How to Make Your Own Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil is extracted from the concentrated oil found in the peppermint plant. If the term is familiar, it is because peppermint essential oil has seen wide application in aromatherapy for its therapeutic benefits. Among the substances found in its chemical components are menthol, cineole, menthone, methyl acetate, limonene, and methofuran among others.
This article will show you how to make your own peppermint essential oil at home for a fraction of the cost to purchase it at a common health store.
Peppermint Harvesting Tips
Since the peppermint and any other plant material you use to make essential oil is the most basic ingredient in its production, it is important to pay attention to your harvesting procedures. This is the key to ensuring the quality of the oil you are able to produce.
The most suitable time to extract essential oils from a peppermint plant is before it starts flowering. Though some use the entire plant for the process, most just use the leaves for extraction.
The best time to harvest peppermint from the plant is during the morning. When harvesting, take note of the leaves and the overall appearance of the plant. Make sure to pick leaves with less damage or imperfections.
How to Make Your Own Peppermint Essential Oil
Essential oils and aromatherapy are widely recognized for their therapeutic ability and are even recommended by some doctors as methods of alternative medicine. One benefit of this is that you can easily prepare most of them yourself at home. This is especially helpful if you intend to use an essential oil over a long span of time, since it would be quite expensive to keep buying them at health shops.
Although preparing your own essential oil solution at home is rather easy, you will need a few tools or materials to complete the job, mostly consisting of household items. The process will take only a few minutes, and it could provide you with a few months' supply of essential oil solution.
Materials You'll Need:
- Jar with a lid (for storing the oil)
- Plastic storage bag (for storing the herbs)
- Carrier oil (possible choices include wheat germ, grape seed, or almond)
- Harvest the amount of peppermint leaves you need from your plant.
- Wash the leaves carefully using cool water. Then wipe any excess water off of the leaves and dry them using a clean paper towel. Use a plastic storage bag to keep your leaves dry and sealed until you are ready to use them.
- When you're ready to extract the oil, use a solid material—such as a mallet—to tap against the leaves. Make sure to do this gently enough so as not to overly bruise the skin. A gentle tapping motion should slowly release the leaves' natural oils.
- Transfer any oil that's released into a glass jar. Add your preferred carrier oil, which helps in the absorption of aroma from the peppermint. (Different types of carrier oil—such as grape seed, wheat germ, or almond—are widely available in leading health stores.)
- Once the peppermint oil and the carrier oil are in the jar, shake it thoroughly to fully incorporate these ingredients. Keep the jar stored for at least 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, strain the leaves using a cheesecloth to separate any additional oil and add it to the jar. You can throw away the leaves once they have been fully strained and you have all the oil you need.
- You can repeat the process of straining the leaves and storing the oil in jars for at least three days, until the oil has reached your desired strength.
Note: Keep the jars of oil out of direct sunlight while storing.
What Are the Uses of Peppermint Essential Oil?
Peppermint essential oil has a wide range of uses and is one of the most versatile oils in the market, which also explains why it is very popular. Here are just some of the ways in which this type of oil can be used:
- Although it has to be diluted using carrier oil, peppermint oil is widely used in massaging. It acts as a moisturizer that softens the skin and soothes muscle pain and stress.
- Some of the common ailments that peppermint has used to treat are asthma, headaches, fevers, fainting, cramps, irritable bowel syndrome, and nausea.
- Peppermint essential oil can also be used as a spritzer to deodorize your room.
Who Should Not Use Peppermint Essential Oil?
Although peppermint essential oil has wide applications in aromatherapy, there are certain situations where it is not advised for use. For instance, pregnant women are not advised to use peppermint essential oil, whether topically or as an inhalant. The aroma of peppermint essential oil is known to occasionally induce labor and trigger premature contractions.
It is also not advisable to apply the oil to babies or use it in a setting where they can inhale its scent. The peppermint essential oil produces strong aroma that is not good for the babies' delicate skin or nasal passages.
Not Advisable for Babies or Pregnant Women
Peppermint essential oil should not be used on babies or pregnant women due to its strong aroma and potential for inducing premature contractions.
Should You Make Your Own or Purchase Commercial Products?
The question of whether to buy commercially produced peppermint essential oils or to make one your own at home comes down to two things: safety and cost.
The concern of safety has to do with the quality of peppermint essential oil present in commercial products. Since manufacturers are thinking about ways to enhance their savings and double their earnings, they sometimes incorporate synthetic materials into the essential oil solution to boost its quantity. However, this poses possible health risks to potential consumers.
In terms of costs, you will find that commercially produced peppermint essential oils (or any other type of bottled essential oil) are a lot more expensive. This is because manufacturers have to account for the materials, equipment, and laborers who have to put together and transport the product. Meanwhile, at home, you can simply gather the right amount of peppermint you need, combine it with some household items, and make your own. Hence, the latter is the more inexpensive choice of the two.