Updated: Oct 13, 2022
Scientific Name: Mentha piperita
Common Names: Balm mint, Japanese peppermint, Lamb mint, Our Lady's mint
Peppermint, also known as Mentha piperita, is a part of the mint family known as Lamiaceae. This herb is a hybrid between Watermint (Mentha aquatica) and Spearmint (Mentha spicita) (1). Peppermint can grow up to three feet tall and two feet wide at maturity. Typically peppermint has smooth, red stems with broad and oval tooth-like leaves that may be hairy (2). This aromatic perennial herb has a strong, sweet odor and a warm, pungent taste with a cooling aftertaste. The peppermint plant's fresh leaves are often used in culinary, while the flowers are dried and used to flavor foods. Peppermint is also widely known for its many medicinal properties, primarily in the form of oil.
Benefits of Peppermint
May Ease Digestive Upsets
Digestive upsets are classified as digestive problems such as chronic constipation, food intolerances, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS), among many others (3). Peppermint may alleviate digestive symptoms such as gas bloating and indigestion while also inhibiting muscles from contracting. Inhibiting muscles from contracting may ease spasms in your gut associated with digestive upsets (4). A review of 14 clinical trials in nearly 2,000 children found peppermint reduced the frequency, length, and severity of abdominal pain associated with digestive upsets (5). One study found that of 72 people with IBS, peppermint oil capsules lessened IBS symptoms by 40% after four weeks, compared to only 24.3% with a placebo (6).
May Help Relieve Headaches & Migraines
Approximately 45 million or one in every six Americans struggle with headaches resulting in more than 8 million new doctor visits and headaches complaints each year (7). Peppermint may help relieve tension headaches and migraines due to its ability to act as a muscle relaxant and pain reliever. Peppermint also provides a cooling sensation (8). Peppermint's ability to relieve certain types of headaches is likely due to the menthol in peppermint oil. Menthol increases the blood's flow and provides a cooling sensation that assists in easing pain (9). In one clinical study of 35 people with migraines, when participants applied peppermint oil to the forehead and temples, the pain was reduced significantly after two hours compared to a placebo oil (10). In another study of 41 people, when participants applied peppermint oil topically to the forehead, they found it to be as effective for headaches as 1,000 mg of acetaminophen (11). Acetaminophen is also linked to many health concerns, including damaging the liver and kidneys, depleting levels of glutathione, cardiometabolic risk, affecting emotional processing, an endocrine disruptor, neurodevelopment consequences during pregnancy, linked to cancer, Steven's-Johnson Syndrome, and asthma. To learn more regarding The Truth About Acetaminophen, click here.
May Relieve Clogged Sinuses & Seasonal Allergies
Allergy symptoms such as clogged sinuses occur when your body’s immune system responds to foreign objects by releasing histamines. This results in inflammation and attracts white blood cells to isolate the culprit and fight it off (12). Peppermint may relieve clogged sinuses due to infections, allergies, or the common cold thanks to its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties (13). Research confirms that menthol, one of the active compounds in peppermint, promotes the perception of airflow in the nasal cavity. As a result, the steam from peppermint tea may help bring a response of more manageable breathing (14).
To learn how I manage season allergies naturally, click here.
An antibacterial property is when a substance, or in this case, an herb, can destroy or suppress the growth and reproduction of bacteria (15). Peppermint oil has been recorded to effectively kill bacteria (16), especially in the bacterias frequently found in the mouth (17). One study observed peppermint oil could kill and prevent the growth of common food-borne bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella Enteritidis in pineapple and mango juices (18). In another study, peppermint oil was found to successfully kill several types of bacteria that lead to illnesses in humans, including Staphylococcus and pneumonia-linked bacteria (19).
May Freshen Your Breath
In addition to peppermint's antibacterial properties and its pleasant smell, peppermint can help kill germs that cause dental plaque, which may improve your breath (20). One study found that people who had undergone spine surgery and had received a rinse made with peppermint, tea tree, and lemon oils experienced an improvement in bad breath symptoms compared to those who did not receive the oils (21). Another study found that schoolgirls who were given a peppermint mouth rinse experienced an improvement in breath after one week compared to the control group (22). Check out my DIY, Natural, Toxin-Free Mouthwash with peppermint essential oil here.
May Improve Sleep
About 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems or lack of sleep associated with injuries, chronic diseases, mental illnesses, poor quality of life and well-being, often contributing to chronic conditions such as obesity and depression (23). Peppermint’s ability to relax muscles may help you relax overall before bed (24). In one study, peppermint oil prolonged the sleeping time of mice (25). Peppermint may also enhance energy levels and diminish daytime fatigue, improving your ability to sleep at night. One study witnessed people experience less fatigue during a cognitive test when given peppermint oil capsules (26).
May Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Around 80% of women experience menstrual cramps or pain at some stage in their lifetime (27). Peppermint may relieve menstrual cramps due to its ability to act as a muscle relaxant. One study found that 127 girls with painful periods were able to use peppermint extract capsules, and they were as effective as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (28).
May Aid In Weight Loss
Weight management is a challenge for most people in the U.S., with more than 70% of American adults being overweight (29). Excess body weight is a common contributor to type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes. Being overweight increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (30). One study found that taking a peppermint oil capsule for healthy people resulted in reduced appetite, which can lead to weight loss, compared to not taking peppermint (31).
⚠️ Warning: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and this herb is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything.
Contraindications & Interactions
Known interactions between Peppermint and Felodipine, Cyclosporine, 5-fluorouracil, and Cytochrome P450 substrates.
Peppermint may dry up milk secretions, so it is best to avoid them in large quantities during breastfeeding, especially if sensitive.
Those with a history of cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, hiatal hernia, or gastroesophageal reflux disease should consult a naturopath before consuming Peppermint.
Products Recommended with Peppermint Ingredients
Earthley's Castor Oil Detox (Cool) is infused to assist in detoxing your liver, relieving the pain of cysts, reducing joint pain, promoting lymphatic health, and more.
Earthley's Christmas Cookie Whipped Body Butter (Seasonal) combines nourishing, organic butters and oils to moisturize the skin. Use this luxurious lotion all over the body to hydrate and protect. Earthley's scents are 100% natural and made with pure essential oils.
Earthley's Christmas Cookie Natural Lip Balm (Seasonal) is as natural as it gets. Three simple, safe, and edible ingredients combine to nourish and moisturize the lips. Natural essential oils are added for a pleasant smell without artificial ingredients.
Earthley's Christmas Cookie Lotion Bar (Seasonal) is lotion to go! Made with the same ingredients as in our Whipped Body Butter, but a little more solid and a lot more convenient! Take this deliciously scented bar of moisture anywhere in its convenient metal tin.
Earthley's Christmas Cookie Soap (Seasonal) allows you to enjoy the holidays, even in the bath! This delicious, nourishing holiday body and hand soap smells like cookies baking and candy making, with notes of vanilla and peppermint.
Earthley's Herbal Throat Spray provides relief from sore throats without compromising ingredients. This spray is infused with anti-viral herbs and has a pleasant, sweet flavor. Banish sore throats naturally with cooling peppermint while your immune system needs support.
Earthley's Liver Love promotes liver health by supporting detox and proper function. The liver is a critical, hard-working organ and this herbal tincture provides 100% natural support.
Earthley's Pain Potion is an herbal tincture that helps relieve headaches and other body pains. Earthley combines five herbs to extract their anti-inflammatory, cooling, and soothing properties to help relax muscles and ease pain. Skip the OTC pills and their dangerous side effects and opt for the natural help that Pain Potion can provide.
Earthley's Remineralizing Tooth Powder (Mint) is a 100% natural and fluoride-free option for healthy, clean teeth. This tooth powder is whitening and remineralizing, so it will help improve the look, strength, and health of your gums and mouth. Not recommended for people with metal-based tooth fillings.
Earthley's Vaccine Detox is an herbal tincture that helps restore wellness post-vaccination by supporting gut health. Six herbs combine to help heal leaky gut, support liver health, and boost the immune system, while chlorella powder removes heavy metals from the body. Whether you have taken a vaccine recently, or in the past, had a vaccine injury, or are simply looking to detox from the toxins around you, this tincture is for you! Not recommended for people with metal-based tooth fillings.
MaryRuth's Chlorophyll Liquid Drops support overall health with an easy-to-take peppermint flavored liquid. Chlorophyll isn't just for plants — experience the benefits of this compound for your body, like helping the immune system and supporting cellular health.
Simply Earth's Dried Peppermint Leaves are perfect for infusing into your favorite carrier oil.
Simply Earth's Peppermint Essential Oil has always been popular as a flavor enhancer in food and drinks. Besides its distinct flavor, it also has a cooling effect and can help relieve head tension and aid in digestion.
Simply Earth's Peppermint Roll-On has an excellent cooling effect and can help relieve head tension and aid in digestion, making it perfect for on-the-go support and come pre-diluted to ensure they are safe for topical application.