The essential oil of peppermint is known for its refreshing and soothing properties. Commonly used in aromatherapy, it is also an ingredient in body, skin, and hair care products. Here are the potential dangers and side effects to expect following its use.
The potential dangers of peppermint essential oil?
- Peppermint Essential Oil: What is it?
- Are there any dangers associated with the use of peppermint essential oil?
- The contraindications of using peppermint essential oil
Peppermint Essential Oil: What is it?
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.
Are there any dangers associated with the use of peppermint essential oil?
When it is properly measured and used correctly, this essential oil is considered safe. However, peppermint essential oil can be toxic and pose a health risk in cases of overdose or misuse.
When applied topically, peppermint essential oil can cause irritations and burns due to its high menthol content. These reactions are common if this essential oil comes into direct contact with the skin or scalp without being diluted with another oil. They also occur in cases of overdosing the essential oil in skin or hair care products, therefore, it is crucial to dilute it at a rate of 10 to 15% to avoid any issues.
Allergic reactions are rare with this essential oil as it contains low amounts of allergenic compounds (limonene ≤ 5% and linalool ≤ 5%). However, to avoid them, it is recommended to always perform a test on a part of the skin before using a treatment that contains peppermint essential oil. To do this, apply a small amount in the crook of your elbow. Wait 24 hours and ensure that you do not experience any pain or itching. This will allow you to determine whether or not you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the treatment.
The contraindications of using peppermint essential oil
Peppermint essential oil is neurotoxic due to its high concentration of menthol, as well as menthone and isomenthone, which are neurotoxic and abortifacient. This neurotoxicity can be explained by the fact that ketones have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and reach the brain. In case of overdose or repeated use, ketones can damage the myelin sheath that protects neurons, leading to disruptions in their functioning. For these reasons, this essential oil should be avoided during pregnancy. It is also not recommended for breastfeeding women and children under the age of 6.
In certain instances, peppermint essential oil can be taken orally, but only under medical advice and for a short period, limiting the dosage to a maximum of 3 drops per day. However, individuals with asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy should consult a doctor before using peppermint essential oil. The same applies to those suffering from high blood pressure, liver disorders, or hormone-dependent cancers. The intake of peppermint essential oil can indeed alter the effectiveness of certain treatments. It is therefore necessary to seek a doctor's opinion before starting to use this essential oil.
ALANKAR S. A Review on peppermint oil. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research (2009).