Spearmint vs Peppermint Essential Oil - What's the Difference?

Spearmint and peppermint essential oils are two of the most popular mint essential oils on the market. They have a wide variety of uses, including aiding in digestion, easing nausea, and reducing inflammation. Spearmint oil is made by steam distilling the leaves of the spearmint plant, while peppermint oil is made by steam distilling the leaves and stems of the peppermint plant. Keep reading to learn more about these two minty oils.
Spearmint vs Peppermint Essential Oil - What's the Difference?

A bit of mint can be great in keeping your life fresh and a little minty freshness goes a long way! Peppermint and spearmint essential oils can give you quite a bit of minty freshness, but which is best? In this blog post, find out the differences of spearmint vs peppermint essential oil.

These two essential oils may sound similar, but they have different chemical compounds resulting in two different sets of effects. The versatility of the chemical compounds of spearmint essential oil, that are not present in peppermint, make it the go-to for minty freshness.

When using essential oils, it is important to dilute them with a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil before applying them to the skin. Peppermint and spearmint essential oils can be used in diffusers, together or alone. You can also add them to a massage blend or to an invigorating foot bath.

Spearmint vs Peppermint Essential Oil

While peppermint and spearmint have different chemical compositions, they do have some similarities. For one, both oils have a refreshing, minty aroma.

Both peppermint and spearmint are known to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can slow damage to cells, and in some cases prevent the damage from occurring. There have been links made between oxidative stress and heart disease, arthritis, cancers, and other inflammatory conditions. 

Additionally, both peppermint and spearmint oil can have analgesic properties. These are properties that can temporarily relieve various sources of pain in the body. While they both contain these properties, the primary compound releasing the properties is slightly different. 

Spearmint vs peppermint oil by Loving Essential Oils

Peppermint Power

Peppermint oil (Mentha piperita) has a refreshing, uplifting scent that is invigorating and energizing. It is used as an aromatherapy oil to boost energy levels, relieve fatigue, and improve mental clarity. Peppermint oil is also effective at repelling insects, making it a great natural alternative to chemical-based insect repellents.

Peppermint Essential Oil Properties

Peppermint is a great essential oil and does have many uses. It is known to have three primary chemical compounds that contribute to most of the common effects of the essential oil. Peppermint oil is known to have a high menthol content. Here are the three compounds:

  • Menthol
  • Menthone
  • Eucalyptol

The high menthol content of peppermint essential oil gives peppermint the almost numbing feeling. It is known to provide temporary pain relief. Menthol is the same cooling element frequently used in Icy Hot to relieve pain. 

Menthone is a monoterpene that has been known to relieve congestion, relieve nerve tension and stimulate blood circulation. These factors all contribute to the invigorating nature of the peppermint essential oil. 

Eucalyptol (1,8-cineole or cineole) is known as one of the primary sources that give the antioxidant properties. Eucalyptol is also known for its bronchodilating properties that allow for ease of use of the respiratory system. 

Peppermint Essential Oil Benefits

Peppermint essential oil has a variety of benefits that can be helpful for your health. Peppermint oil can help to relieve tension headaches and migraines. It can also aid in digestion and help to relax the muscles in your digestive tract.

This powerful mint oil is also used topically to relieve muscle pain and insect bites. Peppermint essential oil has a cooling sensation when applied to the skin, which can also help to soothe sunburns or ease hot flashes.

Peppermint can also help to improve your breathing and clear your sinuses. When diffused, peppermint oil can help to clear congestion and reduce sinus pressure. In addition, peppermint essential oil has potent antimicrobial properties that can help to keep you healthy.

It can also help to improve your mental clarity and focus. If you are looking for an essential oil with a variety of benefits, Peppermint essential oil is a good option.

Peppermint Essential Oils Uses and Benefits by Loving Essential Oils

Spearmint Sensation 

Spearmint essential oil has a fresh, minty smell that is both energizing and refreshing. It is often used in aromatherapy to help improve concentration and focus. In addition, spearmint essential oil can also help to relieve headaches and nausea.

It is perfect for diffusing during hot summer days or using in a cooling spray. Try using spearmint essential oil while studying or working on a project. The minty smell will help you to focus and stay on task. 

When diffused in the air, this mint essential oil can also help to purify the air and eliminate odors. To experience the benefits of spearmint essential oil, simply add a few drops to your diffuser or apply topically to the temples or back of the neck after diluting in a carrier oil.

Spearmint Essential Oil Properties

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) has four major chemical compounds that contribute to a majority of its effects. These are known to populate spearmint essential oil:

  • Carvone
  • Limonene
  • Eucalyptol
  • B-myrcene

Carvone is a member of a family of chemicals called terpenoids. It has antibacterial, antiparasitic and antimicrobial properties. These properties are present in spearmint essential oil. 

Limonene is not only found in spearmint essential oils but can be found in other oils. It is classified as a monoterpene, and is the major component in the oil of citrus fruit peels. For instance, bergamot is known to have high levels of limonene. This compound is known to have benzodiazepine-like properties that can make you feel tranquil and relaxed. 

Eucalyptol (1.8-cineole) and B-myrcene both are known to have similar anxiolytic properties. There is a strong sense of relaxation when using spearmint essential oils due to the high concentration of compounds that release anti-anxiety-like effects on the body.

Spearmint Essential Oil Benefits

Spearmint essential oil has a wide variety of benefits that make it a popular choice for natural health enthusiasts. One of the most well-known benefits of spearmint oil is its ability to improve digestion. This oil can help to soothe an upset stomach and relieve gas and bloating.

It has a refreshing and uplifting scent that can boost your mood and energy levels. In addition, Spearmint oil is a natural expectorant, making it a great choice for soothing coughs and colds. This oil can also be used for household cleaning, as a natural insecticide, and to freshen up musty spaces. 

Spearmint oil is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to relieve pain and swelling. I especially enjoy using spearmint essential oil in recipes intended for easing stress or headaches. Whether you are looking to improve your digestion or simply want to enjoy the refreshing scent of Spearmint, this essential oil is a great choice.

Spearmint Essential Oils Uses and Benefits by Loving Essential Oils

Peppermint vs Spearmint Oil - Which Mint Is Best?

Both mint oils are excellent oils to use. However, when examining the positive effects and properties of each oil it becomes clear that spearmint has a bit of an edge when it comes to stress and relaxation.

Spearmint, with its anti-anxiety properties, can reduce levels of stress to prevent the build-up of tension. A stress-free mind can do wonders to make a stress-free body.

Aromatherapy is a great way to calm kids down without medication. If using essential oils with a child, spearmint essential oil is the better choice between spearmint oil and peppermint oil. Spearmint essential oil can be used for everything from calming nerves before an important test to easing bedtime restlessness. Learn more about essential oils and kids and get a free PDF download.

Peppermint is a great essential oil for physical ailments. It can target and relieve different forms of physical pain. It is wonderful for tension and the pain that can come with stress. However, it doesn’t do as much to reduce the actual stress that is causing the tension.

Which Smells Better - Peppermint or Spearmint?

Peppermint and spearmint both have a clean, refreshing scent that can uplift your mood and help to clear your sinuses. But which one smells better?

Most people can't tell the difference between peppermint and spearmint. They smell very similar, but there are some subtle differences. Peppermint has a slightly sharper, more mentholated smell, while spearmint is sweeter and more herbaceous.

If you're trying to decide which one to use in your home, it really comes down to personal preference. Some people find that peppermint is invigorating and refreshing, while others find it too strong. Spearmint, on the other hand, is more mellow and can be used in a wider variety of settings.

So Which Smells Better - Peppermint or Spearmint? In our opinion, it depends on your personal preference. If you like strong, sharp scents, then peppermint oil may be the better choice for you. If you prefer softer, sweeter smells, then spearmint oil may be a better option. Ultimately, it comes down to what you prefer.

How to Use Peppermint and Spearmint Essential Oils

Both essential oils are great in a diffuser. Add a few drops of either minty oil to some water in an aromatherapy diffuser and allow the aroma to fill the room.

Inhaling the aroma deeply through the nose allows the oil molecules to go through the olfactory system and the respiratory system, all the way to the brain. This process allows the body to fully immerse itself in the oil.

Spearmint and Peppermint Blends


Stress Relief Diffuser Blend

  • 4 drops Spearmint
  • 2 drop Eucalyptus
  • 2 drops Peppermint

Spearmint Oil vs Peppermint Oil by Loving Essential Oils | Stress Relief Blend with Eucalyptus

Citrus Frost

  • 3 drops Spearmint
  • 2 drops Peppermint
  • 2 drops Tangerine

Spearmint and Peppermint oil blend by Loving Essential Oils | Citrus Frost with tangerine

Another helpful way of using these oils is to add them to a carrier oil or a lotion and make a mixture. This mixture can then be applied topically to the wrists, the back of the neck and shoulders, as well as the temporal muscle.

You can also add a few drops of either mint essential oil to a diffuser necklace or bracelet to enjoy the benefits throughout the day. Or in an essential oil inhaler, try this recipe.


Peaceful Mint Inhaler

  • 5 drops Lavender oil
  • 4 drops Clary Sage oil
  • 3 drops Spearmint oil
  • 2 drops Peppermint oil

Peppermint and Spearmint Essential Oil Blends by Loving Essential Oils | Peaceful Mint Inhaler Blend with Lavender and Clary Sage

Conclusion of Peppermint vs Spearmint Essential Oil

Peppermint and spearmint oil are two wonderful additions to your essential oil collection. While spearmint may have more chemical compounds that can relieve a wide variety of troubles, you can’t go wrong with either minty oil.

Peppermint is a hybrid of water mint and spearmint, and it has a sharper, more intense flavor. Spearmint, on the other hand, is sweeter and gentler. When it comes to smell, peppermint has a stronger aroma while spearmint is more subtle.

Ultimately, the best way to figure out which one you like best is to smell them both for yourself. To keep that minty freshness in your life, enjoy a little spearmint or peppermint... or both!

Where to Buy Essential Oils?

Don't have the essential oils you need? Here are some of our favorite brands:

Share on Pinterest

Spearmint and Peppermint Essential Oil - Which Smells Better? by Loving Essential Oils
Get answers on top essential oil questions for beginners to seasoned pros.

Frequently Asked Questions on Essential Oils

Essential oils are popular as all-natural, homeopathic remedies for everyday health issues. From headache pain to sleep issues, many people have reported positive results from essential oils. Yet despite their growing popularity, there is still much confusion and many misunderstandings about what they are and how they can be used safely and effectively. We've compiled our top frequently asked questions (FAQs) in therapeutic essential oil use.

Follow Us: