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Benefits and Uses of Peppermint Oil

Michelle Brass | 20 October

"Icy, cool, stimulating peppermint sustains the energy required to maintain inner attention on your highest potential, bringing balance and focus to your own idea of purpose.“ - Robbi Zeck, The Blossoming Heart

With so many of us leading busy lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day and lose track of what we really need for the health of our minds and bodies. In the mind, this can show up as stress, lack of focus, or a low mood. In the body, this can manifest as poor digestion, headaches and sore muscles.

This is where it can be valuable to look to time-honoured herbs, such as peppermint, for a little extra support. Peppermint has a long history of use in cooking, as well as western herbal medicine and aromatherapy. This menthol-rich herb is popular for its ability to lift the spirits, bring an aroma of freshness to meals, sweets and personal care products.

If you’ve been looking for extra support for digestion or calm focus, read on to learn more about how Peppermint Oil can benefit you. 

About Peppermint Oil

The first botanical record of peppermint was in Hertfordshire, England in 1696 when peppermint was collected by Dr Eales. It was named peppermint due to its similarity to spearmint, but with a more pepper type taste1. The herb was used by the Romans as they considered it to have digestive properties. It is still recognised today for its beneficial action on digestion, as it has traditionally been used in western herbal medicine to relieve symptoms of indigestion and reduce gas - hence the popularity of peppermint tea after meals. Peppermint Essential Oil is also traditionally used in aromatherapy to relieve headaches and associated symptoms, such as nervous tension, muscle pain and even nasal congestion.

Peppermint Oil often raises a question as to whether it is warming or cooling. While it is usually listed as having a cooling effect, it is listed in The Energetics of Western Herbs as actually has a warming effect when taken internally, such as in tea form where it warms the digestive organs. However, the text also describes how its cooling effect is apparent when applied topically for pain relief2.

Essential Oil Facts

Botanical Name: Mentha x piperita L.

Common Name(s): Peppermint, Mint, Mitcham Mint

Family: Lamiaceae

Extraction Method: Steam distilled from the partially dried herb.

Note: Top

Strength of Aroma: Strong

Aromatic Scent: Grassy-minty aroma

Typical Chemical Composition: menthol (40.0%), menthone (18.7%), 1,8 cineole (7.3%), methyl acetate (3.8%), menthofuran (3.0%), isomenthone (2.5%) limonene (2.5%), B-pinene (1.8%), a-pinene (1.4%), germacrene D (1.3%), trans-sabinene hydrate (1.0%), pulegone (0.8%)

Safety Information: Use sparingly and keep away from the face of infants and toddlers.

Benefits of Peppermint Oil

Peppermint is a favourite in terms of flavour and aroma too - as proven by its wide use in many products, including toothpaste, sweets, muscle creams, herbal teas, skincare products, and more. It is also a wonderful oil to help with energy, focus and achievement - however, it’s best used during the day so as not to disturb sleep!

Peppermint Essential Oil is potent, so you only use a drop or two. It can be used in a diffuser, bath, massage oil and added to other formulas. However, it is advisable not to use it at night due to its uplifting and stimulating effect. 

Peppermint Essential Oil has also been traditionally used in aromatherapy to relieve nausea, motion sickness, and even reduce vomiting. 

Let’s look at some of the specific ways Peppermint Essential Oil can be of benefit:

1) Headaches 

The analgesic or pain-relieving properties of peppermint are noted particularly for headaches. Research has shown that Peppermint Oil applied to the forehead and temples helped to relieve muscle tension and reduce pain associated with headaches3.

Not all headaches are caused by the same issues.  Some headaches are associated with congestion in the sinuses, and as peppermint is also an anti-inflammatory, it has traditionally been used in aromatherapy to help reduce symptoms of sinusitis and upper respiratory congestion. A drop or two in a bowl combined with kunzea is a great inhalation for sinus and/or headaches associated with sinus congestion.

Alternatively, our Breathe Easy Lifestyle Blend combines Peppermint with Kunzea, Eucalyptus and Peppermint for a refreshing and soothing blend to clear the mind.

For headaches, it can also be helpful to dab one drop at the temples and the nape of the neck. However, we still recommend diluting the oil in a carrier oil or cream before application. Please remember to always wash your hands after handling Peppermint to avoid sensitive areas such as the eyes, as it will burn!

2) Sore and Tired Muscles

Peppermint has an anti-inflammatory effect and is a great essential oil to use in a massage blend for tired bodies. It is for this reason that we have combined it with Magnesium and Kunzea as key ingredients in our Zea Active range for pre- and post- workout recovery. 

3) Digestion

Peppermint is one of the most effective and commonly used essential oils for digestive health. 

Peppermint is traditionally used in aromatherapy to relieve indigestion and reduce gas. It’s also been traditionally used for its antispasmodic action - reducing stomach cramps, while also providing relief from nausea and vomiting4.

Use it well diluted in a base oil such as Sweet Almond Oil to massage the abdomen in a clockwise direction. The intake of Peppermint Leaf Tea can further enhance the action of the massage5.

4) Energy and Alertness

Peppermint Oil is known as a “cephalic”, something that stimulates the brain and aids clear thinking5. If you are feeling foggy in the head and unable to focus clearly, Peppermint Oil is a great essential oil to pop in your diffuser. You might especially love blending it with Lime and White Cypress for that instant “pick me up”.

5) Positivity and Inspiration

Peppermint also helps to replace negative thoughts with more positivity and clarity. Peppermint's fundamental clinical indication is great for any form of “stagnation” often caused by negative thinking, poor diet or sedentary lifestyle6. Often in the western world we can observe this level of stagnation due to the above tendencies and this is where peppermint plays a beautiful role - to bring the zing and positive energy back to one's life.

Our Heaven Scent Lifestyle Blend combines the benefits of Peppermint with Bergamot, Lavender, Cedarwood and Ylang Ylang. It is a best seller and the perfect blend for promoting positivity!

5) Colds and Congestion

If you’ve come down with a cold or flu, the great news is Peppermint Essential Oil makes a wonderful part of your tool kit for recovery. 

Peppermint Essential oil is traditionally used in aromatherapy to relieve the symptoms of cold and flu, including nasal congestion, excess mucous, upper respiratory tract congestion and sinusitis7.

Place a drop or two of Peppermint Essential Oil onto a tissue or into a diffuser and inhale deeply to relieve congestion. 

Zea Essentials and diffuser

Blending with Peppermint

Among other essential oils, Peppermint blends beautifully with Lavender, Sweet Orange, Lemon, Kunzea and White Cypress. Here are six blends you may like to try using Peppermint Essential Oil:

Essential oil blends

The Essence of Peppermint

Peppermint essential oil has so many uses, it's no wonder that it’s a staple in many people's daily life.

Not only can it aid our physical digestion, but likewise can help us digest thoughts and plans, and help put things into perspective.

Add this refreshing essential oil to your aromatherapy collection and enjoy the countless benefits that Peppermint Oil has to offer.

About the Author - Michelle Brass ND

With over 25 years of experience in the natural health industry, Michelle has dedicated her life to helping others embrace the therapeutic benefits of nature. Throughout her time as a health practitioner, she has used and recommended countless traditional and conventional treatments to her clients - as she believes an integrative approach to health and wellness is very important. Michelle is passionate about using and promoting essential oils and, in particular, Kunzea Oil, as she has seen them help thousands of people over the years. She knows that using essential oils in your daily life can help bring balance to the mind, body and soul. She is constantly trialling and testing new products with her loyal clients.

To learn more about Michelle, go to her full bio page.

Medical Disclaimer

All content by Australian Kunzea Pty Ltd, including, text, images, audio, or other formats, were created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. To read our full medical disclaimer, click here.


  1. Battaglia S. The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. 3rd ed. Black Pepper Creative Pty Ltd; 2018.
  2. Holmes P. Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Volume 1: Principles and Profiles. Singing Dragon; 2016.
  3. Gobel H et. al. Essential plant oils and headache mechanisms,1995;2(2):93-102.
  4. Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). Community herbal monograph on Mentha X Piperita aetheroleum. European Medicines agency, London 2007. EMEA/HMPC/349466/2006.
  5. Aromatherapy An A-Z Patricia Davis
  6. Holmes P. Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Volume 1: Principles and Profiles. Singing Dragon; 2016.
  7. Horvath G et. al. Essential oils in the treatment of respiratory tract diseases highlighting their role in bacterial infections and their anti-inflammatory action: a review, 2015;30(5):331-341.