Peppermint oil has been used for thousands of years across ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome for its medicinal properties (1).
Now that research on peppermint if is well established, there has been a resurgence of its popularity in treating a variety of issues many of us experience every day.
Peppermint oil is an extremely versatile oil that offers countless benefits. Its main component, menthol, has been widely studied and found to help with the following issues:
- Bacterial infection
- Muscle soreness
- Bad breath
There are many other ways you can use peppermint oil, including using it as a natural bug repellent or as an easy way to freshen your breath (hello, DIY mints). Read on to discover the ways to use it to boost your health and lifestyle!
23 Natural Peppermint Oil Uses and Benefits
1. Boost Energy
Instead of reaching for energy drinks whenever you need a boost, give peppermint oil a try. Studies have shown it improves physical and mental energy levels and performance just five minutes after ingesting it (2).
To use: Inhale the scent of peppermint directly for a boost of energy and clarity, or put a few drops in your favorite diffuser to inhale the vapors throughout your day. Internally, add one drop to a large glass of water (yes, a little goes a long way!) and drink.
2. Get Rid of Dandruff
Peppermint oil possesses antifungal and antimicrobial properties that make it excellent for combating dandruff (3).
To use: Add 2 drops to your regular shampoo and concentrate on massaging your scalp as you shower.
3. Relieve Muscle Pain
Menthol, one of the main compounds in peppermint, has significant anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and painkilling effects. Studies have shown it can help reduce muscle soreness and lower inflammation, while also raising your pain threshold (4).
To use: Combine 1/4 cup coconut oil with 5 drops of peppermint oil, then rub on sore muscles.
4. Soothe Joint Pain
The anti-inflammatory and painkilling effects of menthol in peppermint can also be used to relieve joint pain when applied topically (5).
To use: Add 2 drops of peppermint oil to a small dollop of olive or coconut oil, rub together in your hands, then rub on sore joints.
5. Curb Cravings
Many people swear by peppermint oil as a natural way to ease cravings by reducing appetite and helping you feel fuller faster.
To use: Place a few drops in a diffuser before mealtimes, or dilute a couple drops in a carrier oil like olive oil and rub it on your chest.
6. Reduce Allergies
Peppermint oil is also great for allergy symptoms such as drainage and coughing due to its ability to help expel mucus and phlegm (6).
To use: Diffuse the oil in a diffuser along with eucalyptus in your home to reduce allergy symptoms throughout the day and night.
7. Cool Rashes + Itching
Studies have shown that peppermint oil’s cooling and anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe minor itches, from bug bites to poison ivy (7).
To use: Dilute 2 drops of peppermint oil in olive oil and rub on the affected area.
8. Repel Bugs
Essential oils have been utilized for thousands of years as natural insect repellents. Many of the volatile compounds in oils (such as peppermint) are overwhelming to insects like mosquitoes, making them the perfect natural option to keep bugs at bay.
To use: To repel pests from your body (like mosquitoes), dilute several drops in a carrier oil and rub all over exposed areas of your body. To repel bugs in your home, add peppermint oil to your floor cleaner or countertop cleaner.
9. Calm Acne
Peppermint oil contains several antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which help reduce the amount of bacteria on your skin (8). Not to mention, the cooling menthol will also help to reduce inflammation from painful cystic acne.
To use: Mix a drop of peppermint oil with jojoba oil and dab on the affected area twice a day.
10. Relieve Headaches
Research shows that peppermint oil has a significant relaxing and pain-reducing effect on headaches. In one study, peppermint oil reduced sensitivity associated with headaches (9).
To use: Mix 2 drops of peppermint oil in a carrier oil and rub on your temples. If your headache feels more like a tension headache coming from your neck area, massage the oil on your shoulders and neck.
11. Promote Hair Growth
Studies show that massaging peppermint oil into your scalp can help promote hair growth and encourage hair to become thicker, even without participants changing their diets (10).
To use: Add a few drops of peppermint oil to your favorite shampoo and massage deeply into your scalp.
12. Relieve IBS + Bloating
Peppermint oil is one of the best natural treatments when it comes to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Researchers believe its ability to relax the gastrointestinal wall, as well as cool inflammation, play a role in its effectiveness (11). Studies also show peppermint oil has a significant effect on abdominal pain and distension, as well as gas (12).
To use: You can either take peppermint oil in capsule form (follow the dosage instructions on the bottle) or rub a few drops mixed in a carrier oil, like coconut oil or jojoba oil, on your abdomen.
13. Reduce Nausea
Peppermint oil may also be able to help quell bouts of nausea and vomiting. Studies on postoperative nausea show participants who were given peppermint oil experienced significantly lower levels of nausea (13).
To use: Take one or two capsules at the onset of symptoms.
14. Freshen Breath
Peppermint is an ingredient in many toothpastes and mouthwashes, and for good reason. Not only does peppermint smell wonderful, but it also has potent antibacterial properties that help freshen breath (14).
To use: Look for a toothpaste with pure peppermint oil as a main ingredient, or make your own breath spray by combining a couple drops with a cup of water in a spray bottle. You can even make your own homemade breath mints using peppermint and coconut oil!
15. Kill Toenail Fungus
Peppermint oil’s antimicrobial properties make it excellent for combating toenail fungus (15).
To use: Apply 4-5 drops directly on discolored nails daily.
16. Combat Bacterial Infections
Studies have shown peppermint oil to be effective against up to 22 strains of bacteria and fungi, making it an excellent choice to help fight infections (16).
To use: Follow the dosage recommendations on your peppermint oil in capsule form.
17. Help Fight Cancer
It turns out that the compound menthol present in peppermint oil can also inhibit cancer growth. Studies have shown it causes cancer cell death while also helping protect against radiation damage from chemotherapy (17).
18. Relieve Stress
Peppermint oil is popular in aromatherapy for its relaxing and refreshing effects. Studies show that it can be an effective treatment against nerve disorders and mental fatigue, making it an excellent option to help relieve excess stress (18).
To use: Inhale the scent of peppermint for a boost of energy and clarity, or put a few drops in your favorite diffuser to inhale the vapors throughout the day.
19. Boost Exercise Performance
Researchers have found that athletes supplementing with peppermint oil were able to significantly increase exercise performance parameters, including improving breathing capacity and increasing oxygen levels (19).
To use: Add 1-2 drops of peppermint oil to a large glass of water daily.
20. Soothe a Sore Throat
To use: Either gargle a mix of 2 drops of peppermint oil in water, or add a few drops to a pot with water and deeply inhale the steam.
21. Clear a Stuffy Nose
Peppermint oil can help treat many cold symptoms, such as mucus congestion, due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (21).
To use: Diffuse peppermint oil throughout your home when you have a cold to reduce bacteria in the air and help with a stuffy nose and congestion.
22. Relieve Sunburns
Peppermint oil’s cooling and anti-inflammatory properties also make it an excellent remedy for sunburn.
To use: Combine 2 drops of peppermint oil with a carrier oil (and even some aloe if you’d like) and rub on affected areas.
23. Sharpen Memory
To use: Dilute 2 drops in a carrier oil and rub on your chest before you start your day, or carry the oil with you and inhale it directly from the bottle when you need to focus.
As you can see, the uses of peppermint oil are virtually endless. With such a broad base of benefits, this is one oil you should have stocked in your kitchen at all times.