Peppermint oil has a penetrating odour. It is a colourless or pale yellow liquid. The main chemical component of Peppermint oil is Menthol. It is obtained by steam distillation of the flowering herb of Mentha Arvensis. Mentha Arvensis is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 10-60 cm (rarely to 100 cm) tall. The leaves are in opposite pairs, simple, 2-6.5 cm long and 1-2 cm broad, hairy, and with a coarsely serrated margin. The flowers are pale purple (occasionally white or pink), in clusters on the stem, each flower 3-4 mm long.
Peppermint oil has a long tradition of medicinal use, with archaeological evidence placing its use at least as far back as ten thousand years ago. Peppermint oil can be used for cough, cold, ulcers, headaches, to increase local blood flow, to stimulate secretion of bile, for alimentary canal pains, in cholera and diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, to disguise the taste of unpalatable drugs, in raising internal heat, influenza, hysteria, rheumatism, neuralgia, lumbago, sea-sickness, puerperal fevers, dermatitis, scabies, burns, muscular pains, cramps, arthritis, migraines, insomnia, shock and mental fogginess, dental cures, to treat sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, to fight bad breath, to treat oily scalps, to relieve stress, helps in digestion, improves dull and oily skin, in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and bloating. It helps combat itching and minor skin irritations, to treat dandruff and head lice. It is an anti-septic, stimulant, anaesthetic, antibacterial, carminative, stomachic, anti-spasmodic and disinfectant.
Peppermint oil is used in perfumes, scented products, foods, cosmetics, chewing gums, creams, balms, toners and lotions, liniments, tooth paste, shampoos and soaps. It is used as a hair conditioner, and widely used in aroma therapy. The oil is used in sprout control in Potatoes. It prevents the infestation of ants, aphids, plant lice and types of mice, gophers, moles, etc., it is a mosquitoe and flea repellant.