeze until solid about 4-5 hours

Exfoliating

exfoliating skin
Image:ShutterStock

Peppermint oil is an excellent option for a natural foot or body scrub due to its soothing properties.

Homemade Exfoliating Foot Scrub

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 5 drops tea tree oil
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil

Directions:

  • Place the sea salt in a medium or large glass bowl
  • Add the olive oil and coconut oil. Blend the mixture with a fork or spoon
  • Add the essential oils
  • Combine all ingredients well
  • Transfer the mixture into a jar with a tight lid
  • Store in a cool, dark place or the refrigerator

Massage Oils – The active ingredients in peppermint oil provide a soothing, relaxing effect. This makes it an excellent addition to any standard massage oil.

Does Peppermint Oil Repel Mice?

Yes, peppermint oil does repel mice thanks to its strong aromatic properties but the effects can be short-lived due to the volatility of its compounds.

Tips:

  • Instead of applying peppermint oil directly on wooden surfaces or flooring, put 2-3 drops of peppermint oil on cotton balls.
  • Place the cotton balls all around your house in areas where mice are likely to enter.
  • Remember to replace the peppermint oil soaked cotton balls at least twice a week as they lose their efficacy quickly due to the volatile nature of the active compounds.
  • Ensure that the cotton balls are placed in areas where children or pets can’t get at them as peppermint oil can be toxic in large doses.

Peppermint Oil Side Effects

benefits of peppermint oil
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Peppermint oil is usually safe when ingested in small amounts with food and water or when used aromatically or topically by most adults. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, however, should avoid such products because little is known about their safety during pregnancy and lactation.

  • Skin rashes: Some people who used peppermint oil had skin rashes erupt throughout their body. The most commonly identified cause has been an overdose. It is recommended that daily usage be restricted to 0.4ml.
  • Intense headaches and dizziness: Even though peppermint oil provides relief from headache when used in small amounts, large doses and overuse can actually have the opposite effect and lead to intense headaches and dizziness.
  • Harmful effects on the digestive system: People suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease and hiatal hernia have a risk of developing nausea and heartburn when using medication with peppermint as an ingredient.
  • Risk of seizures: Large doses of peppermint essential oil can negatively impact your body and could lead to brain damage, muscular weakness, and seizures.
  • Breathing problems in children: If overused, peppermint oil can lead to life-threatening conditions such as invasive spasms which could limit a child’s ability to breathe.
  • Blistering in the mouth and nasal passage: Menthol is a major constituent in peppermint oil. So, if you’re allergic to menthol, you will probably experience blistering from ingesting or inhaling peppermint oil.
  • Reduced heartbeats: Peppermint oil can slow down your heart rate, so if you suffer from cardiovascular disease, it is best to avoid peppermint oil.
  • Harmful to lungs: Peppermint oil when used as an injection could possibly harm your lungs and in the worst case scenario, cause complete damage.

Allergic reactions include burning mouth syndrome, diarrhoea with anal burning, flushing, headache, heartburn, mouth ulcers, rashes, respiratory collapse, skin irritation, inflammation of the kidney, difficulty in breathing (paediatrics) from topical use, difficulty while speaking and breathing (paediatrics), and acute renal failure (from overdose).

It has been observed that the side effects of peppermint oil occur mainly due to improper usage. But, as concluded from studies, it is advised that anyone belonging to the categories listed below should avoid the use of peppermint oil to prevent complications:

    • Infants and children
    • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
    • People having a history of heart diseases
    • People suffering from gallstones

Before taking peppermint oil, discuss the risks and benefits with your healthcare provider. Some supplements can interact with medicine. Interactions can be harmful or make medications not work as they should.

Be cautious about combining peppermint oil with certain drugs because it may inhibit the body’s ability to metabolize the drugs and increase the risk of side effects. There are a few prescription medications and over-the-counter medications that may interact adversely with peppermint oil.

For example, some enteric-coated peppermint oil supplements may cause rapid dissolving, leading to heartburn, nausea, and rapid absorption of some medications.

Peppermint oil can also reduce the absorption of iron in your body if taken along with an iron supplement, so it is best to have a 2-3 hour gap between taking iron supplements and peppermint oil.

It is also important to note that there are no standards for the production of peppermint oil and they may contain harmful metals or chemicals as impurities from the extraction process.

Peppermint Oil is a wonderful, natural alternative for treating many symptoms and ailments thanks to the cooling, invigorating, expectorant, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, energy boosting, and analgesic properties of its active ingredients.

It is extremely versatile and can be either be ingested or applied topically depending on your malady. But, it is important to exercise caution while using peppermint oil as you could be prone to side effects. Be prudent and use as directed to safely enjoy the many benefits of peppermint oil.

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