Top 12 Uses for Peppermint Oil – Peppermint oil is in my top-ten list of “just plain goodness!” It comes from the plant leaves and flowers of the peppermint plant (Mentha x piperita). The uses of peppermint oil are many, owing to the fact that it has a strong and pleasing scent as well as medicinal properties. Like me, you’ve probably used peppermint oil in baking and candy-making but but did you know it’s uniquely useful as a component of household cleaners and pest repellents? It seems like the uses for peppermint oil are practically endless!
Peppermint oil is an excellent “trick up your sleeve” to keep handy; here’s a summary of the many jobs the versatile oil of peppermint boasts.
Excellent uses of peppermint oil:
1. Baking. Cookies and fudge have long included peppermint oil as a key ingredient. If you have a favorite fudge or white chocolate bark recipe, use peppermint oil sparingly. Different grades come in varying strengths – good cooks taste often.
2. Sugar scrub. Add oil of peppermint to your next homemade sugar scrub; as with cooking, the strong scent and effect of the oil topically may surprise you.
3. Toothpaste. Purveyors of dentifrice – the fancy name for toothpaste – include peppermint not just because it smells and tastes good. The oil has anti-inflammatory and is hostile to bacteria and fungus. Start with a tablespoon of baking soda, add 5 drops of hydrogen peroxide and one drop of peppermint oil for an effective and refreshing toothpaste instead of running to the store.
4. Aroma therapy. Peppermint oil relieves stress and promotes relaxation when used in diffusers. I like to experiment: try mixing it to lavender or bergamot oils for an invisible but uplifting addition to your home.
5. Sleep aid. A few dabs on the wrist of peppermint oil added to a carrier oil such as coconut, almond or jojoba, and combined with the essential oil chamomile promotes restful sleep.
6. Facial toner & mist. For a revitalizing toner mix 3 parts filtered water and 1 part cider vinegar. Add 3 drops of peppermint to every 8 oz of your mixture and store in a spray bottle. Small batches are best; if you make more than a cup at a time, refrigerate between uses. Oil of peppermint is potent; if you do apply the extract directly to skin, be sure to test it by placing a drop on the back of your lower arm first to test for any sensitivity and proceed cautiously with other uses of the oil directly to your skin. Combining it with a carrier oil is best for sensitive skin-types.
7. Tea. Just a drop or two added to hot water serves as an afternoon pick-me-up when skies are grey.
8. Digestive aid. Peppermint capsules have been shown to ease indigestion and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. In capsule form, much of the extract safely bypasses digestion in the stomach to do its work in the small intestine of those suffering with IBS.
9. Pest repellent. Flee, flea! Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and spiders despise peppermint oil. Using cotton balls in small cups and jars, I’ve warded off moths and mice alike from my closets and even used the oil in a spray repellent in the garden.
10. Household cleaner. Because oil of peppermint is anti-fungal and –bacterial, it makes a clever addition to your cleaning cabinet. Equal parts water and rubbing alcohol plus 10 drops of peppermint oil will make counters shine without the harshness of bleaches and ammonia.
11. Headaches. This one happens to be my personal favorite use, probably next to baking with peppermint oil around the holidays. When your spouse or kids have a headache take a few drops of peppermint oil and drop it into the palm of your hand. Lay your spouse on his/her back with eyes shut in a darkened room. Hold your hands over the face so he/she can breathe in the aroma. Do this for about 1-2 minutes in the low light relaxed atmosphere. After the aromatherapy apply 1-2 more drops to your hands again, rub together and gently massage the temples. Then, end again with the aromatherapy holding hands a few inches above the face again.
12. Massage. In addition to aromatherapy during a massage, you can mix 4-6 drops of peppermint oil with massage oil for an invigorating feel (similar to camphor) that is very uplifting and energizing. If you prefer using hot stones simply dip them into your oil/peppermint mixture before application.
I don’t know about you, but I make sure to have peppermint oil in ready supply. It’s one of nature’s most fragrant and versatile essential oils. If you are a user and lover of nature be sure to check out my article on uses of Lavender Oil.