Reduce Pain and Inflammation with Peppermint Essential Oil

by Andrea Butje on September 4, 2013

peppermint essential oil propertiesPeppermint essential oil (Mentha x piperita) is easily recognizable by its sweet, minty aroma.

Peppermint essential oil is well known for being uplifting and energizing, and is commonly found in blends for pain and swelling.

Peppermint oil is distilled from the leaves of the peppermint plant. During distillation, the aroma is refreshing and awakening! I was amazed to see the quantity of peppermint leaves used to distill a small amount of essential oil. It’s easy to understand why the oil is so strong.

Peppermint contains a high percentage of menthol, which has several well researched properties. Menthol is proven to be:

  • Analgesic.
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Antibacterial.
  • Antispasmodic.
  • Stimulating.
  • Cooling.

What does this mean for people like you and me? Products containing true Peppermint essential oil can be very helpful for reducing muscle pain and muscle spasms, and reducing hot, red inflammation from an acute injury such as a sprained, swollen ankle.

Peppermint essential oil can be used in blends for cold and flu, and it’s very cooling for a fever. It can also help relieve headaches.

Peppermint is especially famous for being a great digestive aid. Look for peppermint herbal tea to help settle nausea or a stomach ache. If you’re making a digestive blend with Peppermint essential oil, try adding 5–8 drops to 1 oz (30 ml) of unscented cream or lotion, and apply a small amount of the cream to your stomach or the back of your neck.

Another great blend is 5–8 drops of Peppermint in 1 oz (30 ml) of jojoba oil or unscented organic lotion to create a stimulating and refreshing foot cream. This one’s great for foot massages!

Safety Information
Purchasing Peppermint oil for your own use? Great! It’s a wonderful oil to keep on hand. But as with any concentrated substance, you should be careful when using it.

The Aromahead Approach to using peppermint:

  • Based on the research, we take an extra cautious approach and do not recommend using peppermint topically with babies or children under five years old.
  • Can be irritating if applied to the face or near the eyes.
  • Wash hands well after use so you don’t accidentally touch your eyes.
  • Peppermint can be quite skin irritating if used in the bathtub.
  • To avoid potential irritation, always dilute Peppermint essential oil before applying it to your skin. I use 5-6 drops per 1 oz (30 ml) of cream or carrier oil.

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Aromahead Institute, owned by Andrea Butje, is a premier resource for online aromatherapy classes. Andrea offers her inspired approach to online aromatherapy certification through essential oil videos and original education materials. Check out her book, Essential Living: Aromatherapy Recipes for Health and Home, on Amazon!

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Ash April 27, 2017 at 1:16 pm


I discovered this while researching a post on using essential oils for everyday ailments. While researching peppermint, I was surprised to see that studies actually claim the oil DOESN’T work as a decongestant (or rather, that menthol does not reduce upper airway restriction).

I notice you don’t say anything about peppermint being used as a decongestant. It would seem you’re aware of this conflict with science. Do you have more to say on this topic?

I have absolutely experienced the decongestive properties of peppermint oil, and it has done wonders for my kids and I. As soon as you sniff it, it’s as though the peppermint pierces straight through mucus to create an open airway. Is there another compound besides menthol which has this decongestant property?

Thanks for sharing!


Andrea Butje April 28, 2017 at 10:02 am

Hi Ash!
The research we have seen on menthol does not specifically state decongestant, although I do find the oil very “opening”. We can’t always associate an action with a specific component, it is often a synergistic effect. That being said, Pénoël and Franchomme (1990) suggest that “ketones such as menthone are able to reduce mucosal secretions”. There is also a bit of 1,8 cineole in peppermint and that could easily be supporting the decongestant actions of the essential oil.


SG February 23, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Hi! I love using menthol crystals in a couple different adult products that I make. I’m wondering if you can direct me towards some resources on how to use it safely? Thanks!


Andrea Butje February 26, 2017 at 7:32 pm

I can suggest reaching out to Mountain Rose Herbs, they sell this and may be able to guide you further.


Terri June 21, 2016 at 8:40 pm

Have you heard of any contraindications with peppermint oil and hypertension? I have seen a few articles stating that peppermint oil may raise blood pressure.


Andrea Butje June 22, 2016 at 12:44 pm

Yes Terri, we have seen that information on peppermint too. We follow the safety research and guidelines provided by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young. According to Robert Tisserand’s book, Essential Oil Safety, he has found no compelling evidence for Peppermint to be contraindicated for hypertension.


Linda Smith June 21, 2016 at 8:13 pm

I wonder how it’d work for my neck as I have some problems in that area?


Andrea Butje June 22, 2016 at 11:59 am

Linda, it’s worth a try! Let us know how it goes.


Francine June 21, 2016 at 3:26 pm

What can you use instead of Trama oils.


Andrea Butje June 22, 2016 at 12:03 pm

You could use any carrier you love. Jojoba oil or an unscented lotion are nice as well.


Francine June 22, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Thank You very much. Didn’t think that I was going to get an answer that fast.


Dawne Morgan June 21, 2016 at 10:56 am

This is great info, as all your posts and videos are! I very much enjoy learning about the benefits of EO’s from you, yay for Internet! I’m of the age that my introduction to EO and herbal self care was found just in books. I confess, I popped on this link as I read it as “help your shelves” with peppermint, as I had been reading about its use to deter mice on counters and cabinets 🙂


Andrea Butje June 21, 2016 at 4:01 pm

That’s too cute Dawne! I am delighted you found us and that you are enjoying the resources we share at Aromahead! Thanks for joining us on our blog!


Tammy June 21, 2016 at 8:40 am


Where can you get the trama oil? Do you sell it?



Andrea Butje June 21, 2016 at 9:42 am

Tammy, try Aromatics International – I love their organic Trauma oil:


Julyan Lee July 20, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Hi Andre,

1) What would you recommend for children below 5 having fevers?
2) Why is it not recommended? What if it’s heavily diluted?

I admit I have been using peppermint on my toddler whenever she has a fever. But I do dilute it heavily to help bring her high fever down. So far, it has helped her.


Andrea Butje July 21, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Hi Julyan – Child fever can be an indication of more serious illness, so I would recommend seeing a medical professional. We follow the guidelines of Robert Tisserand and his book, Essential Oil Safety. He has done extensive research and compiled solid information on the safety of essential oils. According to Tisserand, there have been many reports of Peppermint being neurotoxic for young children, so his recommendation is not to use it for young children under 5.


Audrey Lightfoot September 30, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Peppermint is a mucous membrane irritant. It will burn your private areas in the bath.


Jessica nombuso September 29, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Is good mix with my body cream


Andrea Butje September 29, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Yes! Great!


Magdalena September 13, 2013 at 11:23 am

Question: why peppermint shouldn’t be used in the bathtub? Is it safe to use in a bath diluted in a carrier oil?


Andrea Butje September 14, 2013 at 8:42 am


Peppermint can irritate and even burn the skin in a hot bath-even in a carrier oil I would not recommend it for a bath.


Ion Doaga September 8, 2013 at 8:33 am

I like to add peppermint into the tea, especially in winter times.

During winter time my body hibernates and the strong scent of the peppermint revitalizes me.


Anne September 4, 2013 at 8:22 am

Last week I was having a problem with my right ear being plugged for a few days. I finally rubbed a drop of peppermint essential oil all around the back of my ear, down my neck and under my jaw. I went back to my busy day and about a half hour later I was stunned to notice that my ear had unplugged and has stayed that way ever since.


Andrea Butje September 4, 2013 at 9:19 am

Anne, That is great to know, thanks so much for sharing and really glad your ear is better!


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