This essential oil has an energizing effect, and is often used to reduce mental fatigue and improve concentration. Pure peppermint oil, mentha arvensis, or peppermint essential oil has a fresh, minty and slightly camphor like scent. Peppermint oil massaged over the abdomen relaxes the muscles to help in the digestion of heavy meals and relieves flatulence, cramping, nausea, and specific disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Peppermint, as warming oil, is found in most liniments to relieve painful muscle spasms and arthritic conditions. Helps relieve itching from ringworms, herpes blisters, scabies, and poison oak or ivy. Vapor balm rubbed on the chest helps clear sinus and lung congestion.
Peppermint is a hybrid perennial plant; 1-3 feet tall; the erect, square, branching stem is tinged with reddish-purple (not green as in spearmint) and has opposite, dark green, ovate to lanceo-late, serrate leaves. Auxiliary and terminal spikes of small, purple (violet) flowers in loose, interrupted terminal spikes, appear from July to frost. The entire plant has a very characteristic odor, due to the volatile oil present in all its parts, which when applied to the tongue has a hot, aromatic taste at first, and afterwards produces a sensation of cold caused by the menthol it contains. The whole plant has the characteristic smell of menthol. The plant is found throughout europe, in moist situations, along stream banks and in waste lands, and is not infrequent in damp places in England, but is not a common native plant, and probably is often an escapee from cultivation. In America it is probably even more common as an escapee than spearmint, having long been known and grown in gardens.
Peppermint essential oil, mentha arvensis, blends well with the following essential oils: rosemary, eucalyptus, lavender, spearmint, benzoin, black pepper, melissa (lemonbalm), marjoram, and spice oils. Use in small quantities (1%).
Cautions - May interfere with iron absorption. Oil is toxic if taken internally in large doses; causes dermatitis. Menthol, the major chemical component of peppermint oil, may cause allergic reactions. Avoid prolonged use of the essential oil as an inhalant. Mint should not be given to children for more than a week at a time without a break. Do not give any form of mint directly to young babies. Peppermint can reduce milk flow; take internally with caution if breast-feeding. Check with the pediatrician before giving peppermint to a child.
Properties - Diaphoretic, aromatic, carminative, chologogue (stimulates flow of bile), stomachic, calmative, mild alterative, stimulant, rubefacient, nervine, analgesic.