Peppermint oil is strong, too strong for some people. It may induce skin irritations and other side effects. If you’re looking for a safer mint oil, look to peppermint’s cousin: spearmint (Mentha spicata), also known by names such as the common or garden spearmint, green mint, fish mint, or our lady’s mint.1
This herb is known for its distinct aroma. It is also a favorite in the culinary world, added to dishes and beverages or used as a garnish. The spearmint herb is steam-distilled to produce the essential oil and in this form it can provide a number of important health benefits.
What Is Spearmint Oil?
There are many who believe that peppermint oil is just too strong and use spearmint oil instead. Mixing the two is another popular option.2 No matter your sensitivity, Spearmint essential oil is the gentler than peppermint oil, especially for children. Although the oils possess similar properties, spearmint contains lower amounts of menthol compared to peppermint oil.
The use of spearmint oil dates back to ancient times. This perennial herb originated from the Mediterranean region. In Ayurvedic medicine, it was used to treat digestive conditions, skin problems, and headaches.3 The historical record shows that it was used extensively ancient Greece. It was added to baths and used to treat sexually transmitted diseases, whiten teeth, and heal mouth sores.
Uses of Spearmint Oil
The uses of spearmint oil extend beyond the kitchen and the medicine cabinet. For instance, it can also be used to help the mind relax or to instill positive emotions. I have compiled a list of spearmint oil’s specific uses below:6 , 7, 8, 9
- Aromatherapy oil: Because of its menthol content, spearmint oil is often used in aromatherapy to help treat fatigue, headaches, migraines, nervousness, and even digestive problems.
- Food ingredient – Oil of spearmint is sometimes added to baked goods, frozen dairy, meats, beverages, and chewing gum. 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 herbs like jasmine, lavender, bergamot, and sandalwood.
- Ingredient in pharmaceutical products – It is often added to tooth powders, gargles, and toothpastes.
- Disinfectant – Spearmint oil can be used to treat internal and external infections, including scabies, dermatitis, syphilis, and other transmittable conditions.
- Bath oil – When added to bath water, spearmint oil can induce relaxation and can cool you off by reducing your body temperature.
- Massage oil – With its antispasmodic properties, spearmint oil can help relieve muscle pain and even abdominal pain due to menstruation.
- Insecticide – This oil can ward off mosquitoes and other insects. It is often added to insect repellents, creams, mats, and fumigants.