Peppermint essential oil is a fresh, menthol oil with a strong, minty and cooling aroma.
The peppermint plant is native to Europe but nowadays the USA is the major producer of peppermint oil. The stem grows to about 3 foot high and has purple spiked flowers and serrated leaves. It is a hybrid of Watermint and Spearmint.
Peppermint oil is extracted from the whole plant above ground. The best time for extraction is just before flowering, and the fresh or partly dried plant is used for the highest yield of good quality oil.
Peppermint essential oil is cooling when hot and warming when cold. It is used to disperse heat both physically and emotionally (e.g. anger). It has a stimulating and replenishing affect, so is useful for relieving tiredness, easing tension and helping the muscles in the digestive system.
The Greek myths tell us that the nymph Mentha was pursued by Pluto, and Pluto’s wife was so jealous she trod Mentha into the ground. Pluto felt compassion for the nymph and turned her into a herb, which is how Peppermint came to be.
The Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were fond users of peppermint oil. The Romans were famed for using it on their heads before and during celebratory feast... possibly aware of its detoxifying affects!
It was in the 1750s and beyond that Peppermint has been cultivated for commercial uses.
Peppermint oil blends well with benzoin, eucalyptus, marjoram, lemon, lavender and rosemary.