Mint Essential Oils: Similarities and Differences

Mint Essential Oil Set

Mints have been used throughout history to address pain, fever, digestive issues, and congestion. Spearmint was used by ancient Greeks in their bath water. The Romans introduced spearmint to Britain where it was used to prevent milk from curdling. In medieval times, it was widely used in oral hygiene to heal sore gums and whitening teeth. Mint was used in China 4,000 years ago. In the Mediterranean, it was often used to soothe, cool, and relax hot tired feet. The aromatic part of the mint plant resides in microscopic glands or pockets which hold the essential oil. The essential oil is released when either pressurized (squeezed or pressed) or heated such as in the steam distillation process.

We offer the following three mint essential oils at Pompeii Street: Bergamot Mint (Mentha citrata), Spearmint (Mentha spicata) and Peppermint (Mentha x piperita). All three provide a cooling effect to the skin, deodorize, and relieve muscle aches and pains when applied topically with a carrier oil. Each of our mint oils is steam distilled using the top leaves of the plants.They all have a 4-5 year shelf life when stored properly. So what are the differences?

Chemistry Best Uses

Safety

Bergamot Mint linalyl acetate (27.72 - 64.07%)
linalol (15.53 - 43.91%)
Skin care
Sleep Support
Calming to Anxiety
No safety concerns when properly diluted
Spearmint carvone (57.61 - 65.10%)
limonene (16.11 - 21.81%)
Fungal issues
Muscle Aches
Deodorizing
No safety concerns when properly diluted


Peppermint
menthol (31.23 - 41.27%)
menthone (23.38 - 27.77%)
Nausea, Headaches, Mental Alerntness and focus, pain numbing
Due to the menthol content, peppermint should be used topically at a low dilution, less than 1%. A safe start is 1 drop to 1 Tablespoon of unscented lotion or carrier oil. Do not use peppermint near young children. Avoid use while pregnant or breast feeding.


The above percentages are sourced from Pompeii Organics and Pompeii Street Aromatherapy batches dated 2013 through 2020 and are not meant to represent industry standards.

Here is a helpful infographic with the batch specific chemistry (June 2020)

Minty Essential Oil Chemistry

Each one offers many therapeutic actions though there are differences amount them which should be considered for proper application. Here is more information about each oil:

BERGAMOT MINT (Mentha citrata)

Key constituents: Linalyl acetate and linalol

The aroma is fresh and minty with hints of citrus. Bergamot mint is very calming to the nervous system as well as uplifting and restorative.

It is recommended to be used for respiratory support, clearing mucous and congestion, soothe sore, tight muscles, support digestion, and ease nausea.

Provides motivation and inspiration

Great for bedtime blends with it’s sedative and calming actions.

Recipes and Blends with Bergamot Mint 

Stress and Anxiety Massage Oil

8 drops Bergamot Mint

4 drops Lavender

Add to 1 oz of unscented lotion or carrier oil and massage around neck and shoulders.

Stress and Anxiety Diffuser Blend

Add the following to an ultrasonic diffuser:

3 drops Bergamot Mint

2 drops Lavender

Nausea, Motion Sickness, Nervous stomach, simply place one drop of Bergamot Mint in a tissue and inhale deeply.

SPEARMINT (mentha spicata)

The aroma is fresh, minty, herbaceous and sweet; warmer and softer than peppermint.

Key Constituents: Carvone, Limonene

Spearmint has a much lower menthol content than peppermint which makes it a better option to use around children. It is also a safer oil during pregnancy and with elderly. There are no safety concerns with using spearmint in that it is shown to be non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitivity.

Therapeutic properties of spearmint are: antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-fungal, astringent, immune stimulant, antiseptic, and decongestant. 

It is cooling and is a popular choice in addressing indigestion, colic, feverish illnesses, and many childhood ailments. It is also effective for use with muscle spasms, minor pain and inflammation. Spearmint is found in many of our current oral hygiene products.

On an emotional level, spearmint is uplifting, reduces mental strain, fatigue, stress, and depression. Spearmint is also quite effective in addressing minor skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, and congested skin.

Recipes and Blends with Spearmint

Infant Colic Belly Oil

2 drops German Chamomile

3 drops Lavender

3 drops Cardamom

3 drops Ginger

3 drops Spearmint

Add oils to 1 ounce of Organic Jojoba oil and apply to abdomen and lower back.

Facial Steam

Add just 1 drop of Spearmint oil to a small mug or bowl of hot water. Place a towel over your head to capture the vapors. Close your eyes and breathe deeply to cleanse congested skin, kill bacteria and combat acne issues.


PEPPERMINT (Mentha x piperita)

Main Constituents: Menthol (19.0-54.2%) and Menthone (8.0-31.69%). Menthol is responsible for peppermint’s cooling effect, some describing an “icy-hot” effect with Peppermint.

The aroma of peppermint is fresh, bright, and penetrating. Think of candy canes.

Therapeutic properties include antiseptic, antibiotic, anti-infectious, antispasmodic, stomachic (stimulates digestion and appetite), depurative (purifying and detoxifying), stimulant, expectorant, analgesic, decongestant.

Valuable uses include: headaches, nausea, fatigue, apathy, coughs, digestive issues, bowel disorders, flatulence, muscular pain, sinus congestion, shock, faintness, motion sickness, mouth (gum infections) mental fatigue, poor circulation, insect repellent, itch relief from bug bites, stings, and rashes. Also a great addition to natural cleaning products!

Peppermint blends well with sweet basil, pines, lemon, geranium, rosemary, tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, grapefruit, juniper, cypress, and black pepper to name a few.

Safety of Peppermint

Because of the high menthol content in peppermint, it is a skin irritant. For topical use, apply at a low dilution (1% maximum). A good dilution to start with is (approximately 0.5%) just 1 drop for every Tablespoon of carrier lotion or oil, or just 2 drops peppermint per fluid ounce of carrier). The maximum dilution for children is 0.5%. Do not use near the nose in children under the age of 10. Do not use during pregnancy or while breast feeding. Avoid use in cardiac fibrillation.

Do not use with homeopathic remedies. Peppermint is not recommended for use in the bathtub.

Recipes and Blends with Peppermint

A simple inhalation of peppermint can help to ease digestion and relieve a headache at the same time. 

Foot Soak for Hot, Tired Aching feet

2-3 drops Peppermint

1 oz Whole Milk

½ cup Epsom or Dead Sea Salts (optional)

Add to a small basin of cool water. Soak and relax.

Refreshing and Energizing Diffuser Blend

2 drops Scotch Pine

2 drops Peppermint

1 drop Eucalyptus Radiata (or Globulus)

Add the oils to an ultrasonic diffuser 

Sinus Opening Steam Inhalation

5 drops Peppermint

4 drops Eucalyptus Radiata (or Globulus)

3 drops Lavender

Blend oils first in a 5 ml stock bottle with dropper, then add just 1 drop of the blend to a mug or small bowl of hot water. Place a towel over your head and lean over to capture the vapors. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. This same blend can be used in an ultrasonic diffuser.

Sources:

Battaglia, S. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 2nd Edition. International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, 2003.

Butje, A. The Heart of Aromatherapy: An Easy-to-use Guide for Essential Oils. United States: Hay House, 2017.

Curtis, S. and Johnson, F. Essential Oils: All Natural Remedies and Recipes for your Mind, Body and Home. United Kingdom, Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2016.

Ferry-Swainson, K. The Herb Library: Mint. United States: Tuttle Publishing, 2000.

Rhind J. Essential Oils: A Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice. 2nd Edition. United States: Singing Dragon, 2012.

Tisserand R. and Young R. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. 2nd Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2013.

Worwood, Valerie Ann and Susan. Essential Aromatherapy: A Pocket Guide to Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. United States: New World Library, 2003.

 

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult a licensed healthcare professional before administering essential oils.


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