The essential oil of peppermint boasts numerous benefits, whether for the hair or the skin. This is why it is often incorporated into the composition of cosmetic products. If you wish to use it in its original form, there are certain precautions to be taken.
Peppermint Essential Oil: How to use it?
- The essential oil of peppermint, in brief
- The topical application of peppermint essential oil
- The oral intake of peppermint essential oil
- Inhalation of peppermint essential oil
The essential oil of peppermint, in brief.
Thepeppermint essential oil is a natural oil. It comes from a variety of mint known as mentha x piperita. Peppermint essential oil is typically extracted from the leaves of the plant through steam distillation. This process results in a pure oil that is concentrated in active ingredients. Peppermint was already used in ancient times for its medicinal properties and pleasant aroma. Indeed, it has a characteristic fresh and herbaceous smell that is reminiscent of mint.
Today, peppermint essential oil is widely available and appreciated for its numerous beneficial properties. Its uses are diverse: it is used in aromatherapy, alternative medicine, cosmetics, and in many household products.
The topical application of peppermint essential oil.
The topical application of peppermint essential oil can soothe the skin. Indeed, this oil contains two compounds, menthol and menthone, which are responsible for this anti-inflammatory activity. Menthol has the ability to inhibit the production of inflammatory molecules such as prostaglandin PGE-2, interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and leukotriene LTB-4. Menthone is another compound that has shown significant inhibition of the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, notably TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6. These properties allow peppermint oil to play a crucial role in managing skin inflammatory issues and contribute to the relief of pain associated with inflammation.
Beyond its anti-inflammatory properties, this essential oil exhibits antiseptic virtues due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activity. These properties are primarily attributed to menthol, which operates by disrupting the cellular membrane structure of the target microorganisms, leading to a leakage of essential substances and their subsequent cellular death.
How to use peppermint essential oil?
Peppermint essential oil can be particularly irritating due to its high menthol content. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to dilute it at a rate of 10 to 15% in another vegetable oil such as argan oil or avocado oil , for example. For children, it is advised to dilute it to a level of 5% as their skin is more sensitive than that of an adult. However, there are certain contraindications to the use of this oil, particularly for people with asthma and epilepsy, in cases of severe hypertension or cardiovascular problems, liver disorders, gallstones, inflammation of the gallbladder, hormone-dependent disease or cancer, and G6PD enzyme deficiency, which requires medical advice.
The oral intake of peppermint essential oil.
Peppermint essential oil can also be taken orally. It is particularly useful in cases of nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness. Indeed, even though its mechanism is still unknown, it could act on the area of the brain responsible for nausea. Thanks to its high menthol content, its minty fragrance can be beneficial in cases of bad breath.
How to use peppermint essential oil for oral intake?
The use of peppermint essential oil requires a cautious approach and medical advice. The intake of this oil should not exceed 3 drops per day.
Inhalation of peppermint essential oil.
The essential oil of peppermint, due to its refreshing effect, is beneficial for clearing the nose by thinning the mucus, which facilitates its flow. It has even been officially recognised by the European Medicines Agency for its traditional use in inhalation to help combat coughs and colds.
The numerous properties of this essential oil are largely attributable to its high menthol content, a monoterpenol with antiseptic properties for the respiratory tract. By activating the cold-sensitive nerve receptors, the TRPM8 receptors, in the nasal vestibule and respiratory airways, menthol provides a sensation of freshness and promotes improved breathing and nasal decongestion.
How to use peppermint essential oil through inhalation?
You can apply 1 to 2 drops of peppermint essential oil onto a handkerchief, holding it a few centimetres away from your nose, then inhale it.
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KEHILI S. & al. Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) essential oil as a potent anti-inflammatory, wound healing and anti-nociceptive drug. European Journal of Biological Research (2020).
CHEN X. & al. A Natural Plant Ingredient, Menthone, Regulates T Cell Subtypes and Lowers Pro-inflammatory Cytokines of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Journal of Natural Products (2022).