1. Use the Real Stuff
After I got my first pack of essential oils, I went to Target to get a second diffuser—a small one for my office. Kind of like that one in the link, just enough to enjoy the benefits of energizing and calming essential oil (EO) blends in my small professor office (which now has a window, but that’s a story for another day).
The diffuser I chose had a promotion inside, “FREE Peppermint Essential Oil Inside!” I already had a 15ml of Peppermint (Mentha piperita), so I didn’t really need more of that oil… but it’s free. And I liked that diffuser. Win-Win. Right?
I opened the Free Peppermint bottle and it smelled like peppermint candy. You know that minty smell that is always the same? No matter what? Since I could remember, Peppermint just smells like Peppermint. It just does. But that scent surprised me when I smelled the oil inside the bottle…. because that’s not the aroma of the true Essential Oil.
There’s a real difference between what we commonly refer to as “Peppermint” and the essential oil Mentha piperita. It’s much stronger, the menthol awakens your lungs and provides a strong cooling sensation to the touch. Now, I’m not using the Latin binomial just to be pretentious, that name distinguishes what has been synthetically manufactured and mass produced from the oil extracted from a Peppermint plant. What we are used to experiencing is not the true EO.
This is also common with Lavender; the scent we are used to is much sweeter than the aroma of the essential oil Lavender, or Lavandula angustifolia (the most commonly used Lavender EO). Lavender grown in Bulgaria has a slightly sweeter smell, but the real EO has a stronger, herbaceous aroma.
That’s why when you purchase any kind of EO, you need to look at the ingredients. If the bottle says, “Lavender Essential Oil” or “Peppermint Oil” and does not have the Latin name… you don’t really know what is in there. You are most likely purchasing a diluted concoction of an essential oil with other vegetable oil or synthetic compounds.
And, it’s probably being sold at a cheaper price for a reason. Why buy this doTerra or Aura Cacia bottle of Peppermint when I can get this other bottle of “Peppermint Essential Oil” for half of the price? Because it’s not really Peppermint. It doesn’t have the same expectorant, antiviral, or decongestant benefits. It doesn’t have the rich menthol components found in nature. It’s just going to smell like one of those mints they give you for free at a restaurant.
There’s a reason why they’re free, and why the “Peppermint” in the box was free—they’re cheap to manufacture. You get what you pay for.
It’s different than the harvesting and distilling process used to make capture the essential oils in a plant. There can also be negative dermal reactions, and you most certainly should not consume “Peppermint Essential Oil,” in contrast to French Aromatherapy practices that use the real deal, Mentha piperita.
I give you permission to use the Latin binomial name in real life. People will think you are smart. That’s an unofficial benefit of Essential Oils, using Latin names increases perceived intelligence.