All, Educational, Essential OIls

Get to Know Your Oils: MINT

As we welcome in these long, warm days of summer, we simultaneously invite the elements of nature that will help keep us cool and balanced. One of the most obvious examples of this is MINT.

Did you know that there are over 600 varieties of mint? This prolific herb has an astounding spectrum of aromatic and flavor characteristics; ranging from chocolate to pineapple to orange.

Brewed as a hot or cold tea, used to flavor ice cream or chopped into salads, mint always adds a refreshing note.

Mint Essential Oils

When discussing mint as an essential oil, we have to get specific about the particular species if we want to accurately define its aromatic and therapeutic properties.

While there are not 600 varieties of mint oil available, there are enough options with varying therapeutic profiles to be worth outlining each one separately.

Below I will highlight 4 of my favorite mint oils, all coming from the same genus, Mentha, yet all distinct species with unique aromas and therapeutic profiles.

Peppermint – Mentha x piperita

Peppermint, Mentha x piperita, is probably one of the most easily recognized aromas on the planet. Mint grows abundantly in so many regions of the world, and is also such a popular flavoring agent for chewing gums, breath mints, toothpastes and mouthwashes; it is an unmistakable scent.

Mentha x piperita is incredibly powerful. To smell it from the bottle, it makes your eyes squint slightly and seems to cool the air coming in through your nostrils. It is cephalic in nature, meaning it goes quickly to the head and awakens the mind. It also quickly helps to open the airways and soothes nausea.

CHEMISTRY

  • Monoterpenols (about 40%); predominantly menthol
  • Ketones (about 20%); predominantly menthone
  • Oxides (about 14%)

PHYSICAL

This oil is at its best when assisting with headaches, exhaustion, digestive upset, nausea, pain and inflammation:

  • Analgesic
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Antibacterial
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antiemetic (prevents/reduces nausea)
  • Antifungal
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiviral
  • Cooling

EMOTIONAL 

  • Awakens the senses
  • Energizes
  • Promotes self-confidence
  • Calms the heart

MENTAL 

  • Stimulates creativity & new ideas
  • Encourages focus & mental acuity
  • Helps to digest thoughts & life situations

SPIRITUAL

Mentha x piperita resonates well with the 6th chakra:

  • Third-Eye Chakra – offers perspective and clarity; bolsters expansion on all levels; allows one to perceive subtle energies; connects one with one’s intuition; energizes; purifies

Experience Mentha x piperita for yourself with BE Light’s CLARIFY.

Spearmint – Mentha spicata

Mentha spicata also has an easily identifiable aroma, however, it is much softer than Mentha x piperita; it is sweeter and slower to develop. Spearmint does not fly out of the bottle and punch you in the face like its peppermint cousin.

That softer aroma may be indicative of the fact that spearmint is more sedative to the nervous system, whereas peppermint is more stimulating. While its chemistry is very different, don’t let it fool you, Mentha spicata still carries significant therapeutic power.

Spearmint is great for digestive upset, as well as minor aches and pains. It is also excellent for headaches and may be slightly more effective for respiratory health than Mentha x piperita, acting as a mild expectorant and decongestant.

CHEMISTRY

  • Ketones (about 70%); predominantly carvone
  • Monoterpenes (about 18%); predominantly limonene

PHYSICAL

  • Analgesic
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antispasmodic
  • Carminative (preventing/relieving gas)
  • Decongestant
  • Mild Expectorant (helps to liberate mucous from the lungs)
  • Immune Supportive

EMOTIONAL 

  • Energizing
  • Uplifting
  • Refreshing

MENTAL 

  • Stimulates mental clarity
  • Encourages focus
  • Helps to establish a positive mindset

SPIRITUAL

Mentha spicata resonates well with the 6th chakra:

  • Third-Eye Chakra – offers perspective and clarity; bolsters expansion on all levels; allows one to perceive subtle energies; connects one with one’s intuition; energizes; purifies

Wild Mint – Mentha arvensis

Also known as corn mint, Mentha arvensis is about 80% menthol! The menthol content is so high, that this essential oil will actually solidify in the bottle at temperatures at or below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. At cool temperatures, you will even see small crystalline structures forming around the cap of the bottle!

I adore Mentha arvensis. Even though this oil is a powerful pain reliever, the aroma is so inviting, bordering on “yummy”. It is sweet and uplifting and feels as if it would pair enticingly with chocolate.

This oil is a wonderful anti-inflammatory for muscle and joint pain, but will also soothe spasm (including of the colon). It is supportive of a healthy immune system in that it is excellent at killing unwanted bacteria.

CHEMISTRY

  • Monoterpenols (about 80%); predominantly menthol
  • Ketones (about 15%)

PHYSICAL

  • Analgesic
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Antibacterial
  • Antispasmodic
  • Carminative (preventing/relieving gas)
  • Cooling

EMOTIONAL 

  • Energizing
  • Uplifting
  • Refreshing
  • Awakening
  • Stimulating

MENTAL 

  • Encourages mental clarity & focus
  • Promotes greater self-confidence
  • Assists with decision-making
  • Helps to process information & life situations

SPIRITUAL

Mentha arvensis resonates well with the 6th & 7th chakras:

  • Third-Eye Chakra – offers perspective and clarity; bolsters expansion on all levels; allows one to perceive subtle energies; connects one with one’s intuition; energizes; purifies
  • Crown Chakra – allows one to connect to higher consciousness; wisdom; liberates one from self-limiting beliefs

Experience Mentha arvensis for yourself with BE Light’s ASSIMILATE or BREATHE.

Bergamot Mint – Mentha citrata

Bergamot mint uncoils slowly from its bottle. It has no punch whatsoever. This is most likely because it contains little to no menthol and therefore lacks that forward, minty hit.

Instead, it reveals soft, citrus notes and has an almost powdery veil, reminiscent of lavender or any other linalool-rich oil. In fact, Mentha citrata has a chemistry that is shockingly similar to that of lavender, Lavandula angustofolia, giving it similar therapeutic properties to lavender as well.

I love highlighting this member of the Mentha family because it so so strikingly different from the aforementioned 3 species. Instead of the invigorating, energizing qualities of the other mint oils, bergamot mint is relaxing and sedative; calming and restorative.

This oil would be a great choice for reducing spasm, for quieting anxiety, for diminishing depression, for encouraging a good night’s sleep and for supporting the immune system in times of crisis.

CHEMISTRY

  • Monoterpenols (about 50%); predominantly linalool
  • Esters (about 38%); predominantly linalyl acetate

PHYSICAL

  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antidepressant
  • Carminative (preventing/relieving gas)
  • Immune Supportive
  • Sedative

EMOTIONAL 

  • Uplifting, without being over-stimulating
  • Calming
  • Balancing
  • Restorative

MENTAL 

  • Helps combat anxiety & depression
  • Calms the mind
  • Creates a terrain for quality sleep

SPIRITUAL

Mentha citrata resonates well with the 7th chakra:

  • Crown Chakra – allows one to connect to higher consciousness; brings wisdom; liberates one from self-limiting beliefs; balancing

Experience Mentha citrata for yourself with BE Light’s RELAX.

Suggested Recipe

Here’s a simple and supper effective recipe to teach you firsthand about the powerful therapeutic effects of oils from the Mentha genus.

WIDE-EYED & FEELING GREAT INHALER

  • 4 drops of Peppermint, Mentha x piperita essential oil
  • 4 drops of Wild Mint, Mentha arvensis essential oil
  • 4 drops of Ravintsara, Cinnamomum camphora ct 1,8 cineole essential oil

Carefully drop your essential oils onto the cotton cartridge, assemble inhaler and use as needed.

Check out my Vimeo for a brief video tutorial of how to make this blend:
http://www.vimeo.com/belight/wide-eyed-inhaler

THIS BLEND WOULD BE GREAT FOR HELPING TO TREAT:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Sinus Pressure
  • Foggy Thinking
  • Indecisiveness
  • Lack of Focus
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Nausea
  • Stomach Pain
  • General Achiness
  • Motion Sickness
  • Depression
  • Lack of Confidence
  • Stinky Environmental Odors

A NOTE ON ESSENTIAL OIL INHALERS

Essential oil inhalers are clever little plastics tubes (about the size of a lip balm container), with a cotton “cartridge” for holding the oil, and small holes for allowing the aroma to escape. They are small, portable and keep your aroma contained so as not to affect others around you.

Essential oil inhalers are simple to use and are available for purchase from many online stores.

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