I love peppermint oil, and it seems that a lot of people share that opinion. Peppermint oil is one of the most commonly used essential oils right now. As an EO fan, I diffuse a lot of it because of its minty smell. Further, some recipes and blends call for this essential oil.
Peppermint oil is not only useful, but it is also affordable. Because of its popularity, peppermint oil is always in high demand. Fortunately, supply has kept up. In 2011, the United States manufactured around seven million pounds of peppermint essential oil. Additionally, the United States produces more than 5.4 million pounds of peppermint in any given year since 2000.
What is Peppermint Oil?
Peppermint oil is a well-known essential oil used in flavoring your food. You can also use it to add fragrance to different products. It also has potential in treating several health conditions.
It is the extract from the leaves of the perennial flowering herb. Peppermint belongs to the same family as lavender, rosemary, spearmint, sage, and thyme. You can extract this oil by steam distillation if you can obtain fresh or partly dried leaves. You can also use hydrodistillation, which uses water instead of steam.
It can be colorless, or it might have a pale greenish-yellow or pale yellow color. If you put it on your skin, it will feel cold.
How to Select a Good Peppermint oil
If you want to buy this oil, there are a lot of options from different manufacturers and sellers. How do you choose the best peppermint oil products? Here are some tips from the Alliance of International Aromatherapists.
First, you should have an idea of how you are going to use it. If you are buying peppermint essential oil for medicinal use, then be sure to get a therapeutic grade product. For those who are using it for candles, cleaners, and soap, then choosing a medium quality oil will be enough.
If you have access to different brands, then you should do a sniff test. Choose the one with the scent that you like the most. You can also test for quality by checking the smell, which should be minty and sweet at the same time.
Aside from the scent, you should also choose peppermint oils that have a clear, pale greenish yellow, or pale yellow color. It should also not leave any stains when it evaporates. The best peppermint oil will have a thin and dry texture.
If available, check the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry laboratory results for the peppermint oil that you want to buy. It should contain around 20 to 50 percent menthol, up to 31 percent menthone. It should also have small amounts of methyl acetate, pulegone, and isomenthone, among others.
Pure peppermint essential oil will have a .900 to .907 specific gravity at room temperature. It will also have a refractive index of 1.461 to 1.4631. You could see all of these in the GC/MS results.
Choose brands you can trust
Buying from a trusted company can assure you that you are getting quality oils. You should buy from manufacturers that include information on their products, their processes, and how to use it safely. These companies also label their products accurately.
Be sure that you choose a brand that does not use toxic additives such as phthalates, which can be carcinogenic. You should also patronize manufacturers that do not use pesticides, biocides, or fertilizers. It is important to go 100% organic when choosing your peppermint oil.
There are peppermint oil brands that have cornmint oil added in the mixture. Aside from buying a contaminated product, cornmint oil also works differently from peppermint. It might not give you the potential health benefits you want.
Read the label
The most crucial step in choosing the best peppermint oil is to take time to read the label. Premium quality peppermint essential oil should have a label stating the complete botanical name, the country of origin, the batch number, and date. It should also detail the extraction method and which part of the plant they harvest. The manufacturer should also indicate if it is pure 100% oil and include safety instructions. Lastly, it should come in a sealed colored glass.
Warnings and Side Effects of Using Peppermint Oil
In general, you should not use essential oils when you are pregnant, and you should avoid using it on children without proper guidance. Ingesting these oils should also have the approval of trained professionals. Further, you should avoid using undiluted essential oils directly on the skin as this can lead to irritation.
Aside from these general warnings, you should know that peppermint oil has some established adverse effects and side effects. It can also interact with other chemicals and prescription drugs. For one, ingesting excessive amounts of this oil can be lethal.
Peppermint oil can also encourage bile secretion. This effect makes it a no-no for people suffering from gallbladder inflammation, or those who have problems with gallstones. It can also cause gastroesophageal reflux.
Further, because this oil can trigger menstruation, it carries more risks when used by pregnant women. Common side effects include heartburn, allergic reactions, blurred vision, vomiting, and nausea.
The Potential Benefits of Peppermint Oil
Before getting into the potential benefits of peppermint essential oil, you should know its effects on the body. The oil is beneficial in relaxing your gastrointestinal smooth muscle. It can also relax the lower esophageal sphincter.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Peppermint essential oil studies for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome are extensive. This oil might be able to reduce symptoms associated with IBS. It can alleviate abdominal pain in both kids and adults.
For adults, peppermint oil can also lessen abdominal distension. This condition occurs when you have too much gas in your abdomen. It makes you feel bloated. Aside from that, using this oil can also lead to fewer trips to the bathroom and less flatulence.
Because peppermint oil relaxes the sphincter of your lower esophagus, it can cause heartburn. Peppermint essential oil in capsules stay intact in the upper digestive tract. Instead, it will metabolize in the lower gastrointestinal tract.
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The manufacturer claims that this product is suitable for alleviating IBS abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and gas. It is not pure peppermint oil, as it also contains fennel and ginger. These capsules have an enteric coating, so this means that the oils pass through your stomach. It goes to the intestines where it will dissolve.
More than 1,600 reviewers love Heather's Tummy Tamers Peppermint Oil Capsules, giving it a rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon. Verified users attest to how effective it is in treating IBS and diarrhea. They also like how affordable it is, compared to similar products such as IBGuard. Prices for Heather's Tummy Tamers Peppermint Oil Capsules range from $ to $.
However, others warn potential buyers to read and follow the instructions on the label. Even with its coating, you will need to use this product on an empty stomach. Doing this will help you avoid the heartburn. Meanwhile, others say that the product did not work for them, or made their gastrointestinal problems worse. You can buy this product for anywhere from $ to $$.
Peppermint oil has the potential to relieve tension headaches. Tension headaches often occur when muscles on your temples, the back of your neck, chest area, and shoulders contract. Peppermint oil is known to relieve tension headaches when used as a massage oil.
According to one study, peppermint oil might be as effective as paracetamol.
UpNature Peppermint Essential Oil
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The UpNature Peppermint Essential Oil is 100% pure without any additives. The manufacturer claims that this steam distilled and therapeutic grade oil can relieve headaches, muscle aches, and migraines, among other health benefits. This peppermint essential oil gets an average rating of 4.3 stars out of 5.0 on Amazon.
Several reviewers attest to how effective this product is in relieving headaches and migraines. Others use it for a variety of other purposes, such as chasing away rats and other pests. However, some reviewers say that this product does not smell anything like peppermint.
This UpNature product has prices from $ to $$ for a four-ounce bottle.
Peppermint oil has shown promise in relieving the pain caused by non-ulcer dyspepsia. A study showed that a combination of peppermint oil and caraway provided pain relief in almost nine out of 10 subjects. From reporting moderate to severe pain, these subjects were pain-free at the end of the study. The combination of peppermint oil and caraway also reduced the frequency of episodes. Further, it lessened the severity of the non-ulcer dyspepsia in the subjects.
Terravita's Dyspepsia Complex has both peppermint and caraway oil to help with dyspepsia. Verified buyers of this product on Amazon gives it a perfect 5.0-star rating. It sells for anywhere from $ to $$ for a bottle with 100 capsules.
There are also indications that peppermint oil in food might help with functional dyspepsia. A study showed that subjects who ate food with a small amount of peppermint oil had faster gastric emptying. Peppermint oil also has the potential to relax your gastric muscles. It can also help with vomiting and nausea, which are symptoms of dyspepsia.
The United States Food and Drug Administration includes peppermint oil as one of those EO products that are safe to use in small amounts. However, essential oils don't always fare well when ingested. If you are going to try adding this oil to your food, then you should get your doctor's approval first.
You should also make sure that you get food grade peppermint oil, such as the Abundant Earthmint Essential Peppermint Oil. This product receives a perfect 5.0-star rating on Amazon. Prices for this product range from $ to $$.
Mouse and pest repellent
Some blog posts and articles that talk about using peppermint oil as a way to repel mice. There are also scientific studies that show that essential oils such as peppermint, chili, wintergreen, bergamot, and geranium might repel rodents.
NOW FOODS Peppermint Oil
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NOW FOODS Peppermint Oil is a pure product. This peppermint oil is excellent for aromatherapy. You can also dilute it in a carrier oil for topical applications.
On Amazon, the product has an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5.0. Verified buyers attest to how effective this product is when you want to drive or keep mice away. Other reviewers note that this product has a stronger scent than other brands. This peppermint oil costs anywhere from $ to $$ for a two-pack set of four-ounce bottles.
Other benefits of peppermint oil
Peppermint oil is a useful and flexible EO to use. It has shown promise in the treatment of certain diseases.
Peppermint oil is an excellent way to kill E. coli and arrest staph infections. Not only does peppermint essential oil kill these bacteria, but it prevents these organisms from developing resistance to antibiotics. What's more, this oil also has the potential to fight the herpes simplex virus.
Peppermint oil can help patients who have recently undergone surgery avoid nausea. You can inhale it to reduce the feeling of nausea. It also lessens your need anti-emetics.
Peppermint essential oil can repel mosquitos if you apply it to your skin. It can also kill the larvae of three different types of mosquitos.
Mental fatigue and nervous disorders
Peppermint oil is also a potent treatment for mental fatigue and nervous disorders. A study has shown that it works the same way as psychostimulants.
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The Essential Oil Labs Peppermint Oil might be able to provide all of these health claims. The manufacturer says that their peppermint oil is effective against digestive and respiratory problems. This product repels bugs, among other purposes. The manufacturer even includes laboratory results of their essential oils online to show you a list of its contents. They also provide additional information such as toxicology, chemical properties, and first aid measures.
On Amazon, this product gets an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.0 from close to 1,600 reviewers. Verified buyers attest to how pure this essential oil is, as well as giving praises to its quality and efficacy. They also like the reference materials that came in the package. They also praise the helpful customer service.
However, there are a few who cast doubts about its quality. Others even say that it is not peppermint essential oil at all. Others complain that the quality is inconsistent, with some getting bad smelling products.
You can buy the four-ounce bottle of this product for anywhere from $ to $$.
How You Can Use Peppermint Essential Oil
Reading through the benefits of peppermint oil, you already have ideas on how to use it for different purposes. But to make it easier for you, here are the various ways to use this oil.
You can diffuse peppermint essential oil to help you calm your mind, help you focus, and get rid of anxiety and mental fatigue. Aside from these mental and psychological effects, you can also get respiratory relief when you diffuse peppermint oil.
You can dilute peppermint oil with a carrier oil and use it for massages. This oil can help with migraines, tension headaches, and even aching muscles. You can also use this as an anti-bug spray.
Add it to your drink
With the consent of your doctor, you can add a drop of peppermint oil to a glass of water and drink it to help with IBS.
Use it as a mouth rinse
Peppermint can help with bad breath. You can add a drop of the oil to your toothbrush to help with halitosis. You can dilute it in a glass of water and add a pinch of salt for an excellent mouth rinse.
Add to your lotion or cream
When you add peppermint oil to lotion or cream, it can help reduce the sting of sunburn. It can also lessen redness and itchiness.
Should You Use Peppermint Oil?
Peppermint oil is generally considered safe to use if you follow the guidelines. It smells great with its minty aroma. The potential health benefits such as providing relief for tension headaches, IBS, and dyspepsia are a bonus. Studies on the effects of this essential oil on these conditions are still few, and the results are not conclusive. However, it does show tremendous promise in helping people with these conditions.
Peppermint oil is very flexible with a variety of ways in which you could use it. There is practically no reason why you should not buy it.