12 Uses and Health Benefits of Peppermint Oil

peppermint-oil-health-benefits

A perennial flower belonging to the mint family, peppermint is commonly grown in North America and Europe [1].

Peppermint oil is extracted from the ground parts of the plant through a process called steam distillation [1].

According to WebMD, this medicinal oil is popularly used as treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn and dyspepsia.

Some people also rely on it for relieving muscle pains, alleviating stress and anxiety, and resolving halitosis or bad breath.

Below, you’ll find more information about the top uses and health benefits of peppermint oil that you could use.

1. Peppermint Oil Can Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Suffering from irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome refers to a medical condition affecting the colon or the large intestine.

The exact cause of this problem is unclear but some say that it’s due to the strong and long contraction of the intestinal walls, or abnormalities in the gastrointestinal system.

The good news is, this condition rarely causes severe illness, and that it could be managed using proper diet, lifestyle changes, stress reduction techniques, and natural remedies like peppermint oil.

Peppermint oil can be an excellent remedy for this condition that causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and gas [2, 3].

Researchers from the University of Missouri-Columbia conducted a clinical trial involving 42 children diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome [4].

The children were given either peppermint capsule or a placebo for two weeks [4].

Results show that 75 percent of the participants who received peppermint oil experienced less abdominal pain [4].

Other studies confirm that peppermint oil can be a viable treatment method for irritable bowel syndrome, not only for children but for adults as well [5, 6, 7, 8].

Key Takeaways:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome which refers to a condition that affects the large intestine or colon can be managed with natural remedies.
  • Using peppermint oil can relieve pain and discomfort caused by this condition.

2. Peppermint Oil is a Good Remedy for Herpes

Herpes is a serious viral condition triggered by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 and 2 [9].

HSV-1 affects the face, mouth and throat while HSV-2 causes infection in the genital area [9].

The most common symptom of these conditions are red and inflamed blisters that turn into crusted ulcers over time [9].

In many cases, these blisters are accompanied by stinging pain, fever, swollen lymph nodes and headache [9].

The good news is, both types can be remedied with peppermint oil, thanks to its virucidal properties [10].

A 2003 study published in the Phytomedicine Journal reported that peppermint oil can actually stop the plaque formation of both viruses by up to 99 percent [11].

With the oil’s lipophilic nature, it can penetrate easily into the skin, and cause immediate effect [11].

Key Takeaways:

  • There are two types of viral infections caused by herpes simplex viruses. HSV-1 causes oral herpes while HSV-2 leads to genital herpes.
  • Peppermint oil is an effective treatment for both types of infections.

3. Peppermint Oil Can Alleviate Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

If you’re feeling exhausted all the time even after you’ve rested, it’s possible that you have chronic fatigue syndrome [12].

As the name suggests, this condition makes you feel tired all the time, and may be a sign of an underlying medical issue.

It can also affect your daily life and productivity, so it’s important to manage this problem properly.

According to research, this condition is sometimes linked to an overgrowth of bacteria in the intestine [13].

This is where peppermint oil comes in.

Clinical data shows that peppermint oil with its ability to inhibit at least 22 strains of bacteria can control the harmful pathogens in the intestines, and relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue [13].

Key Takeaway:

  • Oil extracted from peppermint plants can be used to treat unexplained fatigue, which may sometimes be caused by bacterial overgrowth in the digestive tract.

4. Peppermint Oil Can Help Repel Mosquitoes

Sometimes, the tiniest creatures are the most destructive.

Mosquitoes, for example, can bring many deadly diseases such as West Nile Virus, malaria, and dengue fever [14].

Fortunately, there are natural remedies such as peppermint oil that can help repel these harmful insects.

Various studies confirm that peppermint oil has strong larvicidal effects that repel different mosquito species including those that carry diseases [15, 16, 17].

Researchers from India state that peppermint oil demonstrated “strong repellent action” against adult mosquitoes after topical application [15].

Its repellent properties are quite similar to those of Mylol oil, which contains dibutyl and dimethyl phthalates [15].

Key Takeaways:

  • Peppermint oil can keep mosquitoes at bay, and reduce the risk of deadly mosquito-borne diseases.
  • Its repellent actions are similar those of Mylol oil, which is commonly used to drive away mosquitoes.

5. Peppermint Oil Can Relieve Dyspepsia

Digestive ailments such as dyspepsia can prevent you from enjoying your meals.

More commonly known as indigestion, it can make you feel bloated, overly full or nauseous after eating [18].

It can take the fun out of eating, which can be terrible especially if you love to eat delicious food.

That’s not all, it can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as peptic ulcer disease [19].

The good news is, essential oils like peppermint can provide immediate relief for both ulcer-related and non-ulcer dyspepsia [20, 21].

Key Takeaways:

  • Dyspepsia refers to a condition characterized by indigestion, bloating, gas, nausea and fullness after meals.
  • Symptoms of this disease can be relieved with the use of peppermint oil.

6. Peppermint Oil Can Tone Down Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are normal emotional responses to daily problems.

However, if these responses become chronic and persistent, your health can be adversely affected [22].

In 2010, scientists did a comparative analysis of the anxiolytic effects of peppermint oil and lavender oil [23].

They discovered that inhalation of both essential oils significantly reduced anxiety levels [23].

If peppermint oil worked just as well as lavender, then it means that it’s also very effective.

As you know, lavender is most famous for its ability to induce relaxation and calm the nerves.

If you’re feeling stressed out, don’t hesitate to grab your bottle of peppermint oil, and inhale the scent to feel better.

Key Takeaways:

  • Stress and anxiety can impair the health over time.
  • One way to relieve these negative emotional responses is by inhaling the aroma of peppermint oil.

7. Peppermint Oil Can Work as an Antifungal

There are various types of fungal infections affecting different parts of the body: athlete’s foot (toes), onychomycosis (nails), jock itch (groin) and ringworm (skin) [24].

While most of these are not serious ailments, you’d still want to get away from their annoying symptoms like itchiness and inflammation.

Plus, fungal infections are quite embarrassing. You’d want to keep your skin smooth and infection-free.

You can do this by using peppermint oil.

It has been well-documented in many studies that peppermint oil works as a powerful antifungal that can help control various types of fungal infections [25, 26, 27, 28, 29].

Peppermint works by suppressing the growth and spread of fungus, and to halt its activities [29].

Key Takeaways:

  • Peppermint oil works effectively as an antifungal, curbing fungal infections like athlete’s foot, jock itch, nail infection and ringworm.
  • It can be a good way to maintain smooth and infection-free skin.

8. Peppermint Oil Provides Pain Relief for Headaches and Muscle Spasms

Pain can prevent people from functioning optimally.

It can therefore affect one’s performance and productivity.

Sometimes, painful conditions even minor ones like chronic headaches can lead to job loss, and financial problems.

This is why, most people who experience chronic pain seek immediate relief.

If you prefer to do this the natural way, peppermint oil is a good option.

Topical application of peppermint oil is said to be one of the most effective ways to tone down both acute and chronic cases of pain.

In 1992, researchers confirmed that peppermint oil has potent analgesic mechanisms that can reduce the severity of headache [30].

Menthol, the active compound in peppermint, is a powerful analgesic that penetrates easily into the skin to provide pain relief [30].

A more recent study conducted in 2013 revealed that this oil also works to alleviate muscular pain related to sports, exercise and physical activities [31].

Key Takeaway:

  • With its analgesic properties, peppermint oil can help relieve headache as well as pain from physical exertion.
  • Contributing to this mode of action is its active component called menthol.

9. Peppermint Oil Can Fight Allergies

Allergy is a body’s reaction to foreign invaders like pollen, dust, pet dander, chemicals and many others [32].

It can result in unpleasant symptoms like runny nose, difficulty breathing, itchy rashes and skin inflammation [32].

While this problem rarely progresses to serious infection especially if you have a strong immune system, you’d still want to do away with its distressing symptoms [32].

To get instant relief, make use of peppermint oil.

A 1992 study featured in the Journal of the Food Hygienic Society of Japan reported that peppermint oil has significant anti-allergic effects that can tone down the mentioned symptoms [33].

Participants in the study who used peppermint oil reported reduction in the frequency and intensity of allergy attacks [33].

Key Takeaway:

  • Peppermint can provide relief from allergies that cause terrible symptoms like sneezing, runny nose and coughing.

10. Peppermint Oil Can Resolve Halitosis

Halitosis or bad breath is surely one of the most embarrassing conditions that nobody wants to have.

It is most commonly caused by poor dental hygiene, but other factors like smoking, diet, certain medications and medical conditions can also be blamed [34].

Don’t suffer from bad breath for long, use peppermint oil.

In fact, peppermint oil is a popular ingredient in mouthwash products, helping resolve halitosis and at the same time, gum problems [35].

It not only freshens up the breath, it also kills the source of horrible smell, which are the pathogenic bacteria growing inside the mouth.

After all, peppermint has strong bactericidal effects that can control oral bacteria.

Key Takeaway:

  • Resolve halitosis or bad breath with the help of peppermint oil.
  • It doesn’t only mask the smell with its minty aroma, it can also get to the root of the problem, which is the overgrowth of oral bacteria.

11. Peppermint Oil Can Help Clear Acne

If you’re like most people, you’re aiming for a clear and pimple-free skin.

Acne is rarely a cause of serious infection but it can definitely affect your self-esteem.

For this reason, it’s a must to make an effort to reduce acne.

One natural approach that you can try is to apply diluted form of peppermint oil on your skin.

Using broth dilution and disc diffusion methods, researchers found that peppermint oil was among the natural oils that can prevent the growth and spread of pimple-causing bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes [36].

That’s not all, peppermint oil also has soothing and cooling effects on the skin, which can help tone down the redness, inflammation and irritation caused by acne.

Just make sure that when you use peppermint oil, you dilute it first with a carrier oil such as almond oil, jojoba oil or olive oil.

If not, it might irritate your skin and worsen acne breakouts.

Key Takeaway:

  • Acne can be resolved with the use of peppermint oil, which has proven antibacterial effects against Propionibacterium acnes.

12. Peppermint Oil Can Reduce Intensity of Morning Sickness

During the first three months of pregnancy, women usually experience frequent episodes of vomiting and nausea in the morning.

This condition has become known as morning sickness.

But do take note that it can also sometimes happen at different times of the day.

One way pregnant women can cope is with peppermint oil.

The minty smell of peppermint is enough to suppress the nauseous feelings, and alleviate lightheadedness.

In a study performed by Iranian researchers, 60 pregnant women who complain of morning sickness were given oil to place near their beds at night before they went to sleep [37].

The first group was given peppermint oil while the second group was given a placebo [37].

Findings reveal that the intensity of nausea and vomiting was lower in the group that inhaled peppermint oil [37].

Key Takeaway:

  • To help reduce vomiting and nausea in pregnancy, especially during the first three months, it’s a good idea to inhale peppermint oil, which has soothing and calming effects.

Obviously, peppermint oil has a lot to offer.

Take advantage of its numerous benefits by using it as a remedy for any of the ailments mentioned above.

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