Last Updated on December 30, 2020
Peppermint oil has so many benefits and uses! This delicious-smelling essential oil can relieve headaches and sore muscles and is a wonderful energizer. Peppermint essential oil benefits and uses include relieving pain and respiratory problems, helping with focus, and repelling pests, making it a terrific addition to homemade bug repellent and household cleaners.
Find out about the many fantastic uses for peppermint oil below.
WHAT IS PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL?
Peppermint is a cross between watermint and spearmint, and is an herb you can grow in your garden (it’s also one of the herbs that grow in shade). Peppermint essential oil is obtained by extracting the compounds from the leaves and flowers of the peppermint plant.
HOW DOES PEPPERMINT OIL WORK?
While scientific research on peppermint oil is limited, there is some evidence that it can be useful for treating a number of common maladies, like headache and digestive complaints. Research has found that the compound that gives peppermint oil its signature scent, menthol, has anti-inflammatory effects.
The uses for peppermint oil below focus on external uses only. Internal use of essential oils (which some research suggests may help with IBS and athletic performance) should be supervised by a licensed professional and only involve oils meant for ingestion (many aren’t).
If you’re looking to deal with digestive issues, peppermint tea has a long history of use for this purpose.
HOW TO USE PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL
You have different options for using peppermint oil, some that you apply directly to surfaces or to your skin, and others that diffuse the aroma into the air. You can also add peppermint essential oil to cleaners, bugsprays, lotions, and bath water.
Diffusing disperses the essential oil into the air. You can diffuse essential oils, in a number of ways:
- On a small cloth. Put 2-3 drops of essential oil on a cloth and keep it nearby. Refresh with a drop every few hours.
- With a personal diffuser. Attractive necklaces can let you diffuse scents wherever you go.
- Using a reed diffuser. Reed diffusers slowly release scent and look lovely!
- Using an electric diffuser. Electric diffusers disperse essential oil in a fine mist. They require electricity, but the electricity needed should be relatively small.
- With a room spray. A few drops of peppermint essential oil in distilled water can be used as a room spray or fabric freshener. Glass bottles (like these) are best for long-term use.
Cautions When Using Essential Oils:
- Consult with your doctor before using essential oils. Many oils are not recommended during pregnancy or on children. (Here’s a list of oils that can be used in pregnancy and those safe for kids from the Hippy Homemaker.)
- Always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil before applying to skin. If you experience redness or itching, discontinue use and consult a doctor.
- Oils can stain clothes, towels, and furniture, so take care when using.
WHERE TO GET PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL
For using as pest control and in household cleaners, a large bottle like this one will last you a very long time. You’ll have plenty for dousing on areas you want to repel insects, adding to homemade bugspray, and making your homemade cleaners smell awesome. A 1-ounce bottle may see you through a year or more, depending on how much you use peppermint oil, so you may want to start with the smaller amount if you’re new to using essential oils.
Here are other options on Amazon.
Vitacost is also a fantastic place to get inexpensive essential oil (and lots of other fantastic deals on healthy foods and products as well.)
PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL BENEFITS FOR PAIN RELIEF, ENERGY & MORE
Peppermint Essential Oil Benefits for Headache
Peppermint essential oil is often recommended to relieve headaches. A 2015 study found that topical application of a gel containing menthol, the active ingredient in peppermint oil, relieved the severity of migraine pain.
How to use peppermint oil for headaches: The studies on using peppermint oil for headache used topical applications. You can apply a drop diluted in a carrier oil to your temples, or try this tension-relief roll on with peppermint and other oils you can pop in your bag to be ready next time a headache strikes.
Peppermint Essential Oil Benefits for Sore Muscles
Peppermint oil is often used to make sore muscles feel better. You can dilute it in a carrier oil for a soothing muscle rub, or add it to a foot soak with epsom salts to relieve sore feet. Epsom salts are a great source of magnesium, which is wonderful for muscle aches and may also help headaches. Here’s how to make DIY bath salts.
Be cautious about adding too much to bath water, as the potent effects of peppermint essential oil can be a little much for tender membranes that soak in the tub along with your sore muscles.
Peppermint Essential Oil Benefits for Energy
Peppermint oil is often considered an invigorating oil, whether applied topically or inhaled. One study found that inhaling peppermint reduced signs of daytime sleepiness, while another found that peppermint combined with other oils helped to alleviate signs of mental exhaustion.
Many people rely on the scent of peppermint to give them a little more ‘pep,’ as it were, when they have a slump during the workday. Try diffusing a little peppermint oil if you feel your energy start to flag.
Peppermint Oil Benefits for Focus, Alertness, & Memory
The scent of peppermint oil has been shown to improve memory and alertness, making it a useful ally when you want your brain functioning at its best.
Diffuse peppermint oil or apply topically when you’re doing tasks that require focus.
Peppermint Essential Oil Benefits for Stress Relief
Need a quick stress reliever? One study found that peppermint oil measurably decreased the stress hormone cortisol. If you’re feeling stressed out, try diffusing peppermint oil together with additional ways to reduce cortisol naturally.
Peppermint Oil Uses for Appetite Control
The scent of peppermint essential oil may help reduce appetite and assist with weight control. A 2007 study found that sniffing peppermint oil throughout the day decreased feelings of hunger and led participants to consume significantly fewer calories.
Peppermint Oil Benefits for Respiratory Problems
Peppermint oil is a go-to when you’re trying to calm respiratory complaints. Peppermint oil has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and expectorant properties, making it useful for relieving congestion caused by colds or allergies. You can use peppermint oil by diffusing it, adding it to steam treatments, or making a simple homemade chest rub by combining it with coconut oil. Peppermint essential oil is one of many useful home remedies for cough.
Peppermint Oil Benefits for Nausea
Studies suggest that inhaling peppermint oil can help reduce feelings of nausea. Take a sniff right from the bottle or apply to a personal diffuser. You can also apply a drop of diluted peppermint oil to your wrists or try carrying one of these roll-ons for instant relief.
Peppermint Oil Uses for Cooling
The cooling sensation of peppermint oil can help you feel less hot on a steamy day. Just put a little on a wet cloth and apply to your neck for temporary heat relief. Peppermint oil’s cooling sensation as well as anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties also makes it a top choice for relieving the discomfort of sunburn.
PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL USES FOR ODORS
Use Peppermint Oil in Homemade Cleaners
Add a few drops of peppermint oil to your vinegar and water cleaner, and you can enjoy the energy boost of smelling peppermint oil while repelling pests and eliminating unpleasant smells.
Peppermint oil also has antimicrobial properties, making it even more useful as an addition to cleaners.
Use Peppermint Oil to Deal with Odor Problems
The uplifting smell of peppermint oil is also a wonderful solution for stinky situations.
General deodorizer: Sprinkled into baking soda, peppermint oil will add scent to the air while baking soda absorbs odor.
Carpet deodorizer: You can also use the combination above as a homemade carpet deodorizer. Combine baking soda and peppermint oil, then sprinkle on carpet. Allow to sit a few hours, then vacuum.
Room or fabric spray: Mix about 12 drops of oil with 4 oz. water to make a homemade de-stink spray. You can use it as a room freshener, or spray fabrics that need a little odor control. A spritz in stinky shoes may help them stink less. Use vodka in place of water to deal with extra smelly situations.
PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL USES FOR PEST CONTROL
While most humans find the strong scent of peppermint appealing, many annoying pests do not. Peppermint essential oil is often recommended to repel insects and rodents, so keeping a big bottle of peppermint oil handy is an easy natural solution to repel spiders, ants, mice, and squirrels.
Use Peppermint Oil to Repel Ants
When ants invade, a little peppermint essential oil can help send them elsewhere looking for their next meal. When we spot ants in the kitchen, I sprinkle a little peppermint oil on our counters and wipe the counters down with a wet cloth. The kitchen smells wonderful afterward!
Spraying the trails the ants take can help eliminate them even faster.
Use Peppermint Oil to Repel Rodents
Some people report success using peppermint oil to repel rodents, though the professionals aren’t convinced. Since it not only smells nice but has all those health benefits mentioned above, and involves no toxic chemicals, you don’t have much to lose from trying it.
In the house: You can use drops of oil in a cotton ball or make a spray with water to make areas rodents may come in smell bad to them.
In the car: If you have problems with rodents chewing car wires, peppermint oil may help. It turns out many cars are made with soy plastic these days, which apparently squirrels and mice find very yummy.
Save yourself thousands in costly car repairs from rodent damage (speaking from experience here, sadly) by preemptively sprinkling your car with peppermint oil to make it smell terrible to these destructive little critters in fall when they’re looking for places to cozy up in winter.
Note that the scent of peppermint oil dissipates quickly from the engine block, so you need to reapply frequently or try one of these slow-release pouches, which should last longer than a simple sprinkle of oil. (Here’s another option with different numbers of pouches.)
When we got hit with a second round of squirrel invaders who seemed undeterred by the scent of peppermint oil in our car, we got one of these sonic repellers to hit them with some extra unpleasantness. We douse our car with peppermint oil occasionally as well for extra repelling in case any are brave (or deaf) enough to go after our car yet again.
Do you use peppermint essential oil? What are your favorite uses for peppermint oil?
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Photo credits: Manfred Richter, congerdesign, monicore, monfocus
Disclaimer: I’m a health enthusiast, not a medical professional. Content on this website is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to provide personalized medical advice. Please consult them for more information and a licensed professional for personalized recommendations.
Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.