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Peppermint, Mentha piperita, is one of the most popular essential oils. Menthol, the main constituent of Peppermint essential oil, is commonly used for relieving congestion and abating headaches.

Beyond using Peppermint EO (essential oil) for congestion, it is also:

  • pain-relieving
  • antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral
  • relives nausea
  • freshens breath
  • antioxidant
  • relieves itching
  • relieves inflammation
  • relives cramping, spasms
  • constricts skin (good for wrinkles!)
  • helpful for relieving digestive bloating
  • stimulates bile production
  • stimulates circulation
  • promotes drainage of respiratory congestion
  • reduces fever
  • stimulates immune system
  • nerve tonic
  • stimulates digestion
  • promotes perspiration (to help release toxins)
  • destroys and expels intestinal worms

Essential oils are highly concentrated, and must be used with caution.

The general rule of thumb for using any essential oil is to use a 1% dilution on children and 2% dilution on adults (more about dilution here: Properly Diluting Essential Oils). With Peppermint, you can safely use up to 5.4% if needed (source), but Peppermint essential oil should never be used on children under age 6.

Be sure you check the label for the botanical name. If it does not say Mentha piperita then it is not Peppermint. Some vendors sell Cornmint (Mentha arvensis) under the name Peppermint. Cornmint is a less expensive oil and does not have the same profile as Peppermint. So check those labels!

Here are some ways you can use Peppermint Essential Oil:

Achy Muscles

Combine 3 drops Peppermint EO with 1 teaspoon of carrier*. Massage into achy muscles.

Bad Breath

In a 1 ounce spray bottle add 12 drops Peppermint EO and 1 ounce water. Shake well before using.


Add 15 drops Peppermint EO to an inhaler and use as needed.


Combine 1 drop of Peppermint EO in 1 teaspoon carrier. Massage into temples, base of skull, or over the source of headache.


Add 2 drops Peppermint EO to a bowl of lukewarm water. Dab a facecloth in the water, making sure to absorb the EOs as well as some of the water. Blot on forehead or behind neck. Avoid eyes.


Add 15 drops Peppermint EO to an inhaler and use as needed. You can also apply 1-2 drops to a clay pendant that you can wear.


Combine 3 drops Peppermint EO with 1 teaspoon carrier* and apply where needed.


Add 12 drops Peppermint EO and 1 ounce water to a 1 ounce spray bottle. Shake well before misting over face twice daily.

For more recipe and suggestions, read: Peppermint Essential oil Profile.

Lea Harris is a contributing writer for Whole Intentions. She's an avid researcher and Certified Health Coach who turned her passion for natural health into her blog, Nourishing Treasures, in 2006. In 2012 Lea turned her research passion towards essential oils, and became a Certified Aromatherapist in 2013 just after launching her new website, Learning About EOs. You can receive Lea's ebook, "Using Essential Oils Safely" for free when you sign up for the LAEO newsletter.

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    8 replies to "Using Peppermint Essential Oil Safely"

    • Mary Gardner

      Helpful information! Thank you

    • Grace

      Gah, read this a little late! Just got back from a road trip where I used peppermint (and others) on my 2 year old son to prevent motion sickness. I’ll have to stop using it. Do you have any suggestions for a replacement? He throws up on almost every car ride longer than an hour or so.

      • Paula

        Have you ever tried letting him chew on crystallized papaya or ginger?

    • Cayla

      What about using peppermint EO while pregnant? For headaches and also muscle aches, is it safe? Not internally of course!

    • humanbeen

      So … looks like I bought the cornmint. I’ll know better for the future. But can I still use it, or shall I just consider it a loss?

      • Tricia

        Hi! I found some information from Essential Oil University that I think you will want to read. Based on what it says, I personally would not use the cornmint essential oil that you purchased….especially pregnant! Here is what it says….
        “Cornmint is NOT peppermint.
        True peppermint oil comes from Mentha piperita. Cornmint is an inferior and much less expensive oil that comes from Mentha arvensis. Cornmint is very high in menthol and is produced so that a good chunk of the menthol can be crystalized out and sold. The left over “dementholized oil” is then sold as an added bonus which is why it’s much cheaper than peppermint oil. Even the “dementholized oil” or DMO is higher in menthol than peppermint oil. But make no mistake, cornmint is an inferior oil in odor, flavor, and therapeutic value to peppermint oil. Many companies, especially in Asia, will refer to cornmint as peppermint, that’s why it’s always important to clarify the Latin botanical name with them. Cornmint oil is commonly sold by uneducated or unethical suppliers in the U.S. as peppermint oil. Cornmint is also used to adulterate peppermint but we can tell when this is done by looking at trace marker peaks in the GC/MS. To the novice, cornmint may smell like peppermint but as you get more experience you will see that they are very different in odor, with peppermint having a sweeter, more complex odor and flavor. Please don’t let anyone try to tell you that these oils are the same or that cornmint is somehow superior. These people are either ignorant or have an agenda because they’ve been peddling corn mint.”
        I really hope this helps!! If you have any more questions feel free to email me @ theoilqueen@mail.com!

    • […] Peppermint essential oil has many benefits, but it’s a good pick for a detox bath because it promotes perspiration to help you sweat out […]

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