Many sources treat spearmint as a milder, gentler form of peppermint, but the two oils have very different chemical makeups and very different effects. Unlike Peppermint oil, Spearmint Essential Oil is calming, relaxing, and uplifting, rather than stimulating. As such, it is a useful oil in treating mental fatigue and depression. (A nice alternative to the more familiar citrus oils for these conditions.)
I use the hydrosol to cool off in the summer as a refreshing cooling spray.
One friend swears by it for headaches, others use in a facial soap for oily skin. Spearmint is a proven antibacterial and antifungal so should be useful in inhalation for respiratory infections, and in topical applications for skin infections. (Blend it with other oils and dilute well, to avoid irritation.) Its lighthearted aroma would be a refreshing change from the more commonly recommended antibacterial oils.
An inhalation of spearmint alone, or with a drop or two of lime or ginger, is said to be an appetite stimulant. (Wonderful during the dog days of summer when it’s just too hot to eat?)
Research has shown it effective against dust mites, although I’m not sure how that particular laboratory study would translate into real life.
A blend of equal parts peppermint and spearmint would be a delightfully refreshing “in the car” blend. Our friend Rick used to love this combination.
SHELF LIFE: Approximately 2 to 3 years after you open the bottle. Storing in the dark, refrigerated, and decanting half full bottles into smaller, full bottles will extend shelf life.
Photo courtesy of The Essential Herbal Magazine