Spearmint Essential Oil is one of the most commonly known essential oils thanks to its extensive use in the food and drink industry. Most people tend not to think of it beyond toothpaste but there is a lot of therapeutic value to the oil. In fact, spearmint benefits us in ways that may surprise you.
Spearmint Essential Oil is a pale yellow oil that is thin and fluid that obtained from steam distillation of the dried tops and leaves of the garden mint herb. There are several varieties that are all usable so don’t be surprised if the INCI has different names.
The INCI of Spearmint Essential Oil is usually Mentha Spicata Oil but you may also see other names like Mentha Viridis Oil. INCI stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients whereby ingredients used in cosmetics are identified and categorised. It is widely adhered to in the EU where the CosIng website gives free information.
It’s original function was so that, if you knew you were allergic to a certain product such as peanut oil, that oils could be called several different things locally in different countries. By using the INCI, there is only one name for that ingredient and if you see it on the label of the product you are looking at, you would know that it contains that ingredient and you wouldn’t buy it.
What’s The History of Spearmint Essential Oil?
This goes back for centuries. Possibly the oldest recorded use is from Ancient Greece where the fresh herb was used to clean the teeth as a paste. There was a fashion in the era to scent different parts of your body with different herbs by rubbing the herbs in. The “correct” place to apply Spearmint was on the arms. You know what fashions are like now? Well it seems we haven’t changed too much in thousands of years of all wanting to be doing the latest thing.
The Bible mentions it as a high value herb. The spearmint plant was spread from Rome to the rest of Europe by the Ancient Romans. Growing spearmint was easy as it can be quite invasive and does not need lots of cultivation to survive.
In Medieval times, macerated spearmint was often added to milk as it seemed to stop it curdling and going sour a few days longer than normal. This was in the days before refrigeration, of course.
Spearmint tea has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to treat digestive disorders and headaches.
Chemical Profile & Adverse Effects
Spearmint Oil contains 1,8-cineole (Eucalyptol) which is why it helps to clear chest congestion and help you to breathe deeper. It also contains Alpha Pinene which is what helps to give the oil such a strong, sweet fragrance.
The pulegone and eugenol content are why it is stated that you should not use it during pregnancy or if you are trying to conceive.
If you use way too much (which you should never do with any essential oil), it can irritate the mucous membranes.
The other adverse effect is if you take homeopathic remedies, Spearmint Essential Oil may antidote the remedy. Peppermint Essential Oil is more likely to do that but there is still a chance with Spearmint Oil.
Therapeutic Use Of Spearmint Essential Oil
Spearmint Essential Oil uses are numerous. It really soothes itchy skin and can take the heat out of a hot, irritated rash on the skin. This makes it useful for dermatitis problems as well as eczema, especially itchy eczema.
Acneic skin responds well to spearmint oil as it is antiseptic and antimicrobial. Research tests showed it inhibited a lot of frequently encountered bacterium.
It helps to clear congested skin and can be used in toners as well as gel and cream based products.
Using it in an aromatherapy diffuser cleanses the air in a room and is calming. This is a good one here;
Many parents know that a few drops of spearmint oil for sleep helps to get the children settled down for the night.
It is frequently used in sports gels and massage lotions for pre gym warmup as well as post workout. If it comes to a decision between spearmint vs peppermint, why not combine both? Peppermint essential oil is more cooling because spearmint contains less menthol, but they both work well together.
Foot creams and foot gels are a great place to use Spearmint Essential Oil as it is cooling and antifungal. That’s going to help clear up athlete’s foot between the toes. It’s also wonderfully refreshing if you get hot or sweaty feet.
Despite it being used to help with sleep, it can be uplifting as well. A few fresh leaves in a mug of boiling water makes a great spearmint tea. That can clear your mind and perk you up as well as help improve your digestion. If you have overindulged in a meal, a cup of spearmint tea will settle things down.
Researchers in Turkey found that Spearmint Tea may help to control excessive hair growth in women. You can read more about that here.
If you have got an itchy scalp, add a few drops of Spearmint Essential oil to your shampoo. It will take away the itch. If you have just had a new weave put in and your scalp is tight and itchy, spray some spearmint toner onto your scalp to soothe the situation.
It’s gained popularity in European spas for body wraps as it is a diuretic that helps to detox the body.
Esoteric Aspects and the 7 Chakras
My 8 years of training in clinical aromatherapy included a lot of chemistry and scientific research as I worked for UCLH which is a major teaching hospital in London.
However, my training was holistic and brought in herbalism and the esoteric aspects which I really resonated with. If you work with the chakras, Spearmint Essential Oil resonates with;
4th Chakra / Heart Chakra – this is about emotional healing, good mental health and unconditional love
5th Chakra / Throat Chakra – this is about voicing your personal truth and being creative
6th Chakra / Third Eye Chakra – this is about self learning apart from the physical world
Just a reminder not to use aromatherapy oils undiluted. Always dilute them with a vegetable oil and use just a few drops to start with. Always read up first to check for contraindications and use safely.
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