Peppermint vs Cornmint Essential Oil

I remember I attended a class previously, the organizer burned peppermint essential oil which immediately makes me feel uncomfortable, heart beat increased and nausea.

During the short period of rest, I checked through the essential oil label and it written Peppermint “therapeutic essential oil” but there is no Latin botanical name provided.

I told the organizer that I am not feeling well and asked her would she might stop burning those the essential oil. People surrounding me gave me a weird gaze, and some participants even said “although the essential oil is not pure, but it would not cause any harm to the body…”

I am sorry to admitted that I am sensitive to essential oils, this is due to I have spend sometime with them. It is a big mistake, when we said it will not harm our body, we would not know how powerful the essential oils are.

When I reached home, I double checked through the company brand and website, I noticed that the essential oil is actually derived from the botanical species of Mentha arvensis rather than Mentha peperita. According Essential Oil University, Mentha arvensis is Cornmint and NOT Peppermint. Comparison, “Cornmint oil is less expensive than true Peppermint oil and it is commonly sold by uneducated or unethical suppliers as peppermint oil…”

What is Cornmint?

Synonym: Japanese Mint

Botanical name: Mentha arvensis

Botanical Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)

Geographical Origin: Japan, China, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, the Union of South Africa and Angola.

Although Cornmint oil is not adulterated, but it is inferior in flavor, very high in menthol (60-80%), therefore, it is mainly used for production of menthol crystal. The commercial dementholized cornmint oil contains 30-45% menthol.

Traditionally, cornmint has been used as herbs for colds, sore throats, lowering temperature, diarrhoe in China… Panda (2005) mentioned that cornmint oil is mainly used in perfumery and flavouring industry.


According to Tisserand & Young (2014), “the contraindications of cornmint should be avoided in cases of cardiac fibrillation and by people with a G6PD deficiency. This is a fairly common inheritable enzyme deficiency, particularly in people of Chinese, West African, Mediterranean or Middle Eastern origin.”

Balchin (2006) suggested due to high in menthol, cornmint can cause irritation and hypersensitive reaction, it should not use to massage into the skin during pregnancy, parturition or lactation. She also suggested that it should also be avoided in cases of “obstruction of bile ducts, gallbladder inflammation, gallstones and severe liver damage.”

Duke (2002) recommended that not to be inhaled by small children.


Essential Oil University (2015),

Duke, J. A. (2002), Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, Second Ed., CRC Press.

Maria Lis-Balchin (2006), Aromatherapy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals, Pharmaceutical Press.

H. Panda (2005), Cultivation and Utilization of Aromatic Plants, Asia Pacific Business Press

H. Panda, Essential Oils Handbook, National Institute of Industrial Research.

Tisserand, R. & Young, R. (2014), Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals, 2nd Ed, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

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