Mint aromatherapy oil is used in both the practice of traditional aromatherapy as well as an ingredient in bath and beauty products. While there are many different varieties of mint, it is the essential oil of peppermint that is most commonly used as an aromatherapy oil. Aromatherapists often use peppermint oil to treat a variety of symptoms and illnesses, including digestive complaints, respiratory and sinus problems, headaches, stress, and soreness.
Peppermint's scientific name is mentha piperita , and it is a perennial plant. It is also one of about 20 different types of mint, and is used as a flavoring agent as well as the most common type of mint aromatherapy oil. Essential oil of peppermint is produced via steam distillation of the plant's leaves and stems. Different experts on herbal aromatherapy have, over the years, ascribed several different healing properties to the oil. Mint aromatherapy oil has been said to be good for, among other things, colic, exhaustion, vertigo, aching feet, toothache, and nausea.
Aromatherapy is a healing art that uses the essential oils of plants to treat various medical and emotional conditions or to compliment other traditional therapies. Practitioners of holistic aromatherapy work with clients to determine what oil or oils are best suited to their condition.
Oils are used in aromatherapy in several different ways. Small amounts of the essential oil may be added to a plain carrier oil, such as almond oil or peach kernel oil, to be used in massage. An aromatherapy client may be instructed to inhale the oil by adding it to his bathwater, placing a drop on a handkerchief and giving it a good sniff periodically, or by using an aromatherapy diffuser. It is against the principles of safe aromatherapy to recommend that a client take an oil by mouth, unless instructed to do so by a practitioner who has been specially trained in this practice.
Users should be cautious when working with mint aromatherapy oil. As is true with all aromatherapy herbs, individuals may be allergic or sensitive to peppermint, which could cause a negative reaction. Peppermint oil can be irritating to skin and mucus membranes — the oil should be diluted in a carrier oil prior to rubbing it on the body. While the oil is traditionally used to treat digestive complaints, it can actually worsen some conditions, including ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disorder. Peppermint essential oil should be avoided during pregnancy as it has traditionally been used to stimulate menstrual flow. Finally, peppermint oil can interact with some prescription medications: Those who are taking medications should speak with their doctor and a qualified aromatherapist prior to using an essential oil as a complimentary treatment.