Peppermint essential oil has been called one of the most versatile oils in the world, sharing the title with Lavender. Abundant in dermal and oral uses as well as anti-microbial properties, there are countless issues for which it is beneficial, promoting the wellness of body, mind, and overall health.
The scent of Peppermint can be described as being fresh, sharp, and comparable to Menthol, and the components of this multi-purpose oil are used internationally in cosmetic, culinary, and health industries.
Most of the research into peppermint oil has looked at its impact on digestive conditions, particularly irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
According to the NCCIH, there is some evidence to suggest that enteric-coated, diluted peppermint oil can reduce the symptoms of IBS.
IBS is a chronic digestive condition that causes abdominal pain and frequent bouts of diarrhea, constipation, or both. A comprehensive review of studies from over a 50-year period found that enteric-coated peppermint capsules were a safe and effective treatment option for IBS pain.
The NCCIH says that there is not enough evidence to prove that peppermint oil can reduce nausea.
However, a 2020 randomized clinical trial found that inhaling peppermint oil vapor through a nebulizer reduced the frequency, duration, and severity of nausea and vomiting in people recovering from heart surgery.
Another study found that inhaling peppermint essential oil did not have a significant effect on nausea and vomiting among pregnant people with morning sickness. This seems to suggest that peppermint oil aromatherapy can work for some causes of nausea but not others.
A recent review of studies examined the effects of aromatherapy on postoperative nausea. Four of the reviewed studies involved peppermint oil compared to placebo. The reviewers found that inhaling peppermint oil had little or no effect on the severity of nausea.
Symptoms like nausea and vomiting are also commonly present in the early stages of pregnancy. A recent study in 56 pregnant women looked at how aromatherapy with peppermint oil affected nausea and vomiting. They found no significant difference between peppermint oil and placebo.
A few studies suggest that peppermint oil may help with other things, such as:
However, many of these studies are small or only demonstrate peppermint’s properties in a laboratory setting. For this reason, scientists will need to carry out more research to determine whether or not peppermint oil can safely and effectively treat other conditions in humans.
Diffusion: Use three to four drops in the diffuser of your choice.
Internal use: Dilute one drop in 4 fl. oz. of liquid.
Topical use: Apply one to two drops to desired areas. Dilute with a carrier oil to minimize any skin sensitivity. To do this, add a few drops of peppermint oil to a carrier oil, such as jojoba or coconut oil, to prevent skin irritation.
Peppermint oil can help ease symptoms in people with digestive conditions, such as IBS, functional dyspepsia, and nausea after surgery. Enteric-coated peppermint oil appears to be safe to take internally, but healthcare professionals recommend using the essential oil for topical and aromatherapy purposes only.
Some evidence suggests that peppermint oil also has antibacterial and antiviral properties, as well as the ability to soothe itching. However, scientists need to study these potential benefits in more detail.