Botanical Name: Mentha piperita
Part Used: Leaves
Process: Steam Distillation
Plant Description: Native to the Mediterranean and western Asia; it is cultivated worldwide in temperate regions. The Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington are now the main producers of American Peppermint oil; though Michigan once had this distinction, it continues to supply significant quantities. The oil is also produced in Japan, Russia and Europe. Peppermint is a perennial shrub that grows to a height of 3 feet with sharply serrated leaves and light lavender flowers that do not, or very rarely, produce seeds (since this plant is a hybrid). Instead, the plant quickly spreads via its rhizomes or by above-ground runners that will root if the soil is consistently moist. It propagates so easily that it must be kept in containers to prevent spreading; it is considered invasive in the US, New Zealand and Australia. The leaves and flowering tops are harvested for distillation just after florescence begins.
Oil Description: Pale yellow or pale olive-yellow mobile liquid. Peppermint essential oil has a fresh, strongly penetrating, minty-grassy, camphoraceous aroma with a balsamic undertone and a sweet, clean dryout. The grassy note may fade with proper ageing of the oil.
Historical/Traditional Uses: Peppermint was used in Greece and Rome for scenting bath water and bed linens. In China and Japan, it has been cultivated since ancient times, and evidence of the use of a certain type of Peppermint has been found in Egyptian tombs dating from 1000 BC. It was one of the ingredients used to make the sacred incense kyphi. Pliny the Elder tells us that peppermint was made into crowns to wear at feasts and was used to decorate outdoor dining tables; it was used as an herb in sauces, to scent wine, and for making peppermint honey to sweeten the breath. It has been cultivated commercially in England since 1750. It is now used extensively as a flavoring agent in pharmaceuticals, foods and beverage, and for its aroma in personal care products.
Applications (Uses and Indications): In aromatherapy, the stimulating aroma of Peppermint essential oil is useful for clearing the mind and promoting alertness. It benefits the digestive system for its ability to address diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, halitosis, colic, nausea and travel sickness. It can also be very useful for addressing colds, fevers, and sinus congestion, for banishing headaches, masking the smell of tobacco, and for repelling insects and rodents. Great to use in a massage lotion for hot, tired or aching feet. In perfumery, Peppermint essential oil generally does not find much use; however, it is considered a top note and blends well with benzoin (Siam), cedarwood, cypress, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, mandarin, marjoram, niaouli, pine, rosemary, and spearmint.
Contraindications (Safety and Precautions): Peppermint essential oil is non-irritating (except in concentration), and is possibly sensitizing due to its menthol content. Whether it is non-toxic when taken internally is controversial, as research shows that the content level of pulegone, a naturally occurring organic compound, can be either harmful to or protective of the liver, depending on the dose. This oil interferes with or negates homeopathic treatment _ do not use both at the same time. Some references suggest that it is best to avoid use during pregnancy. Do not use on face or throat of children under 6 years old as it may trigger laryngeal spasims.
Standard Safety Precautions: Always dilute essential oils before using. Keep essential oils out of the eyes and mucous membranes; in case of contact, DO NOT use water, instead place a drop or two of vegetable oil on a tissue to gently wipe out of eye or off area of contact. In severe cases, seek professional help immediately. Keep out of the reach of children. In case of ingestion, call 911 immediately.
The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. No claims are made as to any medicinal value of this or any products from Ancient Ways Botanicals. The information presented here is for educational purposes of traditional uses and is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. For external use only. You are responsible for understanding the safe application of these products.