In cosmetics, Peppermint Oil is commonly used as a fragrance component in soaps, toothpastes, creams, lotions, shampoos, detergents, colognes and perfumes. It is also used as a flavoring agent in pharmaceuticals and an ingredient in cough, cold and digestive remedies. It is used for flavoring in the food industry, especially for sweets, chewing gum, alcoholic and soft drinks. Peppermint Oil can also be used to flavor tobacco, such as menthol cigarettes. Peppermint’s leaves and oils have many benefits and uses. Dried or fresh leaves are used to prepare tea. The oil itself is commonly used to treat headaches, muscle and nerve pain and various stomach and bowel conditions. It also alleviates nausea, indigestion and cold symptoms. The Peppermint herb is a perennial plant usually growing up to 1 meter with wide spreading underground roots that propagate its growth. It is a natural occurring hybrid between spearmint (M. viridis) and Water Mint (M. aquatica). Peppermint Essential Oil is a pale yellow or greenish liquid. It holds a highly penetrating grassy-minty pleasant therapeutic aroma. Peppermint Essential Oil is obtained by steam distillation of the flowering Peppermint herb which contains approximately 3-4% oil in comparison to its total weight. The chemical composition of the oil consists of menthol (29-48%), menthone (20-31%) and minor quantities of menthyl acetate, menthofuran, limonene, pulegone, cineol and others. Peppermint Essential Oil has many applications. It has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiphlogistic, antipruritic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral and astringent properties. Further uses take advantages of its carminative, cephalic, cholagogue, cordial, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, hepatic, nervine, stomachic, sudorific, vasoconstrictor and vermifuge properties.
Peppermint has a long history that goes all the way back to Ancient times. In fact, dried Peppermint leaves were discovered inside Egyptian pyramids and were carbon dated back to 1000 BC. Various types of mints had also been cultivated in Japan and China since ancient times. The name itself originates from ancient Greek mythology. The story states that Hades, the God of the underworld, seduced the nymph, Minthe. Hades’ wife, Persephone, became jealous and enraged so she turned Minthe into a plant that people would walk over. Outraged with his wife, Hades imbued the plant with Peppermint, so that whenever the plant would be crushed, people would remember Minthe in all her beauty. Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans all used Peppermint Oil and leaves in their ancient medicinal preparations. Effective as a digestive aid, they also enjoyed the smell of the Peppermint plant. Peppermint was usually placed at the entrance of the house to greet guests with its pleasant aroma. The plant continued to grow wild throughout the centuries until 1750 when people started purposely growing and cultivating Peppermint. This happened in London, England and from there, the plant was transported to the United States where the State of Massachusetts began commercially growing it in 1790. From 1846 on, Peppermint growers started using steam distilleries for oil extraction and replaced the old method of boiling mint in water and skimming the oil off the top of its surface. This new method greatly enhanced the production, and improved the quality of Peppermint Oil.
The Peppermint herb is indigenous to Asia and Europe. Since the early 19th century it’s been commercially transported, naturalized and extensively grown across North America. The plant is commonly found near streams and other moist soil areas. It can survive in almost any given condition with good water supply and drainage. Peppermint Oil is mainly produced in America, France, England, Morocco, Hungary, Russia, Italy, Bulgaria and China.
Peppermint essential oil is a known remedy for acne and dermatitis.