Updated April 2022
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Buying guide for best peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is a jack of all trades. It’s medicinal and works wonders to combat nausea, relieve soreness in joints and muscles, clear sinuses, stimulate hair growth, and improve gastrointestinal discomfort.

Before you rush off to add this versatile oil to your cart, however, there are some key factors to keep in mind, including the peppermint oil’s smell, consistency, organic certification, whether it’s cruelty-free, and what you plan to use it for. Some peppermint oils are mostly intended for therapeutic use, while others are food-grade, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

Regardless of what you initially choose to do with peppermint oil, once you have it, you’ll probably return to it for other needs, from aromatherapy to using it as a natural cleaning product for your home. If you want to make an informed purchase, keep reading to learn more about the many benefits of peppermint oil. When you’re ready to buy, consider one of our top picks.

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If you’re a first-time peppermint oil user, it’s best to start with a small quantity. That way, you’ll use it more quickly and won’t worry about excessive waste if you decide you don’t like it.

Key considerations

Smell, color and texture

Peppermint oil’s scent will vary, depending on whether or not it’s refined. Most of us are accustomed to refined peppermint oil’s smell, which is in toothpastes, mints, and menthols. This is a much simpler menthol scent compared to true unrefined peppermint oil, which smells more complex, with nutty, creamy undertones beneath the menthol. The smell difference may surprise you if you’re used to commercial peppermint smells. As long as the oil doesn’t smell rancid, it’s good to use. When it comes to color, peppermint oil can vary from clear to pale yellow. Its consistency is rather watery.

Organic certification

Your peppermint oil should have only one ingredient listed — which is, of course, peppermint oil. Keep an eye out for “100% Organic” or the USDA Organic symbol on the bottle’s label. Organic certification guarantees that the peppermint plant grew in healthy chemical-free soil.


Medicinal use

Peppermint oil is extracted from the peppermint plant, which is a hybrid of water mint and spearmint. Though native to the Mediterranean, the plant has thrived in Europe, North America, and Japan for centuries. The plant’s medicinal properties are far and wide, from pain relief to digestive assistance.

For medicinal purposes, you can apply peppermint oil to the forehead to naturally relieve headaches or on the abdomen to relieve stomach upset or indigestion. For sinus or cold relief, try diluting the peppermint oil with eucalyptus oil. (It’s generally recommended that you use a carrier oil, like coconut or jojoba oil, to dilute the peppermint oil.)

Essential oils are not meant to be ingested orally and can be toxic in large doses. We recommend a food-grade peppermint oil extract or peppermint oil capsules instead.

If you plan to use peppermint oil medicinally, make sure it’s USDA grade and organic. For the animal advocates, it also doesn’t hurt to make sure the oil is cruelty-free.

Cosmetic use

For skin: Peppermint oil is antimicrobial, meaning it has properties that kill microorganisms. Some report success with peppermint oil as an acne treatment. You can try using diluted peppermint oil as a spot treatment.

For scalp: Your scalp can benefit from the oil, too. Maybe you’ve already noticed all the hair creams, shampoos, and conditioners that list peppermint oil as an ingredient. That’s because the essential oil combats itching, dryness, and dandruff thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Peppermint oil can be a bit much to apply directly onto the scalp, but you may add a few drops to your shampoo or conditioner bottle.

Like medicinal peppermint oil, look out for the USDA label and organic label on the bottle.

Household use

  • Pest control: Did you know that peppermint oil is an excellent deterrent for rodents? Simply place several drops on a few cotton balls, then stuff the balls into your problem areas. These include any areas that are big enough for a mouse to crawl through (these spots can be as tiny as a quarter).
  • Keeps bugs away: For cockroaches, spiders, and ants, peppermint oil is a natural deterrent. Simply add 15 to 20 drops of essential oil to an eight-ounce bottle and spray the areas where bugs congregate. This should deter them for some time, but it’s important to reapply as needed. If you primarily plan to use the oil around the house, make sure you choose a brand with a strong scent. A weaker, diluted peppermint oil has a strong scent at first, but it fades with time. The last thing you want is for bugs and mice to come crawling back after a treatment or two.
  • Natural cleaning solution: As a general household cleaner, you can mix 10 to 15 drops of peppermint oil into a spray bottle with half a cup of water, half a cup of white vinegar, and a few drops of dish soap.
  • Air freshener: Many people turn to aromatherapy for stress relief. If you have an oil diffuser, place it in an open room. With the diffuser’s water reservoir filled, add three to 10 drops of peppermint oil. Then, turn on the diffuser and allow it to work its magic.
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For your safety
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult a doctor before using peppermint oil. Peppermint oil isn’t recommended for babies or young children.

Peppermint oil prices

Inexpensive: Oils that are less than $10 will come in small quantities, even as little as 10 milliliters. This is a perfect amount if you’re testing the oil out but don’t want to commit to a large size. Bottles nearing $10 will contain at least a half ounce of peppermint oil.

Mid-range: A $10 to $20 bottle of oil, if it’s high quality and certified organic, will probably contain one to four ounces. Keep an eye out for dark amber bottles, which help to preserve the integrity of the oil. Oils in this price range are more likely to include the USDA label, too.

Expensive: A bottle of peppermint oil that costs $20 or more is less common. If the oil is imported from afar, that may explain the high price. Or if it’s sold in a quantity above eight ounces. Otherwise, you should have no trouble finding an oil well below this price point.

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Did you know?
Extensive studies have been done on peppermint oil’s effects on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Within four weeks, peppermint oil was proven to reduce abdominal pain and discomfort and diarrhea. But remember, peppermint oil should only be ingested as a capsule.


  • Remember to perform an allergy test before using peppermint oil for the first time. Test a tiny amount of the oil (diluted in a carrier oil, of course) on your skin before applying it elsewhere.
  • Peppermint oil should be stored in a dark amber bottle that’s kept in a cool place.
  • Essential oils should be used within a year. To lengthen the shelf life, you can keep the bottle in your refrigerator.
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Peppermint oil is known to increase alertness. You can put a few drops in a diffuser to stay both awake and stress-free.


Q. What’s the difference between peppermint and mint?
Mint is a broad term that describes the Mentha plant family. Other mint plants include orange mint, spearmint, and pineapple mint.

Q. What are the side effects of ingesting too much peppermint oil?
Excessive peppermint oil usage may result in heartburn, vomiting, diarrhea, or an allergic reaction. Remember that peppermint oil, like all essential oils, is highly concentrated. It should be ingested minimally or diluted with a carrier oil.

Q. Will peppermint oil harm my pets?
Peppermint oil can potentially irritate your pet’s skin or, if ingested, cause severe gastrointestinal comfort. Check with your veterinarian before using peppermint oil on your pets.

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