Spearmint essential oil is a milder version of peppermint oil. But it still has amazing properties. Let’s check out the spearmint essential oil benefits, properties and uses.
Properties of Spearmint Oil
The botanical name of spearmint is Mentha spicata. Be sure to check this name when buying spearmint essential oil. And, remember, the botanical name for peppermint is Mentha piperita.
Color & Scent
Spearmint essential oil typically has a clear to pale yellow color. And, as if it needs to be said, spearmint oil has a warm, minty scent which is not as sharp as peppermint oil.
What’s in spearmint oil?
More than 60 compounds have been found in spearmint essential oil. The most notable compounds are carvone (which makes up between 40-78% of the oil) and limonene (11-20%).
Other chemicals in spearmint oil include: beta-bourbonene, cis-dihydrocarveol, trans-caryophyllene, menthone, menthol, eucalyptol, beta-pinene and terpinen-4-ol.
These compounds are responsible for spearmint’s many benefits which we’ll see below.
Spearmint Essential Oil Benefits
As you’ve seen, spearmint is a bit milder and gentler than peppermint but it’s just as good! So let’s get into the proven benefits of spearmint essential oil:
- reduces nausea and vomiting
- combats free radicals
- reduces inflammation
- kills bacteria and fungi
- kills and repels insects, spiders, ticks and mites
Studies proving these benefits are below.
Spearmint can help with nausea and vomiting
Spearmint essential oil is a natural remedy for nausea and vomiting. And that’s according to several studies done recently.
One from 2013 looked at the use of peppermint and spearmint essential oils on the nausea and vomiting of patients undergoing chemotherapy. Patients were given a capsule containing 2 drops of either oil or a placebo in addition to their normal nausea medication. And they were asked to record the number of times they felt sick or threw up, how intense these feelings were and any side effects they experienced.
The findings of this study were interesting. Both oils showed a significant decrease in the number of times the patients felt ill and their feelings were less intense than before. Plus these findings happened within the first day of taking the capsules and no side effects were reported. Amazing right?
Now, another (unrelated) 2013 study used aromatherapy blends with ginger, spearmint, peppermint, and cardamom essential oils to treat the nausea of 300 post-op patients. The blends were given to the patients to inhale three times and, five minutes later, they were asked about their levels of nausea. The results were similar to the previous one! The patients felt a significant decrease in the nausea after inhaling the essential oils.
These studies prove spearmint does have antiemetic benefits. So when you’re feeling nauseous or ill, take a whiff of spearmint oil!
It is antioxidant
Spearmint essential oil has antioxidant benefits which means it can neutralize any free radicals on your skin. Remember, free radicals are terrible compounds that can damage your cells’ DNA, affect your skin’s collagen production, and can even cause wrinkles and cancer.
Yikes! Not to worry though, like many essential oils, spearmint is antioxidant, as proven by this 2015 study. In fact, the study used four different tests to check the antioxidant potency of spearmint oil. And all showed excellent results!
Way to go spearmint!
Spearmint oil is anti-inflammatory
Besides being antiemetic and antioxidant, spearmint essential oil has also shown anti-inflammatory benefits. This 2008 animal study demonstrated these effects. So you can ease any rashes, dermatitis, acne, red, irritated skin, tired muscles, aching joints and more with spearmint essential oil.
It is antibacterial
Spearmint oil has shown good antibacterial benefits according to a very recent study.
The study tested spearmint on common food-related pathogens including E. coli, Salmonella typhimurium and Staphylococcus aureus. And the results showed spearmint oil inhibited all the bacteria tested. It also found the combination of both carvone and limonene was responsible for the antibacterial nature. This is valid since carvone is considered one of the most efficient antimicrobial compounds that can be found in plants.
That being said, another 2015 study done on the Vibrio bacteria (which is responsible for illness due to undercooked seafood) showed spearmint oil only had moderate antibacterial effects. The study did compare spearmint to some powerful antibacterial essential oils like cumin, thyme, rosemary, and clove. And, while spearmint did perform well and inhibited the bacteria, it just wasn’t as potent as the others.
Still, spearmint oil is a moderate antibacterial oil that you can use for general cleaning.
It is also antifungal
There are several studies that validate spearmint’s antifungal effects.
A 2009 study tested thyme, peppermint and spearmint essential oils on 17 different species of fungi. Now, spearmint oil was not as potent as thyme; probably because thyme is one of the best anti-fungal essential oils. Nevertheless, it still surpassed the anti-fungal effects of peppermint essential oil and the commercial fungicide, bifonazole. That means spearmint is very powerful, especially against fungi!
So you can use spearmint essential oil to deal with athlete’s foot, nail infections, dandruff, and other fungi-related skin and beauty problems.
It repels and kills insects
There is tremendous literature proving these spearmint oil benefits. A 2013 study tested the repellency of 21 essential oils (including spearmint, geranium, citronella, Roman chamomile, and anise) on yellowjackets (wasps). And spearmint was one of 17 essential oils that showed significant repellency against the wasps. Furthermore, carvone and eugenol were identified as the compounds responsible for these benefits.
Another study, done in 2012, looked at the effects spearmint oil had on the larvae of three mosquito species. The results showed spearmint was a potent larvicidal agent and found that carvone and limonene were the compounds responsible for these spearmint oil benefits.
Isn’t this oil awesome?
It repels ticks
Finally, spearmint is a powerful tick repellent. That is according to this 2012 study. Researchers of this study performed lab and field tests on the nymphs using rosemary, spearmint and marjoram essential oils. Spearmint provided a 93% repellency in the lab and a 60% repellency in the field.
Again, carvone and eucalyptol were identified as the tick repellent compounds. So use spearmint oil to keep ticks, mites, spiders and other arachnids away!
Spearmint Oil Uses
There are so many spearmint oil benefits! It really is an amazing oil. So now let’s look at some ways to use spearmint essential oil.
You can simply add 1-2 drops of spearmint to your diffuser for a wonderful minty smell. And it is milder and gentler than peppermint essential oil, with somewhat similar benefits. So if you find peppermint is too aggressive, swap it for spearmint!
Don’t forget you can use this oil to ease your nausea and vomiting. Just add a few drops of spearmint oil to a tissue and inhale deeply!
You can also blend spearmint with many other floral and spicy scents. You can use it with basil, eucalyptus, jasmine, lavender, lemon, peppermint, and rosemary essential oils.
Before using spearmint oil on your skin, always (always, always, always!) do a skin patch test. Like with all essential oils, simply mix 1-2 drops of the oil with a carrier like jojoba or coconut oil. Then dab a little of the mix onto the inside of your elbow or behind your ear. If that area burns, gets red or irritated in any way, then you’re allergic to the oil and shouldn’t use it on your skin. If, however, you don’t see these effects, then you can use it on your skin.
You can add 3-4 drops of spearmint oil to 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil and use it to treat any inflammatory, bacterial, or fungal skin problems you may have.
Although there are many wonderful uses of spearmint oil, you should know that it can irritate your nose, throat, lungs and other mucous membranes. And it can also irritate your skin. That’s why it is so important to test a little of the oil before using regular amounts.
So even though it is gentler than peppermint oil, it can still irritate your body.
Finally, like with all essential oils, check with your medical practitioner before using spearmint oil especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or suffer from any ailments.
Where to buy spearmint essential oil?