21 Health Benefits Of Peppermint, Nutrition, & Side Effects

These powerful leaves could be your answer to suntan, hair growth, gastric orders, and more.

Medically reviewed by Janelle Bigelman, MS, RDN Janelle Bigelman Janelle BigelmanMS, RDN facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health linkedin_icon Experience: 8 years
Edited by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Sindhu Koganti BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 6 years
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The benefits of peppermint go beyond giving you refreshing breath; Peppermint is packed with dietary fiber, folates, provitamin A (carotenoids), vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, manganese, and zinc. This rich nutrient profile gives it a range of health-promoting properties. It has plenty of benefits for your skin, hair, and body. This article discusses the benefits of peppermint, its nutritional profile, and its side effects. Read on to learn more.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Peppermint

What Is It?
A hybrid mint herb made with watermint and spearmint plants known for its therapeutic effects.

What Are Its Benefits?
Soothes skin rashes, prevents acne, treats head lice, relieves gastrointestinal disorders, treats cold and flu symptoms, and reduces the risk of cancer.

Who Can Use It?
Everyone except pregnant women and lactating mothers.

How Often?
2 to 3 cups a day (peppermint tea)

Caution
It may aggravate existing gastro-oesophageal reflux conditions. Don’t take it with immunosuppressive drugs.

Skin Benefits of Peppermint

1. Heals Various Skin Issues

Peppermint is mostly used in topical creams, which are used to address a variety of skin issues. Its soothing properties make it an effective treatment for rashes, poison oak and poison ivy. It gives a strong healing effect to the skin (1).

2. Treats Oily And Greasy Skin

Peppermint leaves have been used widely for ages to treat oily and greasy skin. Menthol that is found in peppermint reduces the secretion of oil from the sebaceous glands, which is a natural way to help get an oil-free skin (2). To use:

  • Apply freshly ground peppermint leaves on your face
  • Leave it on for 10 minutes.
  • You may also add honey to the paste to get better results.
  • Wash it off and pat dry.
  • You may also combine peppermint paste with jojoba oil or aloe vera to optimize the benefits.

3. Astringent, Antiseptic, And Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Peppermint may help reduce the appearance of acne
Image: Shutterstock

Peppermint is known to balance the pH levels of the skin. This helps balance the production of excessive oils in the skin, thereby reducing overall acne and breakouts. The astringent, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of peppermint help diminish the appearance of acne, blackheads, rashes and redness of the skin (2). To use:

  • Mix 2 drops of peppermint oil to your regular face wash
  • Wash your face twice a day using this.
  • You may also mix a drop or two of this oil to your night cream or moisturizer to treat acne and skin rashes.

Sarah Therese, a vlogger, shared her experience of consuming peppermint tea for her acne in her video. She said, “My hormonal acne was being slowed down. Healing a lot faster than usual. I am a lot clearer (i).”

4. Fights Suntan

Peppermint is a rich source of vitamins A and C and contains folates and omega-3 fatty acids, which help in fighting sun-related problems like sunburn (3). To use:

  • You can apply the paste of peppermint leaves on your face or use peppermint oil topically to treat a sunburn.
  • But if you are using peppermint oil directly on the face, dilute it with some oil to avoid skin inflammation.

Furthermore, peppermint contains a nutrient called Perillyl alcohol which prevents the formation of skin cancer cells.

5. Treats Athlete’s Foot

Peppermint can also help to treat athlete’s foot (4). To use:

  • Massage the oil on your feet and leave it on overnight.
  • Peppermint oil can also be used to reduce cellulite lines by rubbing the oil on the affected areas.
  • Peppermint oil keeps the skin clean and prevents skin infections and blemishes.
Peppermint leaves
Image: Shutterstock

Hair Benefits Of Peppermint

Peppermint is not just acclaimed for its skin benefits. It is equally famous for its ability to help rejuvenate hair and overcome hair-related issues. Some peppermint uses for hair include:

6. Effective Hair Tonic

Peppermint oil acts as an effective hair tonic when mixed with other essential oils like tea tree oil, coconut oil, castor oil and even Vitamin E oil.

7. Lice Reliever

Peppermint is a natural insect repellent. Applying peppermint oil to the hair can relieve you from lice (5). To use:

  • Massage your hair properly with peppermint oil
  • Leave it for 24 hours prior to washing your hair.
  • Repeat this 3 times a week to get rid of lice completely.
  • Alternatively, you can also dilute peppermint oil with olive oil if you experience any kind of skin irritation.
  • Peppermint oil also reduces the itchy sensation associated with dandruff.

8. Promotes Hair Growth

Peppermint oil promotes hair growth
Image: Shutterstock

Peppermint oil gives a tingling sensation when massaged onto the scalp which means that the oil is working at balancing the pH levels. This helps to neutralize the effect of excessive oil production. Thus it reduces hair greasiness. This stimulates hair follicles and increases blood circulation in the scalp, promoting hair growth (6).

9. Hydrates Hair Follicles

Peppermint hydrates the hair follicles from within to give you smooth, shiny and soft hair. Rub a few drops of peppermint oil on your hands and smooth it through the hair. Moreover, peppermint oil is non-greasy and will leave your hair pleasantly scented. It can also be used with hair straightening tools such as a hair-protecting serum.

Health Benefits Of Peppermint

Several modern researchers have concluded the numerous benefits of this herb. It has analgesic, aesthetic, astringenti  A chemical that temporarily shrinks body tissues or skin cells to tighten pores and reduce oil production. , decongestant, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, which can help to treat a number of health conditions like cold, flu, sinusitisi  A condition in which cold or allergies affect the cavities around the nasal passage for up to eight weeks. , dry cough, fever, chills and digestive problems. Peppermint leaves health benefits include the following:

10. Great Source Of Dietary Fiber

It contains a good amount of dietary fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol and with blood sugar management (7).

protip_icon Trivia
Peppermint is a hybrid of spearmint and watermint herbs. Since it is a hybrid, it is sterile and does not produce seeds of its own. You need to use its runners to cultivate it.

11. Has Analgesic Property

Menthol in peppermint acts on the cool sensitive receptors on the skin, mouth and throat, which provide a cooling sensation when inhaled, eaten, or applied topically to the skin. This property of peppermint makes it an indispensable material in the preparation of cough syrup, lozenges, and nose inhalers. Menthol is also used in the preparation of pain-relieving ointments and topical muscle relaxants for its analgesic properties (1).

12. Prevents Gastric Disorders

Peppermint may prevent gastric disorders
Image: Shutterstock

Peppermint oil is known to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, including indigestion, dyspepsiai  Also known as indigestion, it causes a recurring burning sensation in the belly and nausea after consuming excess food or drinks. and colonic muscle spasms. These healing properties are due to its muscle-relaxing abilities. It also creates better bile flow, which is crucial for fat digestion. Once the intestine muscles are smoothened, there are relatively fewer chances of spasms and indigestion. Thus when we consume peppermint in the form of tea, it moves more quickly through the stomach to relieve pain that is associated with the digestive tract. It also prevents digestive issues like gastritis, diarrhea, bloating and stomach pain (8), (9).

13. Clears Respiratory Congestion

Peppermint is also used to treat colds and flu and their symptoms. It kills the bacteria and virus that cause the flu and relieves pain from the aching body. It also provides relief from cough and congestion (10). It is a common ingredient in balms used on the chest to relieve chest aches. For nasal congestion and sinusitis, drinking peppermint tea and inhaling its vapor is said to surely help.

  • Add one tablespoon of peppermint leaves into water
  • Boil the water for a few minutes.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of honey to add some taste to it.
  • Drink this tea at least 2 to 3 times a day.
  • For dry cough, massage a few drops of peppermint oil on the chest 2 to 3 times per day.

The menthol present in peppermint thins the mucous, lubricates the respiratory tract and helps to bring out the dried phlegm from the lungs.

14. Combats Bad Breath

Peppermint combats bad breath
Image: Shutterstock

Peppermint is also used in oral hygiene products like mouth fresheners, tongue spray and mouthwash to combat bad breath. It is also used as a flavoring agent in candies and chewing gums, which provides freshness to your breath (5).

15. Is A Potential Anti-Cancer Agent:

Peppermint is a potential anti-cancer agent. It contains Perillyl alcohol, a phytonutrient, which is shown to stop the growth of pancreatic, mammary and liver tumors. It also protects against the formation of colon, skin and lung cancer. Vitamin C in peppermint plays a moderate role in decreasing colon cancer risk. Vitamin C is the main water-soluble antioxidant, which is needed to decrease the levels of free radicals that cause damage to cells (11), ( 12). Beta carotene and other carotenoids have also shown to reduce the risk of developing colon and rectal cancer.

Cartenoids are also known to increase cell differentiation and protect the cells against carcinogenic chemicals that could damage DNA.

16. Inhibits Growth Of Bacteria And Fungi

Peppermint contains several essential oils, which help to stop the growth of different kinds of bacteria. These bacteria include: Helicobacter pylori, Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). It also inhibits the growth of fungi in the body (1), (13).

17. Heals Respiratory Diseases

Rosmarinic acid in peppermint is known to have several beneficial actions in respiratory diseases, particularly asthma. Rosmarinic acid blocks the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals such as leukotrienes and neutralizes free radicals to prevent asthma. Peppermint also encourages the body to make prostacyclins, a substance that keeps the airways open for easy breathing. Extracts of peppermint also relieve nasal symptoms of colds related to allergies (10), (14).

18. Vasodilatory Effects

Peppermint has vasodilatory effects that help in the dilation of constricted blood vessels to prevent headaches and migraines. All you need to do is apply a few drops of peppermint oil on your forehead, temples and back to reduce the pain (1). If you are sensitive to peppermint oil, then you can dilute it with coconut oil or olive oil before its application.

19. Analgesic And Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Peppermint’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity may also help with muscular pains and arthritis (15). Apply a few drops of peppermint oil on the affected areas and massage for a few minutes. For strained muscles after a strenuous workout, add a few drops of peppermint oil to a warm water bath to relax and soothe strained muscles. Peppermint also helps to treat menstrual cramps. Drink one cup of peppermint tea 2 to 3 times a day to soothe menstrual pains.

20. Reduces Stress, Emotional Imbalance, And Anxiety

Peppermint contains therapeutic qualities that canhelp to reduce stress, emotional imbalance, and anxiety (16). All you need to do is burn peppermint oil in a diffuser or burner and relax for around 30 minutes. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, while inhaling the peppermint aroma and let your body relax. Repeat this aromatherapy for 3 weeks to help get rid of unwanted tension and anxiety.

 

21. May Improve Nausea

Inhaling peppermint oil may help alleviate the symptoms of nausea and vomiting in some people. The active compounds in peppermint such as menthol and menthone are responsible for their distinctive aroma and help ease discomfort in the digestive tract and relieve nausea (17). One study published in the Complementary Therapies in Medicine Journal found that inhaling the aroma of peppermint oil may help reduce the frequency of nausea in people undergoing chemotherapy (18). However, more research is needed in this regard.

Note: Always dilute one or two drops of peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil before using, due to its adverse effects.

protip_icon Trivia
Morroco is the world’s largest peppermint producer (about 83%), followed by Argentina (about 14%).

Selection, Storage, And Usage

Selection

  • Fresh and dry peppermints are available throughout the year, making it easy for you to buy when needed.
  • Fresh peppermint leaves are any day preferable than the dry ones as they keep its flavor and nutrients intact.
  • Fresh peppermint leaves should be vibrant green in color and with firm stems. It should not have any dark brown or yellow spots on it.
  • If you prefer dry mints, then purchase organically grown peppermint leaves as this will ensure that they are free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals.

Storage

  • You can refrigerate the fresh ones locked in a zip pouch or a paper towel.
  • Fresh peppermint leaves should be consumed within a week’s time while dried mint can be stored for a few months in an air-tight container.

Usage

  • Peppermint should be washed thoroughly before using to remove sand, dirt and residual pesticides.

How To Use Peppermint Leaves

Mint is used in the preparation of recipes to keep the fragrance and aroma intact. It is also used as a flavoring base in desserts like ice cream and other confectioneries. Moreover, it is used extensively in the preparation of herbal tea, soups and sauces. Mint leaves are also a great addition to green salads and as a garnish.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Peppermint tea is a healthful addition to your diet. You can also enhance its flavor by pairing it with chamomile, lavender, orange, fennel, cardamom, or lemon grass.

Side Effects Of Peppermint

There are a few adverse side effects of peppermint worth noting. People struggling with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERDi  A chronic digestive disease caused by the flow of stomach acid into the food pipe while causing irritation along its lining. ) should limit the consumption of peppermint as the compounds in peppermint make the muscles in the oesophageal wall smooth and relaxed. This can aggravate their reflux. Patients suffering from heartburn, acid reflux, and gallstones should also avoid peppermint. Peppermint leaves are not recommended for pregnant, lactating mothers and children.

Peppermint should be strictly avoided if you are taking cyclosporine or any other medication preventing transplant rejection.

How do you include peppermint leaves in your diet? Do you know of more benefits of the herb? Please share some more interesting trivia on peppermint leaves in the comments. Stay fit, stay healthy!

Nutritional Value Of Peppermint

Here is a chart with all the nutrition details of peppermint:

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:Peppermint (Mentha piperita), Fresh,
Nutritive Value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
PrincipleNutrient ValuePercentage of RDA
Energy70 Kcal3.5%
Carbohydrates14.79 g11%
Protein3.75 g7%
Total Fat0.94 g3%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber8 g20%
Vitamins
Folates114 µg28%
Niacin1.706 mg10.5%
Pantothenic acid0.338 mg6.5%
Pyridoxine0.129 mg10%
Riboflavin0.266 mg20%
Thiamin0.082 mg7%
Vitamin A4248 IU141%
Vitamin C31.8 mg53%
Electrolytes
Sodium31 mg2%
Potassium569 mg12%
Minerals
Calcium243 mg24%
Copper329 µg36%
Iron5.08 mg63.5%
Magnesium80 mg20%
Manganese1.176 mg51%
Zinc1.11 mg10%

Infographic: 5 Good Reasons To Use Peppermint

Peppermint is a hybrid herb rich in essential vitamins and minerals that help soothe skin rashes and relieve cold and flu symptoms, making it a good addition to your life. Check out the following infographic to learn the various ways in which peppermint improves your health and well-being.

5 good reasons to use peppermint (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Packed with dietary fiber, provitamins, folate, and essential minerals, peppermint has a host of health benefits primarily for your skin, hair, respiratory, and digestive health. Whether it is the anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that help heal rashes and sunburn or its soothing menthol composition that helps relieve cold and congestion, peppermint benefits are commonly included in many home remedies. It also helps reduce stress and anxiety making you feel better inside and out. Peppermint can be included in your diet and wellness routine quite easily in the form of peppermint leaves, tea, or essential oils.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a difference between peppermint and mint?

Yes. Mint refers to a group of plants that includes spearmint and peppermint.

Does peppermint give you energy?

Peppermint helps reduce fatigue and thus boost energy levels (19).

Does peppermint help you sleep?

Yes. Inhaling peppermint essential oil can help improve your sleep quality (20).

Key Takeaways

  • Peppermint may help manage excess oil production, acne breakouts, sunburn, and athlete’s foot. It may boost hair growth, nourish hair follicles, and eliminate head lice.
  • It may help manage respiratory issues, reduce the risk of cancer, and prevent gastric disorders and migraines.
  • Peppermint possesses antimicrobial, analgesic, and astringent properties, making it a common ingredient in pain balms and decongestants.
  • People with digestive issues like GERD, heartburn, and gallstones should avoid consuming peppermint.
peppermint benefits

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Start drinking peppermint tea today and experience its amazing benefits. From aiding digestion to relieving stress, watch this video to know more about why this soothing tea should be included in your diet.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Therapeutic Uses of Peppermint –A Review
    https://www.jpsr.pharmainfo.in/Documents/Volumes/vol7Issue07/jpsr07071524.pdf
  2. Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5435909/
  3. In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51539723_In_vitro_sun_protection_factor_determination_of_herbal_oils_used_in_cosmetics
  4. Antifungal Properties of Essential Oils and Their Compounds for Application in Skin Fungal Infections: Conventional and Nonconventional Approaches
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33669627/
  5. A REVIEW ON PEPPERMINT OIL
    https://innovareacademics.in/journal/ajpcr/Vol2Issue2/187.pdf
  6. Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/270966711_Peppermint_Oil_Promotes_Hair_Growth_without_Toxic_Signs
  7. Investigation of the effects of peppermint (Mentha piperita) on the biochemical and anthropometric profile of university students
    https://www.scielo.br/j/cta/a/wSDHwc9RV7svZ8xg4H5YJyb/?format=pdf&lang=en
  8. The impact of peppermint oil on the irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis of the pooled clinical data
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6337770/
  9. Review article: The physiologic effects and safety of Peppermint Oil and its efficacy in irritable bowel syndrome and other functional disorders
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5814329/
  10. Essential oils in the treatment of respiratory tract diseases highlighting their role in bacterial infections and their anti‐inflammatory action: a review†
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7163989/
  11. Peppermint, fresh
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173474/nutrients
  12. High-Dose Vitamin C Tends to Kill Colorectal Cancer with High MALAT1 Expression
    https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jo/2020/2621308/
  13. Peppermint Oil Decreases the Production of Virulence-Associated Exoproteins by Staphylococcus aureus
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6259925/
  14. A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.)
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.1936
  15. Anti-osteoarthritis potential of peppermint and rosemary essential oils in a nanoemulsion form: behavioral, biochemical, and histopathological evidence
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349171416_Anti-osteoarthritis_potential_of_peppermint_and_rosemary_essential_oils_in_a_nanoemulsion_form_behavioral_biochemical_and_histopathological_evidence
  16. The effect of Mentha piperita L. on the mental health issues of university students: A pilot study
    https://jppres.com/jppres/pdf/vol9/jppres20.932_9.1.49.pdf
  17. Review article: the physiological effects and safety of peppermint oil and its efficacy in irritable bowel syndrome and other functional disorders
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/apt.14519
  18. Volatile Terpenes and Brain Function: Investigation of the Cognitive and Mood Effects of Mentha × Piperita L. Essential Oil with In Vitro Properties Relevant to Central Nervous System Function
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6116079/
  19. Comparing the effect of aromatherapy with peppermint and lavender on the sleep quality of cardiac patients: a randomized controlled trial
    https://sleep.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s41606-020-00047-x#Sec13
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Janelle Bigelman
Janelle Bigelman is a registered dietitian with 3 years of experience. Being an athlete and heavily invested in sports while growing up, she quickly learned the interconnection of optimal nutrition and how one’s daily dietary habits can impact one’s overall health, longevity recovery and performance, both positively and negatively.

Read full bio of Janelle Bigelman