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Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

Peppermint

Mentha x piperita

Mint is a perennial plant of the Lamiaceae family, which with more than twenty five species (pennyroyal, spearmint, water mint), some of which are ground covers and do not exceed three centimetres (Corsican mint).
It likes a drained, fertile and cool soil. Its leaves are covered by rounded secretory hairs in which fragrant volatile substances accumulate.

 

Main aromatic molecules: Monoterpenols (menthol), monoterpenones (menthone), terpene esters, furan oxides.
Family: Lamiaceae.
Producing organs: Flowering aerial parts.
Yield: 800g to 1.2kg of essential oil per 100kg of plants.
Equivalence: 1ml → 32 drops (dosage calculated for a calibrated dropper European Pharmacopoeia).

  • Bath Bath
  • Skin application Skin application
  • Oral route Oral route

Main properties

Antibacterial, antiviral, antimycotic and anti-acarid, effective against digestive disorders (indigestion, vomiting, nausea, motion sickness, acid reflux), peppermint is also invigorating for the body and mind, antispasmodic and very analgesic. It can thus soothe various pains: headache, neuralgia, shock and trauma, tendonitis, sciatica, rheumatism, shingles, herpes. It also makes itching disappear, whatever its origin.

Find all the virtues and uses of peppermint in our dedicated article.

RECIPES

Heat
In case heatwave, pour into a full shower gel bottle 1 to 2 drops maximum of essential oil of mint.

Headaches
For use from the age of 12, place 1 drop of peppermint essential oil diluted in 1 drop of jojoba vegetable oil on the temples (away from the eyes) and the frontal sinuses. 3 to 4 times a day, in case of pain.

Digestive disorders
Place 1 to 2 drops of essential oil of mint on a sugar lump or in a teaspoon of honey. Swallow after the meals or in case of "blocked" stomach and ballooning. From 15 years+

Itching
Massage the entire irritated area with a mixture of 1 drop of peppermint essential oil diluted in 10 drops of St. John's wort vegetable oil (or sweet almond oil in case of sun exposure). Use 3 times a day, for 3 to 4 days.

Find all the peppermint recipes in our
dedicated article.

CULTIVATION AND PRODUCTION

The various mints are cultivated throughout the world, especially in India, Morocco (Mentha viridis), Europe and North America. Peppermint needs sixteen hours of daylight to flower. The market of essential oil of mint is one of the biggest in the world and the United States are the first producer. France produces little, however the quality is remarkable.

FRAGRANCE

Peppermint is principally used in the perfume industry, where menthol bestows a very strong odour and a well known "ice cube effect". "Curly" mint (Mentha viridis) has a clearly more herbal plant odour.

EXTRACTION AND YIELD

Good quality leaves of Mentha piperata for aromatherapy contain more than nine millilitres of essential oil per dry kilogram. The yield of the distillation of a hundred kilograms of leaves and flowering tops varies considerably depending on the mints and places: between two hundred grams and two kilograms of essential oil. The yield for peppermint is of 0.8% to 1.2%, i.e. eight hundred grams to a twelve hundred grams of essential oil per hundred kilograms of fresh plant.

CHEMICAL FORMULA

The chemical composition of Mentha piperata strongly varies depending on the soil and the time of harvest. Essential oil of peppermint is mainly composed of menthol (30% to 40%), menthone (20% to 65%), esters, coumarins and sulphur compounds.

Precautions for use

Do not take a bath with essential oil of mint unless it is diluted in a carrier oil, milk or neutral base for the bath. For cooking, one drop of essential oil is enough to perfume a dish for five to six persons.

Do not use in: pregnant or breast-feeding women, children under the age of seven years (menthol, ketones), persons allergic to one of the components, subjects with asthma without the advice of an allergologist before the first use, subjects with epilepsy.

RELATED SPECIES

Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Field mint (Mentha arvensis var.piperascens), Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), Bergamot mint (Mentha x citrata), Horse or wild mint (Mentha longifolia). Do not diffuse this essential oil over long periods.

The history of mint goes back to a domestic dispute in Olympus. Hera was furious to see that Zeus, her wayward husband, was holding the nymph Minthe too closely and transformed her rival into a wild plant, however she forgot to deprive her of her fresh and tempting fragrance. Hippocrates and Aristotle mistakenly believed that the plant was an aphrodisiac since it was born from a lascivious nymph. In reality it is only a tonic and a stimulant. Mint leaves have been found in sarcophaguses in Egypt and it is mentioned as a remedy for stomach pains in the Ebers Papyrus, the oldest known medical treatise. Five centuries B.C. it was prescribed in Babylon to relief abdominal pains, and today it plays an important role in the food industry. Romans perfumed their wine with it, in the same manner as tea is flavoured in the Arab world. A friend of clear thoughts and logic, it played a stimulant role for students to whom Pliny recommended to wear and braided mint crown on the head.

AROMATHERAPIA

Extracts from the book 'Aromatherapia - All about essential oils', by Isabelle Pacchioni, watercolors by Patrick MORIN, Aroma Thera Editions . Extracts from the book '41 essential oils essential for treating yourself differently' and '48 essential oils which every home needs to be healthy' by Isabelle Delaleu and Isabelle Pacchioni, Publications of the Mandadori France group. Botanical illustrations by Agathe Haevermans.

The properties, benefits and method of use are given for information; they cannot in any case constitute or replace medical information that only health professionals can provide. For any use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, please consult your GP or pharmacist.
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