What Is Spearmint Oil?
The use of spearmint dates back to ancient times. This perennial herb originated from the Mediterranean region.3 Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman physicians were said to have used it for centuries. It was mentioned by Pliny, the Roman herbalist, in 41 different potions, highlighting its potential as a restorative and for improving digestion.4
In modern times, both the essential oil and the herb itself are widely used as a cure for digestive discomforts like gas and indigestion, as well as for alleviating nausea, cramps and pain.5
Spearmint oil is extracted from the leaves, as well as the flowering tops6 of the spearmint plant. Like other mint family members, it can be identified through its square-shaped stem. The leaves measure 1.5 to 3 centimeters wide (about one-half inch to just over 1 inch) and 5 to 9 centimeters (about 2 inches to 3.5 inches) long. They have pointy tips, just like spears — hence the name.7
There are many who believe that peppermint oil is just too strong and use spearmint oil instead. Although the two oils possess similar properties, spearmint contains lower amounts of menthol compared to peppermint oil.8 No matter your sensitivity, spearmint essential oil is gentler than peppermint oil, especially for children.9
Uses of Spearmint Oil
The uses of spearmint oil extend beyond the kitchen and the medicine cabinet. For instance, it can be used to help the mind relax or to instill positive emotions. The rejuvenating fragrance is said to help clean the body emotionally and mentally.10 I have compiled a list of spearmint oil’s potential uses below:
- Aromatherapy oil — Because of its menthol content, spearmint oil is often used in aromatherapy to help ease fatigue, headaches, migraines, nervousness and even digestive problems.11
- Food ingredient — The oil of spearmint is sometimes added to baked goods, frozen dairy, meats, beverages and candy.12 Note, however, that you are better off consuming whole, raw foods than these processed ones.
- Fragrance — This essential oil is added to certain types of perfume. It is commonly mixed with other herbal oils like jasmine and lavender.13
- Ingredient in dental care products — It is often added to gargles and toothpastes.14
- Pest and insect repellent — This oil can ward off insects like mosquitoes, as well as mice and other rodents.15