By Virginia, Contributing Writer
Peppermint essential oil is one of my favorites. It is refreshing and invigorating, and oh so peppermint-y. If you’re like me you might say, “I’m comfortable using essential oils on myself, but what about my kids?” Today we’re going to talk peppermint essential oil safety.
Essential oils are powerful tools to use to support your family’s health. While they are great assets, they also come with a responsibility to use them wisely. Essential oils are potent, and need to be used responsibly, especially around the most vulnerable members of our families.
Let’s take a look at how peppermint essential oil can be used safely in our homes.
Is Peppermint Essential Oil Safe?
Peppermint essential oil can be a great asset during pregnancy. Many moms find relief from feelings of nausea related to morning sickness by diffusing peppermint,or even sniffing it out of the bottle. This might be a great time to use diffuser jewelry!
Peppermint can also be used to boost energy or focus your mind when you’re feeling tired or unfocused. One of my favorite “wake up and get it done” blends is peppermint and orange.
Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil or even Olive Oil make a great carrier oil. This mixes with your essential oils before you apply to your skin. A 1% dilution (1 drop of eo per 1 tsp of carrier oil) is recommended for pregnant women.
Peppermint essential oil also makes a great foot soak. Put a handful of epsom salts into a soaking tub, add a drop or 2 of peppermint (and maybe some lavender), stir it up, and add warm water. I like to make this up and store it in a baggie or a jar to have on hand.
NOTE: Some people recommend ceasing the use of peppermint in the later stages of pregnancy because it can reduce milk supply. Essential oils are metabolized very quickly in the body, so I don’t know if using peppermint during pregnancy is going to affect milk production after birth. I haven’t been able to find concrete information on that, but it’s something that should be noted.
Peppermint essential oil can be used during labor for many of the same reasons it’s used during pregnancy! Calming nausea and improving focus are also fantastic uses during labor.
In addition to those wonderful uses, peppermint essential oil is cooling to the body. I know when I was in labor I got really hot. Add a couple drops of peppermint essential oil to a spray bottle of water, and mist it onto your body to give a cooling effect.
Peppermint essential oil is known to reduce milk supply for some women when they use it while breastfeeding, so before you use essential oils postpartum, keep this in mind. Some women notice a marked change in their supply while others don’t.
Peppermint essential oil can be used to relieve feelings of tension and to promote clear respiratory function.
If you do choose to use peppermint essential oil on yourself, please bear in mind that it is not safe for use with infants and should be kept away from your new baby. Oils like lavender and roman chamomile can also be used for reducing tension, and are safer options to use around a newborn.
Peppermint is high in a compound called 1,8 cineole. 1,8 cineole is great for promoting clear breathing, and it’s why we love to use oils like peppermint and eucalyptus for this purpose. However, it has also been shown to slow respiration in infants.
This means that a child exposed to 1,8 cineole may begin to breathe more slowly and decrease their oxygen intake. Not a good idea.
Please do not use peppermint essential oil with your newborn or infant. For babies a little older, maybe 6 months or so, try using cypress essential oil to promote clear breathing instead of peppermint.
Most aromatherapists do not recommend using peppermint essential oil on children younger than 6. Essential oils are very versatile, so you likely can find another safer oil to replace peppermint for your child during those younger years.
Now go and use your peppermint essential oil with confidence!