Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a combination of the plants watermint and spearmint. It’s been used for hundreds of years in food preparation, but it also has many useful health benefits.
Medicinal properties lie in peppermint’s oil component which contains menthol (the bioactive ingredient).
Because of these medicinal properties, peppermint oil is one of the most popular essential oils in the world.
Unfortunately, not all peppermint oil applications are backed by science.
In this article, I present to you the 3 uses of peppermint oil backed by multiple scientific studies. I’ve also included how much you need to use to experience benefits.
Peppermint oil decreases symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of the large intestine the causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea and/or constipation.
If you have (IBS), taking peppermint oil orally can reduce abdominal pain for as long as you keep taking it.
In 2008, researchers at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in Bangladesh tested the effects of peppermint oil in decreasing abdominal pain associated with IBS in 74 patients. The participants in the study took peppermint oil 3 times a day for 6 weeks.
At the end of the study, participants reported decreased abdominal pain.
This is just one example of peppermint oil’s effectiveness in decreasing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. 7 other studies have also demonstrated its effectiveness.
Peppermint oil decreases feelings of nausea
As aromatherapy, peppermint oil can reduce feelings of nausea.
A study conducted by Dr. Betty Lane and her colleagues tested the effect of peppermint oil aromatherapy on feelings of nausea in 35 women who had just received a scheduled C-section.
The researchers reported decreased feelings of nausea when peppermint oil aromatherapy was used.
4 other scientific studies have demonstrated its ability to decrease nausea.
Peppermint oil can reduce tension headaches
Applying peppermint oil topically when a tension headache begins can reduce its severity in as little as 15 minutes.
A 1994 study published in the journal Cephalalgia showed that peppermint oil in combination with ethanol applied topically to the foreheads of participants with a headache lowered its severity.
1 other study has shown peppermint oil can reduce tension headache severity.
How to use peppermint oil effectively
Peppermint can be taken orally, applied topically, or used for aromatherapy.
Orally, you can consume between 0.1 and 0.2 milliliters of the oil 2 or 3 times per day.
Topically, apply a thin layer of a solution containing 10% peppermint oil to the skin; the solution can be reapplied after 15 to 30 minutes up to 2 more times.
Aromatherapy doesn’t have any maximum dose. As an oil or in a distiller, use it until you can smell the aroma in the area.
I’ve presented just a few supposed medicinal benefits of peppermint oil. It’s also been suggested to be able to relieve muscle and joint pain, unclog your sinuses, relieve allergies, increase energy, and relieve itchiness.
These benefits either haven’t been tested in a laboratory setting, haven’t been thoroughly tested, or have conflicting research.
Due to the relative safety of peppermint oil, there’s no harm in testing out peppermint oil for yourself to see if it works for you or not.