How to Make Mint Oil

Mint2

PerfumeI have a problem on my hands and its name is mint.

By now my garden has gone all but fallow and has nothing but a massive cloud of almost invasive mint spewing forth out of its raised bed.

I say almost invasive.

You see, just a few months ago I had transplanted this particular mint plant to another part of the garden. I had been doing the square foot gardening method, and mint was inching its way, like an army, across the lines and into the Swiss Chard. It wasn’t letting up. It was lush and gorgeous and absolutely not where I wanted it. So I pulled it out — or so I thought — and replanted it in another bed, near the squash, where it would bother exactly no one.

Just a few weeks later it rose, Phoenix-like, out of the ashes, to take over its two square feet. Two turned into four, four turned into six, and now it is falling over onto itself in happiness if to say:

November gloom! Rainy-day epiphany! Look upon ye raised beds and despair not, for I shall inherit your earth!

Okay, it’s still just mint, and I have a whole crapload of it to use, so since my annual pledge to have a strawberry mojito party has come and gone and the time for mango, goat cheese and mighty might vinaigrette salad has passed, there really is only one thing to do, and that is make a mint oil.

Some uses for mint oil:

  • indigestion
  • sinus and respiratory infections
  • inflammation of the throat and mouth
  • headache
  • toothache
  • bacterial and viral infections
  • muscle pain
  • itchiness
  • Mosquito repellent

The uses of mint oil in a preparation, or used directly on the skin are legion, but I am most interested in its aroma therapeutic properties. It is the most widely used aromatherapy essential oil, and for good reason. It contains up to 70% menthol and has a camphoraceous scent that many people associate with cleanliness, freshness and energy. It can clear a congested system and is often employed at the end of massage to enliven the spirit and lull the person being massaged out of the relaxed state.

I don’t suggest you use mint oil at the office, but a little mint in an aroma diffuser or in a spray can help energize and keep focus if you’re working in a home office.

If you’ve got an abundance of mint at home and you need a good pick-me-up, try these steps to making your own mint oil. I note that this isn’t a true essential oil because the oils are stored in a carrier oil, in this case, jojoba, but the effect can be just as lovely.

You will need:

  • Mint — the amount depends on how much oil you want to make. Since there is no set ratio, plan on using as much as you can fit in your
  • Jar — with a a tight-fitting lid,like this one: Ball Jar
  • Kitchen Mallet — to lightly crush the leaves (you can also use a mortar and pestle)
  • A soft kitchen towel
  • Carrier oil — I use this Jojoba Oil, but any flavorless, odorless oil will do. I also like almond oil
  • A cheesecloth or fine-meshed strainer

1. Gather your mint
Pick leaves that are unbruised, gloriously green and without even a trace of brown. Good Lord, you have enough mint, so get the good stuff.

Mint1

2. Clean your mint
Wash them in cool water and let them air-dry on your counter.

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3. Dry the mint
Pick the leaves off the stems and just let them hang out until they are dry.

Mint4

4. Release the oils in the mint
I originally wrote “crush the mint,” but that would be a bad idea. Your goal here is to gently release the oils in the leaves, so tapping them with the mallet, or slow grinding in a mortar and pestle, will do the trick. Try not to bruise the leaves, or shred them.

Mint4

5. Smother the mint
Put the mint in the jar and cover it with the oil. Shake the jar a few times.

Mint5

6. Strain your mint
Keep the oil in a warm place for 24 hours, then strain the oil through a cheese cloth, removing the leaves.

Mint6

7. Contain your mint.
But not your enthusiasm!You can repeat steps 4-6, adding more peppermint, to make it stronger. I would try to use it up within 6 months.

Mint7

What about you? How do you like to use peppermint oil? How do you use up the peppermint in your garden before the first big freeze?

31 thoughts on “How to Make Mint Oil

  1. dinnersforwinners says:

    I had to get rid of my overgrown (in a pot!) mint plant, but I mostly used it for Middle-Eastern dishes when cooking, or in cocktails. I had no idea mint oil had so many beneficial uses. “Contain your oil, but not your excitement!” I love it, Emily. Bravo!

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  2. Emily Grosvenor says:

    This mint is unstoppable, but at least there are uses for it. It’s really no wonder that Oregon mint fields supply a lot of mint essential oil makers. I’m tempted to try spritzing my face with mint instead of the morning coffee. Wait, that’s just crazy…

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  3. Di Campillia-Williams says:

    Do you know if I could use coconut oil vs. jojoba oil for this recipe? Which is fabulous information that you have provided. I thank you to the moon & back for this info.

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      • Nicole Lannertone says:

        Hehe! No I sure didn’t. Maybe it was the grapeseed oil…Do the leaves smell different than the oil when you lift them out?? (Btw this post is awesome..your writing is so intriguing and funny!!)

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      • Emily Grosvenor says:

        I feel like mint leaves degrade quickly and start to smell off if they are in too long or if they are too muddled. I just lightly tapped mine with the meat tenderizer to release the oils. Oh — and thank you!

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      • Mariam says:

        This site is very helpful!! I’ve been trying to make Mint oil for a while now but have been unsuccessful. 😦 My first batch came out weird, they smelled stinky and spoiled like grass or leaves.. What did I do wrong? I used Olive Oil too, so any tips on how to make a homemade Mint Oil without it smelling stinky??! So help me out cuz I love Mint and I want to use it in a homemade Medicine ointment. Thank you!! 🙂

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    • Emily Grosvenor says:

      Theoretically, yes, but olive oil does have a scent and taste that is really powerful, so you’ll have to remember that. The result will be more like a mint-infused olive oil. Actually, that sounds delicious, doesn’t it!?

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  4. E Dai. says:

    My boyfriend’s Grandma bought mint two years ago and planted it in the front yard where it get ZERO sunlight, year ’round. I told her they’d never flourish there, but she just really wanted them to line her walking path. After two years of near non-growth from all of them, I requested she let me move them to the side of the house where they’d get 7 am to 7 pm sunlight. She wasn’t so sure about it at first, but I promised her they’d take off in a matter of weeks and she’d be able to pick as many leaves and stems off as she wanted and breathe in their sweet aroma on the way back to the garden. She conceded and I moved them. Gave them two weeks to settle into their new resting place and put white rocks around them. The next day, they seemed to have burst forth with an amazing happiness and Grandma rejoiced with them! She couldn’t believe it! I told her, once again, that mint thrives at a ridiculous rate in sunlight, and I’d guess that adding the rocks, which reflect the sun back up to the underside of the plant, gave them even more growing power. I’ve seen many people plant mint just on their own, and they take over like wild, cooped up children being let out of the house after a week of storms. But, those white rocks encouraged them even more.

    Thank you so much for putting your method out here for us. I keep seeing articles about complicated distilling set-ups that I’m quite sure I’d somehow mess up and using vodka, which Grandma would never approve of and then she’d never use the leaves after they’ve soaked. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Also, I love the way you illustrate through text! Very well written!

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    • Emily Grosvenor says:

      Well thank you! I think Mint Oil that is distilled is at its most pure and amazing, but if you’ve got a lot of mint and no distilling machinery (and no friends with the same), it’s a good method. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  5. Mariam Khan says:

    This is site is very helpful ! I’ve been trying to Make Mint oil for a while now. But I’ve been unsuccessful. The first batch, i made came out weird, it smelled yucky! Like it was spoiled, and it had a smell like Grass, or a plain leafy smell like Parsley! And i let it set for 24 hrs too, in my bathroom cabinet. So what Did i do wrong? I used Olive Oil too, and Coconut Oil too. Did the combination of the 2, maybe might have ruined it? What’s a light, flavorless Oil, that I can use Becuz using Olive Oil is all i know. Please help me! Any tips? Thank you I’ll be very grateful for the solution!! Thank you ! I’m a huge fan of Mint so that’s why I turned to this site !!!

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  6. Mariam Khan says:

    stupid site!!! i tried to write a comment but they wouldn’t post what i wrote !!! what went wrong? Do i seriously have to like the page or subscribe?

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  7. Carolyn says:

    I noticed in a previous comment you said you don’t use this oil in a diffuser-is there a reason or just your preference. I was hoping I could use this in my diffuser.

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  8. punkermus@hotmail.com says:

    I have tried this method with Almond oil about 5 times, and after about 12 hours the mint smells like rotten grass. How can I avoid this? I make sure the mint is very well dried before adding, and I have tried not muddling it at all. I keep it in a dark cupboard, well sealed. I can’t figure it out 😦

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