Coffee is my vice. I have three kids and I'm a small business owner. In other words, if I could have a coffee IV, I would. I drove through Starbucks this morning because their holiday cups are out. I don’t care so much what’s on the outside of the cup (why the drama?), but what’s inside. Peppermint Mocha! This coffee just screams CHRISTMAS to me. I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. I promise I’m not trying to skip holidays. But I can’t resist this coffee as an occasional treat.
There is something about Peppermint that is so refreshing. It has such a sharp, fresh, minty aroma. When I first started with essential oils, I really thought Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) would never leave its spot in my EO fridge. I mean, I am more of a Wintergreen-loving girl. (Side note: Wintergreen essential oil has MANY safety concerns so I choose not to use it at all.) Little did I know that Peppermint would be a constant fixture on my “to buy” essential oil list.
Let’s look at what Peppermint can do:
1. Ants hate peppermint and I hate ants in my house. No more costly exterminator bills, thanks to my trusty Peppermint EO. I just put a few drops in a spray bottle filled with water and lightly spray the spots where ants make their entrance. Peppermint is strong, you don’t need a lot. You could even use the hydrosol. I would recommend the hydrosol if you have kids or pets.
2. Peppermint is energizing. I use it in a lot of my blends for energy boosting. It has the ability to awaken the senses yet make you feel refreshed at the same time.
3. Peppermint can stimulate the mind. Feeling stuck in a big project? Peppermint might be able to help with your task focus.
4. Peppermint is soothing to localized pain. I would not suggest bathing in it. But if you have a small, painful area, Peppermint can be analgesic and can stimulate circulation to the area. An example of localized pain would be a headache.
5. Peppermint has shown the ability to be anti-spasmodic to the gastrointestinal tract. Inhaling it can be useful for nausea. Blend it with other digestive support oils to create a compress that you can put on your upset belly.
6. It can help reduce congestion. I like to pair it with other oils rich in 1,8 cineole to really pack a punch.
7. If you have sore feet, add Peppermint hydrosol to a footbath. It can provide relief and a few tingles. :)
Here are the Debbie Downer facts about Peppermint:
1. It should be avoided in all modalities for children under 3. Some experts even say 5 years old. It has been known to cause respiratory distress in children. THIS SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY.
2. Even though I advise that every oil should be diluted unless it’s an acute issue (see my free safety course for details), Peppermint should never be applied undiluted. Unless you enjoy the feeling of intense burning and pain, that is. It should be used at a maximum of 1-2% dilution.
3. It contains the constituent menthol, which can be toxic in high levels.
4. The use of it “under the tongue” to freshen breath is not an appropriate use. I tried that a few times and while it freshened my breath for a few minutes, the burning pain it caused lasted a lot longer. Want to freshen your breath? Brush your teeth, chew gum, or pop a breath mint. You don’t need to use an oil.
5. If you’d like to use Peppermint for internal digestive support, I would suggest a nice, herbal Peppermint tea. This could avoid the possible side effects of using the oil such as heartburn. For a full list of safety issues regarding Peppermint EO, see this statement from the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy.
When used properly, Peppermint can be a powerhouse oil with countless benefits. I use it in several of my blends for energizing, mental focus, pain relief, and even in our chocolate mint body butter. Combine it with Lime for an uplifting and energizing diffusing experience. Combine it with Ylang Ylang and Lemon in the diffuser for a happy-go-lucky blend.
As with all oils, take all the safety concerns in account first, and then see how it works for you. Give Peppermint a chance, it might surprise you as your new favorite multi-purpose oil. It does a lot more than just smell like a candy cane.