Essential oils are the essence of a plant. They are extracted from different parts of the plant, including the roots, seeds, bark, leaves, and flowers. They give plants their unique scent. Oils attract some insects like bees that will aid pollination, and they repel other insects and predators that threaten the plant’s survival. The oils also protect the plant from disease, and from competing plants.
Essential oils were first used by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians as natural medicines, cosmetics, and in healing rituals, and extraction methods were very basic. By the early 1900’s, there was better knowledge of essential oils and how active compounds could be extracted from plants and used in some of the medicines we are familiar with today.
Today, essential oils are widely used in cosmetics, perfumes, soaps, baked goods, confectionery, and in some medicines. They are increasingly in popularity as people look to more natural solutions for their health concerns. Essential oils don’t tend to have the side effects or the price tag of conventional medicines, but that is not to say that they won’t potentially cause problems if they are used incorrectly. Essential oils contain active compounds that can behave like drugs in the body, and this means that they can interact with medicines you are already taking. THe bottom line? Speak to your doctor before you try them.
- 1 How Can You Use Essential Oils?
- 2 Aromatically
- 3 Topically
- 4 Internally
- 5 All About Spearmint Essential Oil
- 6 Uses of Spearmint Oil
- 7 As an Aromatherapy Oil
- 8 Food
- 9 Fragrance
- 10 Ingredient in Medicinal Products
- 11 Bath Oil
- 12 Massage Oil
- 13 Insecticide
- 14 Benefits of Spearmint Oil
- 15 It Can Heal Wounds and Prevent Infection
- 16 It’s a Potent Disinfectant
- 17 It Can Help to Relax Muscle Spasms
- 18 It Helps to Get Rid of Excess Gas from the Digestive System
- 19 It Can Cure Headaches and Stress Related Problems in the Brain
- 20 It Can Treat Menstrual Problems
- 21 It’s a Potent Stimulant
- 22 It’s Good for Respiratory Health
- 23 Ideas for Using Spearmint Oil
- 24 Inhalation
- 25 Add It to Your Bath
- 26 Massage Oil
- 27 Topical Application
- 28 Internal Use
- 29 Is spearmint oil safe?
- 30 Side Effects of Spearmint Oil
- 31 Curb Cravings
- 32 Head Massage Blend
- 33 Motion Sickness Blend
- 34 Soothing Spearmint and Chamomile Tea
- 35 Spearmint Air Freshener
How Can You Use Essential Oils?
Inhaling essential oils is a very effective way to use them as the smell receptors in the nose can carry the droplets to the limbic system of the brain, which governs emotion and mood. This is why oils are often so effective for boosting the mood or creating a calming effect. The oils are also absorbed into the body once they enter the lungs.
To get the powerful effects of oils, you can either add some oil to a diffuser, or inhale them from the palm of your hand, from a handkerchief, or directly from the bottle. You can also add some oils to your laundry, or mix oil with water in a spray bottle to create a room spritz or household cleaner.
Essential oils have very small particles so they are absorbed very easily into the body. Massage helps to increase the circulation and this too aids absorption. Always dilute an oil before using it on the skin though, and do a patch test on the skin of your upper arm to check for sensitivity. Dilute the oil at a ratio of 1 drop of oil to 3 drops of a suitable carrier oil. Start with a small amount of oil as a little goes a long way, and discontinue use if there is any irritation at all. As well as massage, you can add some oil to your bath, add it to a hot or cold compress, or to your favourite body lotion. Avoid the eyes, ears, genitals, and any areas of sensitive or broken skin.
Some oils have been used in cooking for many years, and many are available as supplements. Essential oils give food flavour and an aroma, but they also add plenty of health benefits. Essential oils in supplement form are a very potent and concentrated way of obtaining their health-giving properties. Ingestion of oils will ensure they are rapidly transported to all areas of the body to provide systemic benefits. Ideally, ingestion of oils should be done under the supervision of a qualified practitioner, and you should always follow guidelines on dosage and usage of oils. You can generally use oils quite safely in cooking to replace dried herbs, but remember, a little goes a long way. You can also add them to water, smoothies, milk, and tea.
All About Spearmint Essential Oil
If peppermint oil is too strong for you, or you find that it irritates your skin, what about trying a gentler and altogether safer oil?
What about spearmint oil? Spearmint is peppermint oil’s cousin and it’s also known as common or garden spearmint, green mint, fish mint, or our lady’s mint.
Spearmint has a very distinctive aroma. It is used widely in cooking and is often used as a garnish. This herb is known for its distinct aroma. The spearmint herb is put through a steam distillation process to produce the essential oil, which provides many health benefits. Spearmint oil has a pale yellow or pale olive colour, as well as a fresh, herbaceous, cool scent.
Spearmint oil is gentle enough for use on children, and it contains less menthol than peppermint, which explains why it’s gentler.
The use of spearmint oil dates back thousands of years. The herb originated in the Mediterranean region, but it was widely used in Ayurvedic medicine, to help treat digestive conditions, skin problems, and headaches. It was also used by the ancient Greeks to treat sexually transmitted diseases, to whiten teeth, and to heal oral sores.
Today, the oil is still used to treat many health concerns including digestive problems, menstrual disorders, and nausea.
Uses of Spearmint Oil
As an Aromatherapy Oil
Its menthol content means that is often used in aromatherapy to boost energy, get rid of headaches and migraines, calm anxiety, and soothe digestive problems.
The oil is sometimes added to baked goods, frozen dairy products, meats, beverages, and chewing gum.
Spearmint essential oil is often added to certain types of perfume. It complements herbs like jasmine, lavender, bergamot, and sandalwood.
Ingredient in Medicinal Products
The oil is often added to mouthwashes, gargles, and toothpastes.
When added to bath water, spearmint oil can promote relaxation and can cool you down by reducing your body temperature.
Its antispasmodic properties mean that spearmint oil can help to relieve muscle pain and abdominal pain related to menstruation.
The oil can deter mosquitoes and other insects. It is often added to insect repellents and creams.
Benefits of Spearmint Oil
The health benefits of Spearmint Essential Oil are due to its properties as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, and stimulating substance.
The oil is extracted by steam distillation of the flowers of the spearmint plant, scientifically known as Mentha Spicata. The main active compounds of the oil are Alpha Pinene, Beta Pinene, Carvone, Cineole, Caryophyllene, Linalool, Limonene, Menthol and Myrcene.
Although it has a similar scent to peppermint, it has far less menthol. Though it is used as a substitute for peppermint, and the medicinal properties and active compounds are similar.
According to a study, spearmint oil’s antimicrobial properties come from the active compounds cis-carveol and carvone.
In other studies, it also demonstrated effectiveness against bacterial infections such as Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
Because of these properties, spearmint oil can provide the following benefits:
It Can Heal Wounds and Prevent Infection
Because spearmint oil has antiseptic properties due to the fact it contains menthol, myrcene, and caryophyllene, it can prevent wounds and ulcers from becoming infected and can help them heal faster.
It’s a Potent Disinfectant
The antibacterial, antifungal, l and antiviral properties of spearmint oil make it an effective disinfectant. It can help to get rid of both internal and external infections. It is effective in healing internal wounds and ulcers, like those in the stomach, oesophagus, and intestines. In ancient Greece, it was used to treat many different infectious diseases like scabies, dermatitis, athlete’s foot, and some sexually transmitted infections.
It Can Help to Relax Muscle Spasms
This antispasmodic properties of spearmint essential oil comes from its menthol content. The menthol has a relaxing and cooling effect on the muscles and nerves, so it helps to relieve spasms and cramps. It can also help to soothe coughs and it can ease convulsions.
It Helps to Get Rid of Excess Gas from the Digestive System
The relaxing properties of spearmint essential oil promote relaxation of the intestines and muscles of the abdomen, which helps any excess or trapped gas to pass out of the body naturally. This
It Can Cure Headaches and Stress Related Problems in the Brain
The oil has a relaxing and soothing effect on the brain, which removes stress. It can treat stress headaches and is excellent for the overall health and protection of the brain and its tissues.
It Can Treat Menstrual Problems
The oil can treat menstrual problems, such as irregular periods and early menopause as it promotes the secretion of estrogen, which provokes menstruation and ensures the normal functioning of the reproductive system and normal sexual health. It can also relieve the symptoms of PMS such as nausea, fatigue, and cramping.
It’s a Potent Stimulant
Spearmint oil can stimulate nerve function and the circulation. It also stimulates the secretion of hormones and the normal function of enzymes, gastric juices, and bile. This keeps the metabolism healthy and active, and it also boosts the strength of the immune system, because the stronger the circulation hastens the removal of toxins from the body.
It’s Good for Respiratory Health
Spearmint oil can relieve common respiratory problems, such as colds, nasal congestion, asthma, and flu.
Ideas for Using Spearmint Oil
Spearmint essential oil can be used in a number of ways:
Compared with peppermint oil, spearmint oil is much gentler and can even be used on children. A few drops can help to treat respiratory problems and stress. Diffuse it in your home to promote focus and lift your mood.
Add It to Your Bath
Add 2-3 drops to your bath water to help relieve fatigue, fever, and muscle pain.
By mixing spearmint oil with carrier oils like almond oil or evening primrose oil, and applying it to the skin to ease aches and pains, menstrual pain, and muscle spasms.
Add a few drops of the oil to your skincare products and it can help to treat itching, athlete’s foot, dermatitis, insect bites, and other skin problems.
Ingesting spearmint oil can help to treat digestive problems. You should always seek advice from a suitably qualified person before taking any oil internally though.
Add a drop or two to desserts, drinks, or salads, for flavour and to promote digestion. For occasional stomach upsets, add 1–2 drops to water and drink the mixture slowly.
Apply a drop to your toothbrush before brushing your teeth for healthy gums and fresh breath.
Is spearmint oil safe?
Like all other essential oils, using spearmint oil undiluted can cause skin sensitivities. It should always be blended with carrier oils like olive oil, almond oil, and coconut oil. Using it topically without any carrier oil may cause skin irritations, burning, and photosensitivity. To check if you have sensitivity to any herbal oils, apply a drop to a small area of the skin on your upper arm and see if there are any adverse effects. If you have sensitive skin, it might be sensible to avoid using essential oils altogether, or to consult a professional before use.
Despite the potential for skin irritation, spearmint oil can be used to stimulate the mucous membranes in the digestive, respiratory, and urinary tracts. Spearmint oil has been rated as being generally safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, it should never be ingested without the advice of a qualified and experienced aromatherapy practitioner.
Pregnant women should avoid using spearmint oil, as it promotes the secretion of oestrogen and this can potentially increase the possibility of miscarriage. It is gentler than peppermint oil however and it can be used on children to benefit digestive health. Always consult a doctor first however.
Side Effects of Spearmint Oil
Overexposure to herbal oils via inhalation can cause headaches, skin irritations, nausea, light-headedness, and even emotional disturbances. Always seek advice from a professional before using herbal oils even though they are naturally derived.
Spearmint oil DIY recipes
To curb cravings for sweet treats, put 3 drops Grapefruit oil, 3 drops Lemon oil, 1 drop Spearmint oil and 1 drop Ylang Ylang essential oils in a diffuser.
To make your own mint toothpaste, mix 3 tbsps. coconut oil, 3 tbsps. baking soda, and 5-10 drops each of peppermint and spearmint essential oils.
To make a breath freshening mouth rinse, add 4 drops of spearmint oil, 2 drops of orange oil and 2 drops of cinnamon bark essential oil to either 4 oz of water or 2 tbsps. of coconut oil, then swish it around your mouth after brushing.
Head Massage Blend
- 1 drop of spearmint oil
- 1 drop of Roman chamomile essential oil
- 2 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 2 drops of lavender essential oil
- 4 drops of Helichrysum essential oil
- 1 tablespoon of sweet almond oil
In a clean glass bottle, add your carrier oil followed by the spearmint, Roman chamomile, peppermint, lavender, and Helichrysum essential oils, and shake the mixture to blend. Apply a small amount of the mixture to your chest, back of neck, temples, and face. Breathe deeply as you massage it in, and avoid the eyes area. Remember to do a patch test on the upper arm before topical application.
Stomach Flu Relief Blend
- 1 drop of spearmint oil
- 1 drop of peppermint essential oil
- 2 drops of lavender essential oil
- 4 drops of ginger essential oil
- 8 drops of vegetable oil
In a clean, dark-coloured glass bottle, add your carrier oil followed by the spearmint, peppermint, lavender, and ginger essential oils. You can directly inhale or diffuse the blend. Use the blend to massage the abdomen, but do a patch test prior to topical application.
Motion Sickness Blend
- 2 drops of spearmint essential oil
- 4 drops of carrier oil
In a clean, dark-coloured glass bottle, mix the carrier and spearmint oils. Use the mixture to massage behind your ears. Alternatively, you can inhale the blend directly from the bottle. Do a patch test on the skin before topical application.
Soothing Spearmint and Chamomile Tea
- 2 tablespoons of dried spearmint leaves
- 2 tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers
- 2 cups of water
Boil the cups of water, and then add the spearmint leaves and chamomile flowers. Allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes, then strain and sip it. The spearmint’s soothing fragrance and the antispasmodic qualities of chamomile are very effective for alleviating nausea and other digestive ills.
Spearmint Air Freshener
- 10 drops of spearmint oil
- Baking soda
In a clean ceramic bowl, add the 10 drops of spearmint oil and baking soda, and stir well. Place the bowl in a strategic location, such as your bathroom, for a refreshing aroma. Top it up with more spearmint oil over time when the fragrance starts to disappear.
Spearmint essential oil has proven to be a very useful oil, and it provides many benefits. While there are some safety concerns, as there are with many oils, it is still one of the most gentle and uplifting oils to use.