Spearmint essential oil is extracted from Mentha spicata (also known as Mentha viridis) of the Labiatae family and is also known as common or garden spearmint and spire, green, lamb, pea and fish mint.
Although not as popular as peppermint oil, Spearmint essential oil is far gentler to use with children and has great benefits on the digestive system and relieves flatulence, constipation, vomiting and nausea, as well as the respiratory tract to relieve cough, bronchitis, asthma, catarrh and sinus. On the skin it calms itching and has a stimulant action on the mind.
Spearmint essential oil has a similar aroma to that of peppermint oil, but is slightly sweeter and is pale yellow to greenish in color.
It is a native of the Mediterranean area, and is a hardy perennial herb that reaches about 1 meter (3 feet) in height and has bright green lance-shaped, sharply serrated leaves and pink or lilac-colored flowers. Unlike peppermint, spearmint does not contain high amounts of menthol. The ancient Greeks used it to scent their bath water and it had a reputation for curing sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea. During the medieval times it was used to heal sore gums and also to whiten teeth.
Spearmint essential oil is extracted by steam distilling the flowering tops.
The therapeutic properties of spearmint oil are antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cephalic, emmenagogue, insecticide, restorative and stimulant.
The main chemical components of spearmint oil are a-pinene, b-pinene, carvone, 1,8-cineole, linalool, limonene, myrcene, caryophyllene and menthol (0.5% compared to the 40% in peppermint)
Spearmint essential oil can be effective for the digestive system, for the respiratory tract, for a tired mind and for skin problems.
Precautions and Uses
It is considered a non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing oil
When your mind is tired and in need of stimulating and upliftment, then spearmint oil is the one for you, and although it has many properties in common to that of peppermint oil, it contains only small amounts of menthol and is far less harsh on the skin and ideal for use in children. It is very useful to deal with digestive problems including flatulence, constipation, diarrhea and nausea, as it relaxes the stomach muscles and also relieves hiccups. Furthermore, it helps with headaches, migraines, nervous strain, fatigue and stress, as well as for the respiratory tract; helping with asthma, bronchitis, catarrh and sinusitis. On the skin it can relieve the itching of pruritus and helps with acne, dermatitis, congested skin and sore gums. For female health it can help to stem the flow of heavy periods and leucorrhoea and releases urine retention.
In vapor therapy, spearmint oil can be used for vomiting, colic, flatulence, headaches, migraines, nervous conditions, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis and catarrh.
Used as a blended massage oil or diluted in the bath, spearmint oil helps with headaches, migraines, stress, fatigue, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis and nervous conditions and to relieve itching.
When spearmint essential oil is used in a cream or lotion it can help for itching – specially in cases of pruritus or when scabs have formed, decongesting the skin and to a lesser degree acne as well.