Peppermint Essential Oil (Mentha piperita)
A pale yellow liquid with a strong, fresh minty scent.
Steam distillation of the flowering tops.
Topically, peppermint oil can be added to balms, liniments, soap, lotions, and baths. It's helpful for bruises, sprains, strains, swellings, ringworm, scabies, muscular aches and pains, and fungal infections. The oil is commonly found in foot preparations. Peppermint oil is also a common ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash. It can even help with a toothache. Internally, peppermint oil helps respiratory disorders, halitosis, colic, digestive disorders, mental fatigue, headaches, migraines, motion sickness, fainting, colds and the flu.
One of the safest ways to use essential oils for internal issues is through aromatherapy. Peppermint candles scented only with essential oils are good. Add a few drops of peppermint oil to hot water, or use a diffuser. There are many kinds of diffusers available, including some that are battery powered or electric.
Peppermint oil can be added to the bath water. Use six to ten drops in a standard size tub. The bath acts like a diffuser, filling the room with peppermint scent. Some of the oil is also absorbed through the skin.
Peppermint oil has also safely been used as a flavoring for many years. You can still find peppermint candy made with real peppermint essential oil. You can safely add a drop to a teaspoon of honey, mixed into a cup of water. You can make your own peppermint candy, cake, icing, lozenges, gargle, etc., just be careful. Look up recipes in aromatherapy books and online. Find several recipes from reputable sources to determine how much oil to use. Amounts called for as flavoring are generally both effective and safe,
Remember essential oils are potent, and should be used with care. Don't use in amounts stronger than those called for as flavoring unless under professional supervision.
The oil promotes menstruation, so avoid it in the first trimester of pregnancy. It may also irritate sensitive skin.
Never use any essential oil without properly diluting it first. Never use any essential oil internally unless directed by a professional herbalist, aromatherapist, or naturopathic or homeopathic doctor.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), "if ingested, the peppermint plant and its oil could indeed potentially cause harm to your cat. Cats are especially sensitive to peppermint oil, and effects such as gastrointestinal upset, central nervous system depression and even liver damage could occur if ingested in significant quantities. Some peppermint oil formulations also contain aspirin derivatives, which could result in additional toxicity. Furthermore, if inhalation of the volatile oil were to occur, aspiration pneumonia may be possible."