Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint Essential Oil (Mentha piperita) from India is Therapeutic Quality Essential Oil steam distilled from the flowering tops.
DESCRIPTION AND BOTANICAL INFORMATION: Peppermint is a hybrid cross between water mint and spearmint. There are a large number of mints that are grown in people’s gardens, but Mentha x piperita is the classic peppermint that has the strong, minty smell and taste. It’s the peppermint that you most often find in dinner mints and in peppermint candies.
Although it was originally a cultivated hybrid of M. spicata and M. aquatica, it grows on its own all over the place. The USA is the largest producer of peppermint essential oil, but Eastern Europe, Italy and Morocco are also producers.
FOLKLORE AND HISTORY OF USE: The name of the species, Mentha, comes from Greek mythology. Minthe was a nymph who made advances towards Persephone’s husband, Pluto. So, Persephone turned her into “a sweet smelling herb to be trampled underfoot.”
Peppermint has been in use as a therapeutic herb for a long, long time. It is mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus from Egypt, which dates to about 1500 BC, and there are even older references on temple walls to its use as one of the ingredients of Kyphi, sacred incense blended from several herbs. The Egyptians cultivated peppermint, as did the ancient inhabitants of China and Japan, and it’s been used in European folk medicine as well. Wherever it’s been used in traditional medicines, it has been for digestive problems, nausea and cramps. Peppermint has also been considered a visionary herb in the West and was believed to stimulate prophetic dreams and visions.
EXTRACTION: The leaves and flowers are picked just before maturity. 600 lbs. of fresh plant will yield about 2 pounds of essential oil from steam distillation.
CHARACTERISTICS: The essential oil is clear to pale yellow or pale olive green, and it has a strong, fresh minty aroma. If it’s not properly stored, it will darken and become thick and eventually turn into resin. Aromatically, it is difficult to blend and can overpower other aromas.
SAFETY ISSUES AND TIPS: According to Tisserand & Young (Essential Oil Safety: Second Edition, pg. 387, 2014), Peppermint Essential Oil should not be used by any route by persons with cardiac fibrillation and/or G6PD enzyme deficiency. We do not recommend internal use of essential oils except under guidance of an appropriately trained and licensed health care professional; in the case of Peppermint Essential Oil, internal use is specifically to be avoided by persons with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as it may produce a worsening of symptoms. Follow all other safety guidelines as indicated in the box below.Essential Oil Safety Considerations