What Is Peppermint Oil?
The herb peppermint, a natural cross between two types of mint (water mint and spearmint), grows throughout Europe and North America. Both peppermint leaves and the essential oil from peppermint have been used for health purposes. Essential oils are very concentrated oils containing substances that give a plant its characteristic odor or flavor.
Peppermint is a common flavoring agent in foods, and peppermint oil is used to create a pleasant fragrance in soaps and cosmetics.
You can find peppermint in several forms, including peppermint essential oil, peppermint leaves, peppermint spray, and peppermint tablets. Menthol is the most active ingredient in peppermint and it gives the leaves their invigorating and energizing effects. Menthol oil is commonly used in balms, shampoos and other body products for its beneficial properties.
Peppermint Oil vs. Spearmint Oil
The reason that spearmint and peppermint smell so different is because they produce different chemicals. The dominant chemical compound in spearmint oil is carvone. In contrast, the dominant compounds in peppermint oil are menthol and menthone.
Commercial mint extract is often a blend of spearmint oil and peppermint oil, although one may be present in greater quantity than the other.
There are many who believe that peppermint oil is just too strong and use spearmint oil instead. Although the two oils possess similar properties, spearmint contains lower amounts of menthol compared to peppermint oil.
No matter your sensitivity, spearmint essential oil is gentler than peppermint oil, especially for children.
Health Benefits Of Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is a very good essential oil in that it will treat a number of problems…
Peppermint Oil For Hair Growth
Peppermint oil may actually be one of the best oils for hair growth. An animal study that tested the efficacy of peppermint oil for hair growth on mice 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 was more effective than topical application of saline, jojoba oil and minoxidil, a medication that’s used for hair growth.)
Peppermint Oil For Headache Pain
Another study found that a combination of peppermint oil and ethanol significantly reduced headache pain while a combination of peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, and ethanol significantly improved cognitive performance and mental relaxation.
While this study did not examine peppermint oil as a standalone ingredient, it works synergistically with eucalyptus oil and ethanol to improve physical and mental states when applied topically to the forehead.
Peppermint oil is especially helpful in alleviating a tension headache, in one clinical trial performing as well as acetaminophen.
Peppermint Oil For Awareness
Oral hygiene aside, peppermint works as an extremely versatile essential oil. Peppermint oil is the scented oil to keep you awake.
Research conducted by Dr. William Denver from the University of Cincinnati discovered that regular use of peppermint oil increases your alertness by 30%.
Peppermint Oil For Indigestion
Peppermint oil can also benefit your digestive system. The oil can help with indigestion and also improve issues related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Peppermint Oil For Pain Relief
If you are wondering if peppermint oil is good for pain, the answer is a resounding “yes!” Peppermint essential oil is a very effective natural painkiller and muscle relaxant. It also has cooling, invigorating and antispasmodic properties.
Peppermint Oil For Sore Throats (& Fresh Breath)
Peppermint is known for its ability to freshen breath, while diluted peppermint oil sprays may also relieve sore throats. Peppermint contains menthol, which helps thin mucus and calm sore throats and coughs.
Peppermint also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, which may encourage healing.
Peppermint Oil For Fevers
Peppermint induces sweating and can help bring down fevers. A 2018 study showed that menthol works to cool the body when it’s put on the skin. Cold and flu ointments with menthol are often rubbed onto the chest and back for this reason
Other Benefits Of Peppermint Oil
It is said that it contains antioxidants that help prevent cancer and heart disease, and can help prevent both tooth decay and gum disease.
A 2002 report announced that peppermint also helped participants in a study run faster do more pushups and show greater grip strength than those who were not exposed to peppermint scent.
Application & Conclusion
Once again, this is not the candy, but the essential oil made from the plant. It has many health benefits such as pain relief, headache relief, and improved awareness because of the main component in peppermint – menthol.
Menthol is believed to act as a decongestant by thinning mucus and easing congestion. Peppermint may soothe a sore throat, and ease a dry cough.
Drink peppermint tea, add some peppermint oil to a diffuser with a few of your other favorite essential oils, or rub some diluted peppermint essential oil on the chest below the neck for quick relief.