While walking in Pembrokeshire along the coastal paths recently, my daughter and I came across swathes of wild mint growing in the hedgerows near St David’s. There are about 14 or 15 species of mint growing in the UK, most of which have very aromatic leaves but I couldn’t be sure which hybrid this was: nevertheless, it was clearly thriving in the changeable damp conditions of the Welsh maritime climate. Peppermint is one of the few aromatics where plants grown in the UK, produce one of the highest quality essential oils available as it likes the cool, damp conditions. At Aqua Oleum we supply three different types of mint products: pure peppermint oil, organic peppermint oil (both from Mentha piperita) and spearmint flower water (Mentha spicata).

The key benefits of the mint family are that they are refreshing, bactericidal and cooling: peppermint tea is commonly used to help reduce fever in the herbal tradition. Used in a room diffuser, peppermint oil clears the sinuses to help us breathe more easily, and is good for head colds and to alleviate all sorts of chills or flu-like symptoms. The scent of peppermint oil is particularly reviving and uplifting so it can be a beneficial aid during exams especially if studying or working late. As a cerebral stimulant it is also valuable for easing mental fatigue, dizziness, lack of focus and for general feelings of nervous exhaustion or tiredness.

The major constituent of peppermint oil is menthol which can be up to 46% of it’s total content depending on the batch, as well as isomenthone (from 4-10%), which gives the oil it’s characteristic minty, fresh scent. These two components both have cooling and analgesic qualities, which is why peppermint oil can help soothe headaches along with more general bodily aches and pains: for example, it can help to ease some types of migraine simply by rubbing a drop of the oil onto the temples and the back of the neck. Peppermint can also help to soothe tummy aches and aid the digestion, which is why it is often beneficial to drink fresh peppermint tea after a heavy meal. Alternatively, in cases of digestive upsets, add a few drops of peppermint oil to a teaspoon of carrier oil and then rub this blend into the belly area gently in a clockwise direction.

Like peppermint oil, our spearmint water soothes headaches and helps prevent motion sickness, so it is a great addition to pop into your travel bag. Our spearmint floral water can be used as a light air freshener or deodorant and is lovely when used for refreshing tired feet after a long walk! Spearmint water also makes a safe and gentle refreshing facial tonic, which can be used as a cleanser/ toner as part as a daily skin routine. It is especially good for oily, blemished or acne-prone complexions due to its anti-bactericidal properties. Try spraying a little onto the roots of your hair after it is towel dry to impart a soft fragrance and re-energize your scalp: it’s antiseptic and fungicidal properties can also help to reduce dandruff.

Both peppermint and spearmint are naturally antifungal and antibacterial which makes them fantastic natural room purifiers for the home or work place. In the home, you can also use our spearmint water to clean countertops and surfaces, as well as to repel mosquitos and ants ... I have even heard that peppermint oil is one of the best ways of getting rid of troublesome mice naturally, although I haven’t tried it yet myself!

Note: Some people, especially those with sensitive skin, may experience a tingling sensation or allergic rash, when peppermint oil is applied to their skin, even in dilution: always carry out a patch test prior to use. Do not use peppermint oil on young children and avoid during the first 4 months of pregnancy; it also counteracts homeopathic remedies.