A Brief Guide To Spearmint Essential Oil
Spearmint Essential Oil
For thousands of years, humankind has used this essential oil to treat wounds, to get relief from stress, to treat menstrual problems, to keep ants and flies away, and hundreds of other things. It has almost all the beneficial properties you can think of in an essential oil. Here is a quick guide on history, benefits and various uses of this essential oil and why you need to include it in your essential oil collection.
History of Spearmint Essential Oil
Spearmint is part of the Lamiaceae family. This genus of aromatic herbs contains hundreds of varieties and hybrids, and many of these have naturalized throughout North America. However, spearmint which are also known as Mentha Spicata is native to Mediterranean and in the ancient times, it was known as herb of hospitality.
In the ancient times, this herb was believed to bring peace to the soul. In fact, Aristotle said that soldiers should not use any kind of mints prior to battle as the soothing qualities of mint were believed to diminish the willingness of soldiers to fight. For thousands of years, mints have been used for their aroma as well as for repelling rodents. Steam vapor of infused mint water was used in historical times to freshen air in and sick rooms.
Herbalists used mints in bathwater and to calm nerves. Mints were also used for teeth whitening. In the Middle Ages, spearmint along with peppermint was part of the combination used for treatment of wounds due to dog bites. In the ancient times, mints were also used as a medium of exchange. Mints were also popular during the American Revolution. Spearmint used to be an important cash crop at the time of the American Revolution.
Components of Spearmint Essential Oil
It is believed to have refrigerant, stimulant, aphrodisiac, restorative, diaphoretic, refreshing, carminative, antidepressant, reviving, insecticide, diuretic, hepatic, antitoxic, febrifuge, expectorant, astringent, digestive, antipruritic, decongestant, cephalic, analgesic, antispasmodic, and antiseptic properties.
As far as the major components are concerned, the major chemical components in this essential oil include Carvone, 1,8-Cineole and Limonene. In fact, Carvone constitutes about 69.1% of spearmint oil.
Other Major components include (E)-Caryophyllene,(E)-dihydro-Carvone, (E)-?-Farnesene, (E)-?-Ocimene, (Z)-dihydro-Carvone, (Z)-Jasmone, (Z)-?-Ocimene, 1,5-di-epi-?-Bourbonene, 1,6-Dihydrocarveolit, 2,5-Diethyltetrahydrofuran, 3-Octyl acetate, Carvone, cis-Sabinene hydrate, Dihydrocarveyl acetate, Eucalyptol, Germacrene D, Limonene, Linalool, Menthol, Menthyl acetate, Myrcene, Neodihydrocarveol, Octan-3-ol, p-Cymene, Piperitone, Sabinene, Terpinen-4-ol, Terpinolene, trans-Carveol, trans-Carvyl acetate, Viridiflorol, ?-Pinene, ?-Terpinene, ?-Terpineol, ?-Thujene, ?-Bourbonene, ?-Phellandrene, ?-Pinene, and ?-Terpinene.
Safety and Precautions
The herb as well as the essential oil is likely to be safe when eaten in amounts that are commonly found in food. Also, it’s likely to be safe when taken orally in medicinal amounts or when it is applied to the skin.
Spearmint is not safe if it is used in excessive amounts by a pregnant woman. Spearmint tea might also cause damage to the uterus. This is the reason, it is not recommended to use spearmint in large amounts during pregnancy. Also, there still isn’t any reliable information available regarding effect of spearmint on breastfeeding mothers. Therefore, it is important that breastfeeding mothers should avoid using excessive amount of spearmint.
Spearmint tea may cause kidney damage as excessive amounts of spearmint tea may lead to kidney disorders. If a person is already suffering from a kidney disorder, they should stay away from spearmint tea as it may make the condition worse. Spearmint tea may also worsen an existing liver disease. Therefore, it is recommended for liver disease sufferers to stay away from excessive amounts of spearmint tea.
Some people are also allergic to plants in the mint family and it may cause inflammation of the lips though it is difficult to detect. Spearmint is also believed to have sedative effects and some animal studies have shown the neuro-depressive effect of herbs in the mint family. This is the reason, it is found to be effective in providing relief from headaches and stress. However, it also means that it may increase the effect of medications used for treatment of depression and insomnia. Therefore, if someone is taking medications for treatment of depression and insomnia, they should avoid excessive amounts of spearmint.
Common Uses of Spearmint Essential Oil
- Stress Relief
It is one of the most widely known benefits of this essential oil. As mentioned above, the essential oil as well as mint leaves have been used for thousands of years to provide relief from stress and general relaxation. The aromatic compounds in this essential oil are known to soothe nerves and provide general relief from stress.
It can be used for uplifting your spirits, boosting your immune power, normalize your metabolic functions and for promoting peaceful sleep due to its invigorating aroma. It also has a cooling effect on your brain. To use it, take a few drops of this essential oil in your diffuser or the burner and enjoy a good night’s sleep after a hard day at work.
- Prevents Growth of Pathogenic Bacteria
In Ayurvedic texts, this oil is described as an effective remedy for preventing growth of harmful microbes as well as an effective remedy for treatment of wounds and a variety of skin conditions. This oil has antispasmodic, disinfectant and antiseptic properties that help in quicker healing of wounds and also prevent the growth of harmful microbes that are generally responsible for a variety of skin issues. To take advantage of its antiseptic properties, it’s recommended to add a few drops of this essential oil to your skin lotion or skin cream to get relief from insect bites, acne, wounds, skin ulcers, athlete’s foot and itches.
- Relief from Menstrual Problems
Many people are surprised to find that this essential oil can also be used for promoting estrogen secretion in women that helps in providing relief from common menstrual problems. In most cases, menstrual problems are experienced by women due to hormonal fluctuations which is generally due to the imbalance of female hormone estrogen. Since this oil has emmenagogue and abortifacient properties, it is an effective aid for menstrual cramps, blocked menstruation as well as abdominal pains. In fact, some studies have concluded that this essential oil can be used for anti-androgenic treatment.
To use this essential oil for treatment of various menstrual problems, it is recommended to take a few drops of this essential oil along with your desired carrier oil and use it to massage muscles after exercise. This oil can also be used for treatment of various digestive disorders, providing relief from stress and fatigue, improvement in concentration, easing of abdominal pain due to menstruation issues, relaxation from contraction of muscles as well as for enhancing blood circulation.
- Treatment of Fever and Various Respiratory Disorders
Since ancient times, this oil has been used for treatment of various inflammatory conditions including fever as well as heated emotions such as irritation, rage and anger. It can be used for treatment of headache, bronchial congestion, breathing difficulties and fever. Since it has antiviral properties, it helps in preventing growth of various harmful viral organisms that are responsible for the growth of fever and flu.
To provide relief from fever, take a few drops of this essential oil along with a carrier oil and use it to massage your foot soles in order to reduce the body temperature. To get relief from headache or nausea or migraine, this essential oil should be inhaled in steam.
It also works great for treatment of indigestion. It is due to the presence of huge amount of carvone in this essential oil, which has been found to be an excellent medication for spasms and muscles. This component in the essential oil helps in soothing the muscle lining of the digestive tract which in turn helps in preventing muscle spasms.
It has been also found to be effective for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. As you may be aware, irritable bowel syndrome may cause heartburn, bloating, flatulence, constipation as well as abdominal cramps. This essential oil can be used to get relief from all of these symptoms.
- Relief from Congestion
This essential oil has been found to be highly effective for getting relief from symptoms of various respiratory issues such as bronchitis, common cold, asthma, nasal congestion, cough and sinusitis. This essential oil can be included in the natural chest rubs to provide quick relief from congestion.
It is recommended to mix of fuel oils of drops of this essential oil in a carrier oil and use the mix for massaging chest in order to get quick relief. A steam inhalant can also be prepared by adding a few drops of this oil to steaming water and inhaling that vapor to get quick relief.
- Increase in Energy Levels
As mentioned in the beginning, this essential oil has been used for ages for raising energy levels as well as for improving mental clarity. If you are used to taking caffeine to boost your energy levels and alertness, you can now use this essential oil in place of caffeine. If you want to uplift your mood, inhale it directly from the bottle to feel its effects. It is also recommended to diffuse a few drops of this essential oil in your room to enhance calmness. If you want to improve alertness and concentration, rub a few drops of essential oil under your nose and get instant effect.
- Relief from Sore Muscles
If you want to get instant relief from sore muscles, this essential oil is the best remedy. Due to its analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, it is a highly effective aid for getting relief from inflammation, pain, muscle cramps and sore muscles. To use it as a massage oil, mix a few drops of this essential oil with a carrier all of your choice and massage gently on the muscles. It will help in increasing blood circulation and provide almost instant relief from sore muscles. It can also be used on a regular basis to get relief from tired joints and muscles.
- Treatment of Wounds and Cuts
In ancient times, spearmint oil along with various other oils was used for treatment of bites, wounds and cuts, and other injuries. You can also use this essential oil for treatment of bruises, minor injuries as well as bites. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties that help in preventing the growth of bacteria and viruses. However, it is important for you to not apply undiluted essential oil on open wounds as it may lead to health issues.
It is recommended to take only a few drops of this essential oil and dilute it with a carrier oil before applying topically in order to get relief from the pain associated with open wounds and cuts. Also, a small amount of this essential oil should be used as using large amounts may lead to other kinds of health issues.
- Relief from Nausea
This essential oil can be used for getting relief from nausea and feeling of vomiting. Pregnant women commonly experience this feeling of dizziness and nausea, and this essential oil can be used for providing relief from these. This essential oil has been known to increase positive thoughts in mind and general calmness.
A number of research studies have proven that this essential oil is great for providing relief from nausea. To use it, you should take a few oil drops of this essential oil and mix it with a carrier oil, and use it in a diffuser in your room to enjoy that calming aroma.
- Relief from Flatulence
It has muscle relaxing properties that can help with flatulence. People who experience gas regularly can use this essential oil in order to pass the gases from stomach to intestine is a natural manner. To use it for getting relief from flatulence, you need to mix a few drops of this essential oil in a carrier oil and gently massage it on your stomach. It will not only provide relief from flatulence but also from a variety of other digestive issues.
- Relief from Fatigue
If you are experiencing low energy levels and are unable to concentrate, you can use this essential oil to get rid of fatigue and to boost your energy levels. Just take a few drops of this essential oil and put it in a diffuser in order to get instant increase in your energy levels.
- Oral Care
A huge number of toothpaste and other oral care products contain mint flavor which means it’s not new to you. However, it is important for you to know that this essential oil is not added to your toothpaste only to provide minty freshness. It has antiseptic properties which means it is capable of killing harmful bacteria in your mouth. If you plan to use natural products for oral care, you may consider adding this essential oil to get rid of bad breath.
- As an Insecticide
In the ancient times, this mint has also been used as a powerful insecticide to keep away flies, moths, mosquitoes as well as ants. You can also use it as an effective insecticide to keep mosquitoes away. Some of the fumigants as well as mosquito repellent creams available in the market also contain this essential oil due to this property. You can apply it directly to your skin to keep mosquitoes and flies away.
- Enhancing Blood Circulation
Needless to say, normal blood circulation is essential for good health. If your blood circulation is not normal for any reason, it can lead to a variety of health issues. You can use this essential oil to stimulate your circulation system and get the blood flowing in your body.
Many studies have confirmed the beneficial effect of this essential oil in enhancing circulation in your body. When blood is able to flow freely in your body, it also means that all parts of your body get the required nutrients and oxygen which keeps your organs and muscle function healthy.
- Skincare and Nail Care
This essential oil has antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial attributes. In simple terms, it is a highly effective skin care and nail care product. You can use it for treatment of a wide variety of skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne among others. In fact, it is widely used for treatment of some chronic skin conditions. To use it as an effective remedy, this essential oil should be added to your regular skincare routine to provide more gloss and life to your skin. It can also be used for treatment of various fungal conditions including athlete’s foot and jock itch. It will also widely used for treatment of nail fungus.
- Hair Care
This essential oil is known to be highly effective for your hair and your scalp. It is due to the antibacterial and antifungal attributes of this essential oil. You can use this essential oil for treatment of common scalp conditions such as dandruff. It has been found to be highly effective against lice due to its cooling menthol content. You can also use it for getting relief from dryness and itching.
Due to its ability to increase blood circulation, this essential oil can help in stimulating the hair follicles and enhance blood circulation in the scalp which in turn will help with strengthening your hair as well as hair growth.
- Emotional Well-Being
A wide variety of essential oils are used for emotional well-being but spearmint oil is exceedingly effective at it. This is the reason, it’s an extremely effective and popular natural remedy for people who want to get relief from stress or anxiety or even mild depression. One of the reasons for wide popularity of this essential oil is that it does not have any unwanted side effects which is common with powerful prescription medications. It can also be used for improving focus and concentration during difficult times such as a period of heavy work or examinations.
- Respiration Issues
If you are experiencing any kind of respiration issues, this essential oil can be used for getting relief. It has many useful chemical constituents including menthol that can be used for treatment of various respiratory issues such as allergies, bronchitis, asthma and cold. When you inhale this essential oil, it helps in clearing the congestion in your respiratory system and your sinuses. It has decongestant and anti-inflammatory properties which means it will help you in breathing easier.
- Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Some research studies suggest that this essential oil can also be used for treatment of various sexually transmitted diseases including syphilis and gonorrhea. This is possible due to its antimicrobial nature.
- Restorative Function
It is a highly effective restorative which means it can be used for restoring health and proper functioning of all your internal organs. Many people use it to regain strength after recovering from long bouts of illness.
Overall, the spearmint essential oil has a wide variety of uses. You can use it for treating a wide variety of skin issues, to get stress relief, for treatment of mild depression, to enhance your energy levels, to get relief from nervousness. It can also be used for getting relief from various menstrual issues and it is a highly effective massage oil for emotional well-being and to get rid of stress.
It can be used as a massage oil, you can also add it to your bath water, take it internally, apply topically or inhale it to get relief. It is extremely safe when used in the right manner but excessive use of this essential oil may lead to a variety of health issues. Therefore, it is important that you use it in small quantity in order to get the above mentioned benefits.