From London's Ghost Acres

Peppermint is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint, and was indigenous to Europe and the Middle East. Peppermint oil is an effective pesticide, and in medicine is used for its antispasmodic properties (assisting in those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, cramps, and coughs). It also contains carminative, antibacterial, and cooling properties.

Peppermint oil is listed in the Compendium as an antispasmodic, emmenagouge, stimulant, and stomachic and cordial. It was given to treat fevers, boils, typhus, and water-bash, and was included in a long list of prescriptions.

British Pharmacopoeia 1867

Peppermint Oil Oleum Menthae Piperitae

“The oil distilled in Britain form fresh flowering peppermint, Mentha piperita.” [1]


“Colourless or pale yellow, with the odour od peppermint; taste warm, aromatic, succeeded by a sensation of coldness in the mouth.” Used in the preparations of:[2]

  • Aqua Menthae Piperitae
  • Essentia Menthae Piperitae
  • Pilula Rhei compositus
  • Spiritus Menthae Piperitae

Preparations of Peppermint

Peppermint Water / Aqua Menthae Piperitae[3]

  • oil of peppermint (1 ½ fl drachm), water ( 1 ½ gal)
  • used in the preparation of: Mistura Ferri Aromatica

Essence of Peppermint / Essentia Menthae Piperitae [4]

  • Oil of peppermint (1 fl oz), rectified spirit (4 fl oz)
  • dose: 10-20 minims

Aromatic Mixture of Iron / Mistura Ferri Aromatica[5]

  • pale-cinchona bark, in powder (1 oz), calumba root, in coarse powder (1/2 oz), cloves bruised (1/4 oz), fine iron wire (1/2 oz), compound tincture of cardamoms (3 fl oz), tincture of orange peel (1/2 fl oz), peppermint water (as needed)
  • dose: 1-2 fl oz

Compound Rhubarb Pill / Pilula Rhei compositus[6]

  • rhubarb root, in powder (3 oz), socotrine aloes, in powder (2 ¼ oz), myrrh, in powder (1 ½ oz), hard soap, in powder (1 ½ oz), oil of peppermint (1 ½ fl drachm), treacle, by weight (4 oz)
  • dose: 5-10 grains

Spirit of Peppermint / Spiritus Menthae Piperitae[7]

  • Oil of peppermint (1 fl oz), rectified spirit (49 fl oz)
  • dose: ½-1 fl drachm

A Compendium of Domestic Medicine, 1865

Classified as an Antispasmodic (Remedies Which Remove Spasms of Colic)[8], an Emmenagogue (Remedies Which Promote the Flow of the Menses)[9], Stimulants (Remedies Which Speedily Increase the Frequency of the Pulse and the Heat of the Body)[10], and as a Stomachic and Cordial[11]

“The essence of peppermint has uniformly been held in the highest estimation, both by the profession and the public, as a powerful carminative, cordial, exhilarant, and anti-spasmodic; its chief recommendation to unprofessional person is, that it is always safe and effectual medicine for relieving spasms in the stomach, pain in the bowels, flatulence, and restoring warmth to the body.[12]

“The medical virtues of the herb peppermint, in all complaints of the stomach and bowels, being so well known, this preparation requires no other recommendation than that, by a careful process of distillation, it retains all the carminative and antispasmodic qualities of the herb, at the same time it is so peculiarly agreeable to the palate, as to render it applicable to all domestic purposes, whether taken alone or as a vehicle for other medicines, such as castor oil, Gregory’s powder, and especially saline aperients, with in persons of a cold habit of body are always desirable.”[13]

Remedies Containing or to be used with Peppermint

  • Ammonia, Sesquicarbonate of: can be combined with peppermint water during “gouty acidities of the stomach.” Pepper-mint water is included in “Antacid Draught”, and in a draught used to combat spasms. [14]
  • Aromatic Confection: peppermint water is included in “Aromatic Draught,” and “Aromatic Powder of Chalk” (Pulvis Cretoe Aromaticus)[15]
  • Balsam, Copiva: peppermint or cinnamon water is part of an emulsion of copiva balsam[16]
  • Camphor: peppermint water (or dillseed water) is part of a mixture used to promote sleep and increase sweating during a fever[17]
  • Castor Oil: peppermint water is used in “Castor Oil Draught”[18]
  • Essence of Peppermint: see def[19]
  • Ether, Compound Spirit of (Hoffman’s Ether): Peppermint water included in a mixture given during instances of flatulent colic.[20]
  • Gum Scammony: often combined with other purgatives, such as oil of peppermint[21]
  • Magnesia, Calcined: mixed with peppermint water to form “a very useful medicine for persons of gouty habits.” Peppermint water is included in a mixture used as an aperient[22]
  • Oil of Peppermint: “It is a powerful and useful stimulant. In spasmodic and flatulent pains of the stomach and bowels, in cramp, faintness, and nausea, it is a useful remedy, a drop or two being taken upon a lump of sugar, or triturated with a little powdered sugar.”[23]
  • Tincture of Rhubarb: can be mixed with peppermint water[24]
  • Water, Cordial Peppermint: dee def[25]

Diseases Treated with Peppermint

General Diseases

  • Ague, or Intermittent Fever: Peppermint water is part of the recommended mixture provided by Mr. Sankey in treating intermittent fever (caused by marsh miasma?)[26]
  • Boils: a draught containing rhubarb, magnesia, and peppermint water (or cinnamon water) can be used to alleviate boils when used in combination with a “generous diet”[27]
  • Typhus Fever: magnesia in peppermint water is given to patients who experience vomiting or diarrhoea [28]
  • Water-brash: peppermint water can be used in treating this disease, however, Savory indicates that Dr Jenner’s Absorbent Lozenged are best suited for the disease.[29]

Medical Articles Containing Peppermint

  • Abernethy’s Aperient Mixture: peppermint water[30]

Prescriptions Containing Peppermint


  • Antacid Draught: peppermint water[31]
  • Antacid Draught (Another): peppermint water[32]
  • Antacid and Carminative Mixture: peppermint water[33]
  • Aromatic Magnesia Mixture: peppermint water[34]

Aperients and Cathartics

  • Aperient mixture: peppermint water[35]
  • Aperient draught: peppermint water [36]


  • Anti-Asthmatic Draught: peppermint water[37]
  • Antispasmodic Draughts for Spasm of the Stomach arising from Flatulence: peppermint water[38]


  • Astringent Draught: peppermint water[39]


  • Stomach Mixture: peppermint water[40]


  • An Emetic Draught, in case of Poison being taken into the Stomach (Another): peppermint water[41]


  • Stimulant Mixture: Peppermint water[42]
  • Stimulant Mixture (Another): Peppermint water[43]
  • Stimulant Mixture (Another): Peppermint water[44]


  1. General Medical Council of Great Britain, British Pharmacopeia, (London: Spottiswoode & Co.,1867), 224
  2. GMCGB, 224
  3. GMCGB, 44
  4. GMCGB, 112
  5. GMCGB, 210
  6. GMCGB, 239-40
  7. GMCGB, 297
  8. Savory, John. A Compendium of Domestic Medicine (London: John Churchill and Sons, 1865), 389.
  9. Savory, 393
  10. Savory, 394
  11. Savory, 395
  12. Savory, 56-57
  13. Savory, 168
  14. Savory, 16-18
  15. Savory, 21
  16. Savory, 25
  17. Savory, 37
  18. Savory, 43
  19. Savory, 56
  20. Savory, 60
  21. Savory, 67
  22. Savory, 99-100
  23. Savory, 109
  24. Savory, 162
  25. Savory, 168
  26. Savory, 206
  27. Savory, 209
  28. Savory, 259
  29. Savory, 261
  30. Savory, 301
  31. Savory, 306
  32. Savory, 306
  33. Savory, 307
  34. Savory, 309
  35. Savory, 311
  36. Savory, 312
  37. Savory, 316
  38. Savory, 317
  39. Savory, 318
  40. Savory, 321
  41. Savory, 330
  42. Savory, 323
  43. Savory, 323
  44. Savory, 323