10 Spearmint Oil Benefits We Bet You Never Knew
People often confuse spearmint oil (Mentha spicata) with peppermint oil (Mentha piperita). However, the two are different species, each with its unique set of health benefits. From increasing the bile flow in the liver to fighting against infections, the spearmint oil benefits are numerous.
Did you know that spearmint is said to be the oldest plants of the “mint” family? Yes, that’s true. Traditionally, the plant was used to aid digestion and soothe problems like headaches, congestion, vomiting, nausea, and cold.
This isn’t it. There are much more that spearmint can do. Let’s understand the benefits of spearmint oil in detail.
What is spearmint oil?
Spearmint oil is extracted from its flowering tops through the process of steam distillation. It is well known for its flavor and medicinal properties. Though it is similar to peppermint oil, it’s less strong and thus, it is more suitable for those who are sensitive. (1)
Scientific name of Spearmint oil
The botanical name of spearmint is Mentha spicata.
History of spearmint oil
Spearmint is a species that belongs to the mint family and is native to North Africa, Egypt, and Morocco.
The other common names of spearmint include Mentha Viridis, garden spearmint, green mint, fish mint, lamb mint, menthe cardiaca, our lady’s mint, oleum menthe viridis, oleum menthe crispae, and huele essentielle de menthe crepue.
The herb has a square-shaped stem with leaves measuring 1.5 to 3 centimeters wide and 5 to 9 centimeters long.
The use of spearmint dates back to ancient times. This perennial plant can live for more than two years, especially the ones that originate from the Mediterranean region.
Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Roman physicians used this herb for centuries. Pliny, a well-known Roman herbalist, mentioned about this herb in 41 unique potions, highlighting its abilities as a therapeutic, and to aid digestion.
Spearmint is popular in Indian & Italian cuisines either in fresh or in dried form.
Spearmint oil is also known as the gentler mint oil. Few people may not be able to tolerate peppermint oil, but spearmint oil can be a great alternative.
Spearmint is well known for its distinct aroma. People commonly use it to garnish their dishes, confectionaries, chewing gums, beverages, baked goods, meat, frozen dairy, cosmetic, and soaps. The oil is also a common ingredient in toothpaste and rinses too.
The oil repels mosquitoes as well as rats. Spearmint has a long tradition of medicinal uses. It is also well known in the form of tea to treat general digestive problems.
Color, consistency, and smell of spearmint oil
- The color of spearmint oil is pale yellow.
- The consistency of spearmint oil is thin.
- The smell of spearmint oil is herbaceous. It is spicier, lighter, and sweeter than peppermint oil.
Properties of spearmint essential oil
- Anti-inflammatory – Fights the signs of inflammation such as redness, swelling, and pain
- Antiseptic – Prevents and fights infection
- Antispasmodic – Relieves spasms
- Astringent – Prevents excess oil production on the face
- Carminative – Relieves excess gas and eases bloating
- Cholagogue – Increases the flow of bile from the liver
- Cholerectic – Boosts the secretion of bile
- Cicatrizant – Promotes the healing of a wound by the formation of scar
- Decongestant – Relieves blocked nose
- Digestive – Promotes digestion
- Diuretic – Helps in the formation of urine
- Expectorant – Helps you relieve sputum
- Febrifuge – Reduces fever
- Hepatic – Promotes the health of your liver
- Nervine – Calms your nerves
- Stimulant – Increases energy and alertness
- Sedative – Relaxes and induces sleep
- Stomachic – Boosts your appetite
- Anti-fatigue – Gets rid of excess tiredness
- Anti-migraine – Eases one-sided severe headaches
- Antidepressant – Fights depression, stress, and anxiety
- Insecticide – Gets rid of insects and bugs
- Anti-platelet – Prevents unnecessary clotting
- Antioxidant – Prevents diseases caused by oxidation
- Antimicrobial – Fights bacteria
- Preservative – Helps in food preservation
- Anti-hemorrhoid – Fights red, swollen, painful veins at the anus, which ache and may bleed while passing stools
- Hemostatic – Prevents bleeding
- Acetylcholinesterase – Prevents nerve diseases
Besides the above, here are other significant ones to make a note of:
- Eases constipation – Difficulty passing stools
- Fights diarrhea – Loose, frequent stools
- Eases colic – Stomach pain
- Relieves dyspepsia – Indigestion
- Tackles hepato-biliary disorder – Liver diseases
- Stimulates appetite – or hunger
- Fights bad breath
- Fights sore gums
- Manages breast milk and breast hardness
- Aids restoration – recovery
- Prevents nausea/vomiting sensation
- Relieves pain and cramps
- Rejuvenates your skin
- Relieves menstrual problems
- Eases labor
- Helps you tackle cystitis or inflammation of the urinary bladder
- Fights asthma or spasm of airways, excess mucus production, and inflammation of airways which make breathing difficult
- Eases bronchitis or inflammation of airways wherein there is cough, mucus, fever, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and wheezing
- Relieves catarrh – a build-up of mucus
- Fights sinusitis (inflammation of sinuses, the empty spaces)
- Eases severe itching of the skin
- Fights acne/pimples
- Helps you recover from dermatitis – inflammation of the skin
- Heals wound, sore, and scab
- Acts as a local anesthetic
Chemical compounds in spearmint oil
The vital components found in spearmint essential oil are:
- 1,8 Cineole
- Trans Dihydrocarvone
Health benefits of spearmint oil
Spearmint essential oil is a well-known anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. It reduces redness, swelling, pain, and destroys the microbes that cause infection. Besides these, the various spearmint oil benefits include:
- Boosts the secretion of bile
- Relieves congestion
- Heals wounds
- Fortified with antioxidants
- Aids digestion
- Rejuvenates your body & mind
- Potent antiseptic
- Relieves spasms
- Gets rid of bloating
- Prevents nerve diseases
1. Boosts the section of bile
*The liver secretes bile, yellowish fluid and stores it in the gall bladder. Bile promotes digestion. It breaks down the fats to fatty acids so that your body can use it well.
*Cholagogue denotes an increase in the flow of bile from liver whereas Cholerectic signifies boosting the secretion of bile.
2. Relieves congestion
Mentha spicata EO (Essential Oil) eases cold by relieving congestion. It is a well-known decongestant. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties, which lyses thick mucus, helping you to spit and ease breathing. Spearmint also fights asthma. (4)
3. Heals wounds
Spearmint essential oil is a cicatrizant, meaning that it promotes the healing of wounds much faster. Thanks to its antibacterial properties. It promotes the formation of scar so that the wounds heal.
Also, the oil is a hemostatic, stopping the bleeding within some time. When it is diluted with a carrier oil and applied at the site of the injury, it stops bleeding by assisting in the formation of a clot. (5)
4. Fortified with antioxidants
Ancient Egyptians dating back to 1000 BC used spearmint for varied medical uses, and its high antioxidant potential (up to 85%) has been confirmed by the research. Thanks to the presence of phenolic acids, flavonoids, carvone, and ascorbic acid. Synthetic antioxidants do come with unwanted effects, and Mentha spicata essential oil is one of the best ways to fight free radicals naturally.
*Oxidation is a routine process in your body, which occurs due to aging and harmful pollutants. It results in harmful free radicals, which cause diseases. But antioxidants can neutralize them, and since spearmint oil is rich in antioxidants, this is an added benefit.
A study published in 2010 states that spearmint oil has excellent antioxidant potential. This was reported via DPPH free radical-scavenging abilities, inhibition of the linoleic acid oxidation, and bleaching b-carotene in the linoleic acid system. (6, 7, 8)
5. Aids digestion
Spearmint tea treats digestive disorders, and this is well known from ancient times. Thanks to its anti-nauseating (prevents vomiting sensation) properties. Spearmint also eases diarrhea (frequent stools) as well as constipation (9, 10)
6. Rejuvenates your body & mind
Spearmint oil clears your mind, eases your emotions, and helps in rejuvenation. It feels as if it’s the freshest spring air after a cleansing rain. The oil releases mental fatigue and enhances positive emotions such as love and joy.
It helps you to be right and true to yourself. It nurtures self-trust while helping you overcome self-hatred and anger. You can use the oil as massage oil after diluting it with a suitable carrier oil. Massaging it over your chest bones and tummy region, helps you fight negative feelings such as self-disgust. (11)
7. Potent antiseptic
The oil has antibacterial action and acts well against Salmonella enteritidis, E. Coli, Staph aureus, Bacillus subtilis, and Pasturella multocida. This is due to the presence of cis-carveol and carvone compounds in it.
A paper published in the Journal of Essential oil talks about the extracted oil from the aerial parts of Mentha spicata. The oil extracted was 1.2 and the researchers assessed the antimicrobial activity via disc diffusion and minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) assays. The oil was proved effective against all tested microbes. (12)
8. Relieves spasms
Spearmint oil is a well-known antispasmodic, meaning that it helps relieve spasms. Spearmint is well known for relieving menstrual aches and asthma, owing to its antispasmodic action. It also relieves the contraction of ileum (a part of the small intestine and colon). It relaxes your gastric walls too. (13)
9. Gets rid of bloating
Spearmint is admired for its carminative properties. It helps in easing various digestive like bloating. Bloating can cause excessive pain and uneasiness. It helps you to pass gas. (14)
10. Prevents nerve diseases
Spearmint is a nervine. It prevents nerve diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
* Alzheimer’s is a nerve disease where the patient experiences a memory loss. Though this is mild initially, later, it gets so severe that the affected person cannot remember even his or her name.
Spearmint oil can prevent such diseases. Thanks to spearmint oil’s anticholinesterase properties which avoid nerve diseases (15).
What blends with spearmint oil?
Spearmint oil blends the best with:
How to use spearmint oil?
- For aromatherapy, spearmint oil helps you ease nervousness, headache, fatigue, migraine, and digestive problems.
- Add 15 to 30 drops of spearmint oil to 2 ounces of carrier oil and mix well. You can use this mixture for massages.
- Dab the oil on your temples for an uplifting feeling.
- Use the oil as a spray to build a positive aura.
- Add a few drops of spearmint oil to your body care products to relieve acne.
- Rub the diluted oil over your tummy to ease your digestive troubles.
Side effects of Spearmint oil
- It reduces the effects of homeopathic medicines.
- Spearmint oil is toxic at doses above 2g/kg.
- Few may be sensitive to spearmint oil. Thus, a patch test is worth it. Dilute spearmint essential oil with a suitable carrier oil and apply a little portion of it with a tip of a cotton bud on the inside of your forearm. Observe for ten minutes. If you do not see any allergic reactions such as swelling and itching, the oil is safe on you.
- Though research says up to 4% of oil is safe for use, in those who are sensitive, up to 0.1% of oil is safe. Toothpastes containing spearmint oil have been allergic in some and has caused dermatitis/ inflammation of the skin and allergic stomatitis/ inflammation of the mouth.
- Not recommended in pregnancy, labor, and nursing due to toxic actions.
- Make sure you speak to your doctor before you start using the oil especially when you are on medicines or have any diseases.
- Add the diluted oil to your bathwater to ease muscle aches and fatigue.