Does Peppermint Help With Nausea?

Medically reviewed by Aviv Joshua, MS

Peppermint (Mentha piperita), with its refreshing aroma and soothing properties, has long been hailed as a natural remedy to relieve nausea and the discomfort of queasy stomachs. Whether you have motion sickness while traveling, morning sickness during pregnancy, side effects from chemotherapy, or indigestion, peppermint is a popular natural remedy to offer relief.

This article explores the various forms of peppermint, including loose leaf, oil, and extract, and how each may help with nausea.

<p>LeliaSpb / Getty Images</p>

LeliaSpb / Getty Images

How Peppermint Helps With Nausea

Peppermint's active compounds, including menthol and menthone, play a role in its antinausea properties. These natural chemicals are responsible for the herb's distinctive aroma and taste, but they also play a role in easing digestive discomfort and relieving nausea, which can be attributed to several key factors.

Muscle Relaxation

One of the primary ways peppermint helps with nausea is by relaxing the muscles in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. When nausea strikes, the stomach and intestinal muscles contract and spasm, leading to discomfort and unease.

Peppermint's active compounds (menthol and menthone) possess muscle-relaxing properties. These compounds help soothe the digestive muscles to reduce feelings of nausea. Research shows that smelling peppermint oil (aromatherapy) significantly reduces the frequency and severity of nausea in people undergoing chemotherapy.

Calming Effect on Nerves

The refreshing scent of peppermint has calming effects on the nervous system, helping promote relaxation and ease nausea. Stress and anxiety can worsen nausea, making it challenging to find relief.

Research shows that during pregnancy, the aroma of peppermint effectively reduces nausea. The refreshing scent of peppermint has calming effects on the nervous system, helping promote relaxation and ease nausea.

Aids Digestion

Peppermint is renowned for its exceptional ability to aid in digestion. It helps soothe the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract and enhances the flow of bile in the digestive system. Produced by the liver, bile aids in the digestion and absorption of fats. Disrupted bile flow can lead to nausea, especially after consuming heavy or fatty meals.

Peppermint's ability to relax the gastrointestinal muscles and stimulate bile flow improves digestion, reducing the likelihood of nausea and indigestion after meals. Drinking peppermint tea or enjoying an after-dinner mint after eating may help prevent nausea.

Ways to Use Peppermint for Nausea

Whether you prefer to sip on a comforting cup of peppermint tea or breathe in the benefits of peppermint oil, there are several ways to incorporate peppermint into your routine for nausea relief:

  • Peppermint tea: One of the most common and soothing ways to use peppermint for nausea is by drinking a cup of peppermint tea: Steep fresh peppermint leaves or a tea bag in hot water for five to 10 minutes. Warm tea helps relax the digestive muscles, ease spasms, and reduce feelings of nausea.

  • Peppermint essential oil: Peppermint essential oil is a potent option for treating nausea through aromatherapy. Add a few drops of high-quality peppermint essential oil to a diffuser or a bowl of steaming water, and inhale the scent. The aromatic compounds in peppermint can stimulate the limbic system (nerves and networks in the brain), promoting relaxation and reducing stress-induced nausea.

  • Roll-on peppermint or inhalers: Portable and convenient, peppermint oil roll-ons and inhalers are practical, on-the-go options for nausea. Aromatherapy inhalers infused with peppermint essential oil allow you to breathe in a soothing aroma when you need relief. Roll-ons gently applied to pressure points or temples provide a cooling and calming sensation that may help relieve nausea.

  • Peppermint candy, lozenges, or gum: Peppermint-flavored candies, lozenges, or gum can be a refreshing way to ease nausea and freshen your breath at the same time. Choose natural, sugar-free options to avoid worsening stomach discomfort.

  • Peppermint-infused water: Create refreshing peppermint-infused water by adding fresh peppermint leaves to a pitcher of cold water. Let the water infuse for a few hours in the refrigerator before sipping.

  • Peppermint herbal supplements: Peppermint is available in supplement forms, such as capsules or soft gels, which offer a standardized dosage of its active compounds. Taken before or after meals, these supplements may support digestion and prevent nausea, especially after consuming greasy or fatty foods.

Dilute Peppermint Oil Before Topical Use

When using peppermint essential oil topically, remember to dilute it with a carrier oil (e.g., coconut or olive oil) before applying it to the skin. Peppermint oil is highly concentrated and can lead to skin irritation or allergic reactions if used directly on the skin. Always perform a patch test on a small area of skin to check for adverse reactions.

Natural Nausea Solutions Besides Peppermint

​​While peppermint is an excellent natural remedy for nausea, several other effective solutions may provide relief, such as: 

  • Ginger: Ginger root is a well-known antinausea remedy that may help soothe the stomach.

  • Lemon: The refreshing scent of lemon has calming effects.

  • Acupressure: Applying pressure to specific points on the body may help alleviate nausea and promote relaxation. The P6 point on the inner forearm, three finger-widths above the wrist, effectively reduces nausea.

  • Bland foods: Consuming bland, easily digestible foods can be beneficial during episodes of nausea. Stick to simple foods like crackers, rice, bananas, and applesauce.

Finding the best solution for your nausea may take some trial and error. While natural options are generally safe, always talk with a healthcare provider before using herbal remedies, especially if you are pregnant or taking prescription medications.

When Peppermint Does Not Help With Nausea

Peppermint is known for its effectiveness in relieving nausea, but sometimes it doesn't offer the relief you need. While peppermint is generally safe and well-tolerated, some people may be sensitive to it and experience mild side effects, such as heartburn or indigestion, which can worsen nausea.

Over-the-counter medications, such as Pepto Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) or Dramamine (dimenhydrinate), may temporarily relieve nausea.

Consider seeing a healthcare provider if you have persistent nausea despite using peppermint or other natural remedies. It is essential to see a healthcare provider if: 

  • Nausea persists or worsens in severity.

  • You have nausea with other symptoms, such as severe abdominal pain, fever, unexplained weight loss, or changes in bowel habits.

  • You are pregnant and have severe or prolonged morning sickness. 


Peppermint may help reduce nausea thanks to its muscle-relaxing properties, calming effect on the nerves, and ability to improve digestion. This popular herbal remedy may help relieve or prevent nausea during pregnancy, when traveling (due to motion sickness), or after eating. Peppermint can be consumed as tea, inhaled as aromatherapy, or applied directly to the skin (diluted with a carrier oil) to help relieve nausea and promote relaxation.

Talk to a healthcare provider before trying peppermint for nausea or if your nausea persists or becomes more severe. They may recommend alternative solutions to help manage nausea, depending on the cause.