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Huile essentielle de menthe poivrée : anti-inflammatoire ?

The peppermint essential oil for its anti-inflammatory action?

The essential oil of peppermint comes from the Mentha x piperita plant, which is obtained through steam distillation. Used since ancient times for its medicinal properties, it is also believed to have anti-inflammatory action. Learn more in this article.

Summary
Published February 9, 2024, by Manon, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read

Peppermint Essential Oil: What is it?

Thepeppermint essential oil is a natural oil. It comes from a variety of mint known as mentha x piperita. Peppermint essential oil is typically extracted from the leaves of the plant through steam distillation. This process allows for the production of a pure oil that is concentrated in active ingredients. Peppermint was already used in ancient times for its medicinal properties and pleasant aroma. Indeed, it has a characteristic fresh and herbaceous scent that is reminiscent of mint.

Today, peppermint essential oil is widely available and appreciated for its numerous beneficial properties. Its uses are diverse: it is used in aromatherapy, alternative medicine, cosmetics, and in many household products.

The anti-inflammatory action of peppermint essential oil.

Theskin inflammation is a response to an external assault (physical, chemical, immunological, or infection). The body will thus initiate an inflammatory reaction to counter these attacks. Pain, redness, swelling, or a sensation of heat are clinical signs of skin inflammation.

Peppermint essential oil can be used as an anti-inflammatory. This is possible due to certain active ingredients it contains, namely:

  • Menthol;

  • Menthone.

The combined action of these active ingredients gives peppermint oil its anti-inflammatory properties. Peppermint essential oil has refreshing properties. As a thermoregulator, it can be used to lower the temperature in the area affected by inflammation. This property comes from the menthol present in high concentration (30 to 55%) in peppermint essential oil which works by stimulating the skin's thermo-receptors, leading to profound analgesia, that is, significant pain relief. The targeted receptors are the TRPM8 receptors, which are sensitive to cold temperatures, and play an important role in inflammation, pain, and itching (pruritus) processes. This property has been proven and has resulted in a decrease in body temperature of 2 to 4 °C.

Menthol also has the ability to inhibit the production of inflammatory molecules such as prostaglandin PGE-2, interleukin-IL-1-β, and leukotriene LTB-4. It can also block calcium channels involved in the production of cytokines and the transmission of pain signals. By reducing neuronal excitability, it can help to alleviate the sensation of pain associated with inflammation. This has the effect of reducing the sensation of heat and pain that can be generated by the inflammatory response.

Menthone (14 to 32%), another compound found in peppermint essential oil, has significantly inhibited the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, specifically TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6.

Thepeppermint essential oil thus possesses interesting properties to alleviate various conditions related to inflammation. However, note that although peppermint essential oil does not treat the underlying cause of the inflammation.

Sources

ALANKAR S. A Review on peppermint oil. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research (2009).

KEHILI S. & al. Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) essential oil as a potent anti-inflammatory, wound healing and anti-nociceptive drug. European Journal of Biological Research (2020).

CHEN X. & al. A Natural Plant Ingredient, Menthone, Regulates T Cell Subtypes and Lowers Pro-inflammatory Cytokines of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Journal of Natural Products (2022).

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