Peppermint is much more than just a delicious flavoring for gum or mints.
Peppermint is available in the form of essential oil, which has many uses ranging from all-natural health remedies to household purposes. You can find it in online shops or on Amazon, but you’ll end up with a much higher-quality product if you make your own peppermint oil. (Don’t try to use kitchen-variety peppermint extract as an essential oil; the extract is much too weak to do much good.)
Due to its amazing smell and numerous scientifically proven benefits, peppermint essential oil is one of the most popular essential oils today. If you’re a DIY project lover and wondering how to make peppermint oil at home, read on.
How to Make Peppermint Oil: What Do You Need?
Before we get into the detailed process of how to make peppermint essential oil, let’s make sure you have everything you need.
To make DIY peppermint oil, you will need the following ingredients and supplies:
- Fresh peppermint plant leaves
- A carrier oil of your choice (more on that later)
- A small glass jar or container with a lid
- Spoon, knife, or mortar and pestle
- A small bowl
- Cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer
- Regular sized strainer or colander
- Paper towels
When it comes to choosing a carrier oil for your homemade peppermint oil, you have a variety of choices. The best one to use will depend on what you plan on using the DIY peppermint oil after all is said and done. Or you can simply opt to use whatever you already have around the house (olive oil, we’re looking at you!)
Here are some of the most popular commonly used carrier oils, as well as each of their unique benefits. When you make homemade peppermint oil, you will also reap the benefits of the carrier oil that you’re using as well as the benefits of the peppermint.
This carrier oil is probably the most easily accessible one on the list. You probably already have some in your kitchen! Plus, olive oil is cost effective. If you’re buying new olive oil for this project, you’ll surely be able to use the rest of the oil in the kitchen while cooking. Plus, olive oil has antimicrobial properties and contains antioxidants.
While this carrier oil isn’t as popular as olive oil, it’s still a great choice. It is also cost effective and can be used in cooking as well, so you won’t have to worry about wasting the bottle. It’s slightly lighter weight than olive oil, and is a good choice if you don’t love the smell of olive oil.
Bonus: It contains Vitamin E, which can be beneficial for skin topically. Like olive oil, grapeseed oil also has antioxidants and antimicrobial properties.
This carrier oil is much-loved oil for its hydrating and nourishing properties. Aside from those benefits, coconut oil has antimicrobial properties. The ingredient is readily available in grocery stores and can be used for this project, as well as various beauty and cooking uses.
A slightly more expensive but cult favorite carrier oil is jojoba oil. This one most likely will not be available at the grocery store, but you can find it online or at beauty specialty stores, because the oil has many beauty benefits.
How to Make Peppermint Oil: Step-by-Step Peppermint Oil Recipe
Essential oil recipes aren’t difficult to follow, and there’s no need to search for printable recipes online. As much as anything, the procedure for creating your peppermint oil consists of just a few common sense steps.
Step 1: Obtaining the peppermint leaves
First, you need to obtain the mint leaves from the plant. If you happen to grow peppermint in your garden, go ahead and pick off a good amount of leaves off of the plant. Otherwise, buy some fresh mint from the herbs section of the grocery store. (You can substitute spearmint if you wish, but even though they’re both members of the mentha family, peppermint has a much stronger taste than spearmint because it contains menthol.)
Step 2: Washing and drying the peppermint leaves
Regardless of whether the peppermint was home-grown or store-bought, you will need to wash it. Throw the mint leaves into a strainer or colander and thoroughly rinse them with water. Then, you will need to completely dry the herbs. Lay all the mint leaves spread out on paper towels and then wait!
Step 3: Preparing the peppermint leaves
Using whatever you have, whether it’s a spoon, knife, or mortar and pestle, you need to crush up the leaves. You don’t have to chop them into little pieces. The point is just to get that amazing oil released from the peppermint herbs. This is how you extract the oil that harnesses all the good stuff.
Step 4: Making the oil
Now, you’re finally ready to make your essential oil. The peppermint oil recipe simply consists of the peppermint leaves and the carrier oil you chose. Grab your jar and put a good amount of the crushed mint leaves in there. Then, take your carrier oil of choice and completely cover all the leaves. You don’t want to fill up the whole jar, otherwise the extract will be too diluted. Seal the jar nice and tight.
Step 5: Wait
Let your concoction sit for at least 24 hours. For extra potency, you can wait three days, if you wish.
Step 6: Straining
After the waiting period is over, grab your strainer or cheesecloth and strain out the mint leaves. You can strain it into a separate cup or bowl. You’ll just be adding it right back into the jar once you’ve strained out the leaves.
Step 7: Repeat
Repeat the first set of steps to prepare more leaves to be added into the jar. Add in the mint leaves and a little bit more carrier oil, and then seal the jar.
Let the oil sit with the newly added leaves for another 24 hours, and then repeat the process again, for at least two more days. Three days is usually the magic number, but you can certainly do more if you want the oil to be more concentrated.
Step 8: Enjoy!
Now your DIY peppermint oil is all ready to use for whatever purpose you wish! If you have extra oil you wish to store, put it in a fully-sealed bottle and keep it in a cool, dark place.
Important disclaimer: Even though you made your essential oil with a carrier oil, you will still need to dilute it with more carrier oil if you want to use it topically. You should never put an essential oil — homemade or not — undiluted on your skin, as it can be irritating and harmful to the skin.
Essential oil consultant and expert Jimm Harrison, who is also a skincare expert, recommends a high carrier oil-to-essential oil ratio. He told Public Goods, “Dilute it down to maybe 2%, which means that you’re going to put about 15 drops in a one-ounce bottle.”
How to Use Your Peppermint Oil
There are so many great uses for your homemade mint oil. Benefits range from health remedies to household purposes. Please note: Before trying anything new with your health routine, you should always consult with your doctor first.
Here are some great ways to use your homemade essential oil:
- Use it in a diffuser for aromatherapy to create a refreshing aroma and boost your overall mood. “[Peppermint] actually has a kind of a joyful, uplifting feel to it,” Harrison said. Diffuse it in your office when you feel like you need a lift, or in your bedroom in the morning to start the day off right.
- Make a DIY vapor rub by diluting the essential oil extract with a carrier oil and rubbing some on your chest with a cotton ball. The naturally-occurring menthol in peppermint will help clear your sinuses, loosen phlegm and suppress coughs.
- Put a few drops of peppermint essential oil at the bottom of your shower and allow the steam to diffuse the aroma around the shower. Breathing in the minty steam will also help clear sinuses and ease coughs; it may also help with indigestion.
- Peppermint essential oil can be used to actually try to ward off viruses like colds and flu as well, since according to Harrison, peppermint has antiviral properties. He recommends diffusing it for this purpose as well, especially during the cold and flu season.
- Many people find that peppermint oil is great for headache relief. You can mix it with a carrier oil and apply some to your temples.
- Use it as a refreshing massage oil (remember to mix with a carrier oil). It’s also good for foot baths; just mix about ten drops of the oil with Epsom salts and baking soda to ease your tired feet.
- Peppermint essential oil is a powerful tool in a skin care regime. It can cleanse and rejuvenate skin, unplug pores, and help fight mild cases of acne. Again, it needs to be diluted with carrier oil before use on the skin.
- Get relief from asthma symptoms by using a diffuser with the oil or using the DIY vapor rub method. Note that this is not a replacement for your current asthma medications and/or inhaler.
- Ease your discomfort from sunburn or sore muscles by mixing some peppermint essential oil with carrier oil and applying to the affected area to provide a cooling effect. You could also mix it with aloe vera gel for double cooling power.
- Mix it with shampoo and apply it to your scalp to stimulate hair growth. One study found that peppermint is effective for this use.
- Because it has antimicrobial properties, it can also be used for an extra deep scalp clean.
- Make a DIY bug repellent spray with it, because bugs are put off by peppermint. You can use it for a pest control spray in the garden or in your home.
- Create a natural disinfectant spray for your home by mixing the essential oil with white vinegar in a spray bottle. You can spray it on kitchen or bathroom counters, for example.
Now that you know how to make peppermint oil, you can enjoy the process of making your very own essential oil, as well as all the benefits the oil can bring. We turn to synthetic, unnatural medications and products so much these days, so it’s nice to go back to the basics and remember the amazing properties of plants.
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