Health Benefits Of Peppermint

What is peppermint?

Peppermint is a herb that is obtained through a cross between two types of mint (watermint and spearmint) which grows throughout Europe and North America. Both peppermint leaves and essential oil extracted from peppermint have beneficial effects on health and can be used for many purposes. Peppermint oil is extracted from the flower and leaves of the peppermint plant. Essential oils are highly concentrated oils that contain substances that give plants their unique smell and taste. In addition, peppermint is a common flavouring component in foods and beverages and its oil is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics.

It is known that peppermint has been used for health purposes for thousands of years. According to ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian records, it was used for indigestion and health issues. Nowadays, peppermint is regularly used for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive problems. As well as colds, sinus infections, headaches, and other conditions. It is advertised for topical use (applied to the skin) for problems like headaches, muscle aches, joint pain, and itching. In aromatherapy, peppermint oil is used to help with coughs and colds, as a painkiller and for reducing stress. 

Health benefits of peppermint

Peppermint may be associated with health benefits such as improved digestion, improved concentration, and relief from migraines. Peppermint is available over the counter in teas, capsules, or extracts. Peppermint oil comes in capsules and liquid form. It may be used directly on the skin or taken by mouth. As it's very concentrated, make sure to dilute it or use just a few drops. Ingesting a large amount of oil at once can be toxic. 

Regardless, you can easily add mint to green salads, desserts, smoothies, and even water. Peppermint tea is another popular way to incorporate peppermint into your diet. Peppermint tea is naturally sweetened and does not contain caffeine. However, many of the studies show that the health benefits of mint do not involve eating the leaves of it. Nevertheless, by eating mint leaves you could treat bad breath. 

Digestive health benefits of peppermint

Peppermint relieves digestive discomforts such as gas, bloating and indigestion.

Animal studies have shown that peppermint can relax the digestive system and reduce pain. It also prevents smooth muscle contraction and relieves intestinal spasms.1

A 2014 review of nine studies involving 726 people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) who were treated with peppermint oil for at least two weeks concluded that peppermint provided significantly better symptom relief than placebo.2

To further support this, a review that summarised 14 clinical trials showed that peppermint is capable of reducing the frequency, duration and severity of abdominal pain.3 Moreover, another study showed that the scent of peppermint oil reduced nausea and vomiting in people undergoing chemotherapy.4

There are no studies that have looked at peppermint tea and digestion, but it is possible that peppermint tea has similar effects. 

Respiratory health benefits of peppermint

Peppermint's antibacterial powers help fight off colds and infected mucus that build up in your sinuses. Menthol, which is found in peppermint oil, can also make you feel like you're breathing more easily. However, several studies have shown that menthol has no decongestant function.15

Oral health benefits of peppermint

Mint-flavoured gum and breath mints are among the first things you reach for when trying to prevent or eliminate bad breath. Peppermint not only freshens your breath, but its antibacterial properties also help eliminate the germs that produce odours. It is thought to help prevent bacteria from forming a film on your teeth and help keep your teeth healthy.12

Skin and hair health benefits of peppermint

Peppermint oil is known to be beneficial for skin health since it has antibacterial properties. However, it's also good for your hair and scalp. It can help with dryness, itchiness, or other scalp problems. 

In addition, peppermint oil has been used as a treatment for hair loss, since the menthol in peppermint oil acts as a vasodilator. Vasodilators improve blood flow, and hair loss occurs due to insufficient blood flow to the hair follicles (such as in female and male pattern baldness). Therefore, peppermint can potentially improve hair growth and prevent further hair loss.

In a 2014 study, researchers found that after applying peppermint oil to the shaved skin of mice, their hair grew back faster and thicker - and it provided increased blood flow to malnourished hair follicles.7 However, more research should address peppermint oil to better understand it as a potential treatment for hair loss.

Headache help with peppermint

The active ingredient in peppermint is menthol, and some studies show that it can relieve migraine pain.18 It may also reduce other symptoms such as sensitivity to light, nausea, and vomiting. Some studies suggest that applying a solution of peppermint oil to the forehead and temples may also relieve tension headaches.7 

Peppermint acts as a muscle relaxant and analgesic, so it can relieve certain types of headaches.5 The menthol in peppermint oil increases blood flow and provides a cooling sensation that may reduce pain.6 A clinical trial found that applying peppermint oil to the forehead and temples of 35 migraine sufferers significantly reduced migraine pain compared to placebo.7 

Peppermint may boost energy levels

Peppermint has been proven to boost energy levels and minimise fatigue. However, there is no evidence that peppermint tea could have these effects. Yet, research has found that the natural compounds contained in peppermint can have beneficial effects on boosting energy.

In one study, giving peppermint oil capsules to 24 healthy young people reduced mental fatigue during cognitive testing.8 Another study found that peppermint oil aromatherapy was more effective than a placebo in reducing fatigue episodes in people admitted to a heart centre.9

Peppermint could improve brain function 

Inhaling the scent of peppermint oil may provide improved brain function. This was demonstrated by a study of 144 adolescents, which showed that after smelling peppermint oil for five minutes before a test, their memory significantly improved.13

Another study found that smelling peppermint oil while driving increased alertness and reduced frustration, anxiety and fatigue.14 However, not all studies agree that peppermint oil may benefit brain function. More research is needed to understand how peppermint works and to investigate whether peppermint actually improves brain function. 

Peppermint may reduce breastfeeding pain

Breastfeeding mothers often suffer from sore and cracked nipples, which results in painful and uncomfortable breastfeeding. However, studies have provided some evidence that applying mint to the skin can reduce the pain associated with breastfeeding. 

For example, one study demonstrated that applying peppermint oil mixed with water to nipples after breastfeeding can be effective in preventing nipple cracks, potentially resulting in reduced nipple pain.16 This was backed up by another study, where only 3.8% of mothers who applied a peppermint gel experienced nipple cracks, compared to 22.6% who used a placebo.17 

Mental health benefits of peppermint

Stress and anxiety can arise from many reasons and excessive stress over a long period can wreak havoc on your well-being. Peppermint contains menthol, limonene, and carvone, which have sedative and pain-relieving properties that help to combat stress.19 The aroma released after brewing peppermint tea can also reduce anxiety levels. 

Nutritional facts

3.2 grams (g) of fresh peppermint contains:

Peppermint is an especially good source of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin essential for eye health and night vision.10 It is also a powerful source of antioxidants, especially when compared to other herbs and spices. Antioxidants help protect the body from oxidative stress, a form of cell damage caused by free radicals.11

Culinary uses of peppermint

Peppermint is a herb that is easy to grow at home, and it could be used in different ways in your cooking. For example, it could be used in desserts such as mint chocolate. Mint is also a perfect accompaniment  to your refreshments - it could be added as a flavour to your homemade lemonade. Moreover, mint has a strong flavour that could be used in savoury cooking.

Side effects and other concerns

Peppermint and GORD

Peppermint tea is known to aggravate a condition known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). GORD occurs when acid present in the stomach frequently refluxes into the oesophagus, or gullet, due to weakness of the muscle that keeps the two apart. This damages the gullet’s delicate lining. Peppermint tea is said to relax muscles, so acid reflux can be caused by consuming this tea. 

Peppermint could lower sugar content

Peppermint is rich in polyphenols, which may lower the level of sugar in the body.20 Therefore, care should be taken by people with low blood sugar before consuming peppermint.

Not suitable for infants

The flavour and strength of this tea are considered to be strong. As a result, infants and young children may experience breathing difficulties and a burning sensation when this tea is given to them. 


To summarise, peppermint can be easily added to many dishes, but research suggests that to get the best out of it, peppermint should be either applied to the skin or inhaled in aromatherapy. Also, peppermint capsules could be taken as a dietary supplement; However, do not take any additional supplements without consulting with your healthcare provider. Overall, peppermint has a range of potential health benefits, including easing digestive issues, fighting colds, reducing stress and tackling bad breath.


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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Karina Silova

MSc Molecular Medicine and BSc Biomedicine, University of East Anglia, UK

My background is in key areas of biomedical research focusing on diseases and their molecular pathways to understand their root cause. I specialise in epigenetics and reproductive health; I am passionate about understanding diseases and helping to bridge the gap between medical science and the general public with accurate and understandable content while educating the public about health and diseases. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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