Essential Oil Profile: Peppermint

by Amelia E. Stone, RN


Common Name: Peppermint

Latin Binomial: Mentha  piperita

Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)

Production Method: steam-distillation

Countries of Origin: USA

Typical Constituents: [-]-Menthol (19.0-54.2%), Menthone (8.0-31.6%), [-]-Menthyl acetate (2.1-10.6%), Neomenthol (2.6-10.0%), 1,8-Cineole (2.9-9.7%), [6R]-[+]-Menthofuran (tr-9.4%), Isomenthone (2.0-8.7%), Terpinen-4-ol (0-5.0%), [1R]-[+]-b-Pulegone (0.3-4.7%), [+]-Limonene (0.8-4.5%), Germacrene D (tr-4.4%), b-Caryophyllene (0.1-2.8%), [E]-Sabinene hydrate (0.2-2.4%), b-Pinene (0.6-2.0%), Piperitone (0-1.3%), Isomenthol (0.2-1.2%)

Description of Oil: pale yellow, clear, fresh, menthol, clean, cool, strong scent

Description of Plant: A perennial up to three feet tall with dark green, purple tinged, oval shaped, sharply toothed leaves.  Produces small lilac-pink flowers during summer.

History, Folklore and Myth: The nymph, Mentha, is said to have been trod into the ground by Pluto’s jealous wife, Persephone.  Pluto then changed Mentha into the herb peppermint.

Properties and Uses: analgesic, anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitussive, carminative, cephalic, decongestant, expectorant, febrifuge, insecticidal, stimulant stomachic, sudorific

Precautions and Contraindications:  HAZARDS: choleretic; neurotoxicity; mucous membrane irritation (low risk) CONTRAINDICATIONS (ALL ROUTES): Cardiac fibrillation, G6PD deficiency, Do not apply to or near the face of infants or children.  (ORAL): Cholestasis  CAUTIONS (ORAL): gastroesophageal reflux disease

Other Interesting Information: Peppermint oil should be part of every traveler’s first aid kit.  A drop works wonders for motion sickness or general nausea.  Research has shown it can also be effective for irritable colon.

References: Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Virginia, Queensland, Australia: The Perfect Potion. 1995.

Schnaubelt, Kurt, Ph.D.. Advanced Aromatherapy, The Science of Essential Oil Therapy. Healing Arts Press. 1998

Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.

Sellar, Wanda. The Directory of Essential Oils. London: Random House. 2005

Shutes, Jade. Advanced Aromatherapy Certification Program. East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies. 2014

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