New Research: Peppermint helps with pregnancy itch


Peppermint helps with pregnancy itch!

About 1% of pregnant women experience severe itching in the late stages of pregnancy. This can be extremely unpleasant. However, using a steroid cream may not the ideal choice because of potential side effects, and many pregnant women try to avoid synthetic drugs.
A 2012 Iranian triple-blind clinical trial evaluated the efficacy of 0.5% Peppermint oil as symptomatic treatment for pruritus (itch). A total of 96 women in their 2nd or 3rd trimester were assigned to either the control or the treament group. They were given either plain sesame oil, or sesame oil with 0.5% Peppermint oil. This was applied twice daily for two weeks.

Itch levels were evaluated using the visual analog scale (VAS). The severity of pruritus in the treatment group was significantly lower than in the placebo group.

Peppermint oil can thus be effective in reducing the severity of Pruritus gravidarum, or pregnancy itch. There is no indication that Peppermint oil carries any risk in pregnancy.

This is not the first case of Peppermint oil being useful in alleviating itch. See our infographic on itch from burn scars.


  1. Hi, Robert. I am looking for articles that support the indication of not using geranium with pregnancies under anticoagulant medication as in Nottingham Hospital guidelines (Guideline For Administration Of Aromatherapy With Childbearing Women). The only paper that links pelargonium and anticoagulants drugs is one about P. sidoides (ethanol extract) and concluded that there is no link with warfarina (Treatment of rats with the Pelargonium sidoides extract EPs 7630 has no effect on blood coagulation parameters or on the pharmacokinetics of warfarin.). Could you help me? Nor Faucon, Franchomme, Festy, Baudoux or Zahalka state about this proihibition. Thank you!

    • I can’t find any evidence that would support this idea for Geranium oil, geraniol or citronellol.

  2. Hello, Robert! Thank you very much for the reliable information!
    I had always seen contraindications for the use of peppermint during pregnancy. Some people say that peppermint should not be used in any case, in any form, by any route during pregnancy…

    I participate in some study groups, and raised this question in one of them. Even after sharing this post and the statement that “There is no indication that Peppermint oil carries any risk in pregnancy.”, some people were still worried about the high content of ketones, and that would be dangerous for the fetus (and not for the pregnant woman), and/or could cause an abortion. (Some were worried about the emotional and vibrational effects of the oil, but I think that maybe this is a matter for another time…). Some said that the restrictions are for the first trimester, or for the first 4 months, or that should not be applied on the belly, or that are still doubts about this and so should be avoided, … There’s a lot of opinions (frequently not based in any references).

    So, just to clarify, there is no indication that peppermint carries any risk in pregnancy, either for the woman and neither for the fetus/baby, right? (Of course, using the safe doses and routs always)

    Thanks again!

    • Hi Mara, You are correct that Peppermint essential oil is not contradicted during Pregnancy. We would recommend keeping a topical dilution below 2% and don’t overuse any essential oil while pregnant. Of course, always work with your doctor as every person is different and some pregnancies are higher risk. ~Shane


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