What we know as the versatile and potent peppermint plant is actually what is known as a hybrid mint. It is a cross between watermint and spearmint, and though it is cultivated worldwide, it is indigenous to Europe and the Middle East. When the leaves are crushed, peppermint oil can be extracted through a distillation process involving steam, and the result is pure peppermint essential oil. Peppermint oil has a multitude of medicinal, aromatherapy, and household uses, but like all essential oils it is incredibly potent. While there are some remedies that all for the application of neat—or undiluted—oil, those with sensitive skin may experience irritation.
The safest way to apply peppermint oil topically is with a carrier oil. Essential oils are not water soluble, and an easier method of application is to mix the neat oil with a vegetable or other natural oils. Different oils of course produce different experiences however; what is a good fit in one circumstance may not be a good fit in another. Another point to remember is that many supermarket oils are heavily refined. This means that even though they are food grade, they may still have traces of petroleum and other adulterants.
Nearly any food grade oil derived from nuts, vegetables, or seeds is suitable for aromatherapy application but the best choices for purity are those labeled ‘organic’ or ‘cold-pressed’. These are minimally processed and will have the highest levels of vitamins and minerals to nourish skin.
For many aromatherapy applications, sheer and light oils are best. The following list contains some of the most popular light body oils for the aromatherapy application on peppermint oil.
Sweet Almond Oil
Each of those oils is light or medium weight and absorb quickly, though the list includes a spectrum of availability and cost: some of those oils can be tough to find and expensive to purchase. Traditional cold pressed olive oil and peanut oil, two very common oils that are fairly inexpensive, are both also very effective for a variety of applications as well.
Any homemade recipes will outline the appropriate dilution of essential oil with your chosen carrier oil, but if there’s ever a circumstance where the formula is unclear remember the following basic guideline: A general rule of thumb is to dilute your essential oils to a concentration of no more than 2% strength.While 2 percent may seem like a low dose, remember that pure essential oils are highly concentrated and even just a few drops are highly potent.
Some experts have found that concentrations of peppermint essential oil as high as 5% pose little medical risk to adults, but each user should test varying strengths of peppermint oil solutions to see what his or her particular sensitivity is. What is important to remember however, is that essential oils are rarely safe for an infant, even heavily diluted essential oil solutions. Always consult a doctor before exposing an infant or a small child to essential oil solutions.