Essential oils from the genus Mentha have been produced for centuries. Collectively these oils are referred to as “mint oils.” Mint essential oils are primarily obtained by steam distillation of the fresh overground portion of the mint plant. In the case of peppermint-type oils, two very distinctive varieties are produced commercially on a worldwide basis. These oils are obtained from the following plants:
Mentha arvensis L., Mentha piperita L.
Several varieties of each of these plants are produced.
The oil obtained from tbe distillation of Mentha piperita is referred to as peppermint oil. In the United States this is the only oil which may be called peppermint oil, because the identity standard for peppermint, according to the Food Chemical Codex III, is “an essential oil obtained by steam distillation from the fresh overground parts of the flowering part of Mentha piperita L. (Fam Labiatae); it may be rectified by distillation, but is neither partially nor wholly dementholized. It is a colorless or pale yellow liquid having a strong penetrating odor of peppermint and a pungent taste, followed by a sensation of coldness when air is drawn into the mouth.”