In this article we’ll try to sum up the most common uses of spearmints in aromatherapy; we’ll also try to list the occasions of when you would want to use spearmints to reinforce your well-being… and when you wouldn’t want to try to use it.
Although spearmints (Mentha Spicata) have been in use for thousands of years, their use in aromatherapy has longed only for a few centuries. It is either used for the menthol it contains, for the properties that the plant has (mostly scent), or in medicine. But, in aromatherapy, the spearmint has a whole lot different meaning – it is the plant that makes you feel very, very clean. You can dissolve a drop of oil in hot water or make yourself a spearmint tea and you’ll feel energized.
There are some occasions when you shouldn’t use spearmint, hence the menthol that is in it. First of all, menthol tends to make the blood-vessels contract (much like smoking does, but on a less extensive scale), and that means that those of you with blood-vessel problems can experience a wide variety of symptoms – from a little headache to more annoying side effects like a nosebleed. But overall, M. Spicata is as safe to use as… I don’t know, bread.
Spearmint grows more extensively than its neighbor plant – peppermint, but it is used in oil production on a lesser extent, thus, purchasing a spearmint essential oil can be more costly on your wallet than if you chose a peppermint alternative; but spearmints are also considered to be stronger than peppermints, so there is indeed a rather huge difference between the two. In herbal medicine, spearmints are used to reduce headaches (but as menthol contracts the blood-vessels, it will only reduce certain headaches), it is also used as a diuretic and has an anti-spasmodic effect. It also acts against infections and it is common to see it being applied to bruises and scars. It also shrinks tumors, but on a much lesser extent than the pharmaceuticals out there.
Throughout history spearmint has been subjected to a lot of numerous uses. First of all, it is used as an insecticide while it is still growing. If you are keen on growing mints, always be sure that you plant/sow them right beside plants that are known to be non-resistant to insects e.g. cabbages and tomatoes. It is used in teas and in vapors, or as a supplement to smoking mixtures, again, for its taste.
In aromatherapy, the use of spearmint essential oils is very straightforward – you can either add a few drops to the water in the bathtub, or, you can add spearmint oil to your favorite massage lotion or your aromatherapy diffuser. The main reason why it is used in aromatherapy is because M. Spicata possesses the vital antibacterial and antifungal properties. And let’s face it; we all like the pleasant scent that the spearmints possess.
All in all, aromatherapy is on a new wave with new plants used for essential oils every day. Hopefully, the new studies will remove the dim that inevitably surrounds the term ‘aromatherapy’ nowadays. As a side note, always remember that, although natural, many oils can be (and are) poisonous if taken orally, so always keep them away from the reach of children, since because of their nice smell, the essential oils and extracts can be easily confused with something drinkable.