Spearmint vs. Peppermint: Plus 3 Easy Mint Recipes!

March 2, 2015
New Spearmint and Peppermint

Sprigs of new spearmint and peppermint, side by side. Can you tell which is which?


Have you ever made your own mint toothpaste or  facial scrub? Today I’ll go over some of the easiest recipes ever written.

Before learning a few super simple uses for spearmint and peppermint, let’s explore the differences between the two, shall we? Spoiler alert: the difference between them is greater than green or blue toothpaste or breath mint.


Spearmint is a species of mint native to western and southern Europe and Southwest Asia, and widely grown in the north central United States.

Appreciated for its mild taste, it also has excellent antioxidant properties, as well as a soothing effect on nerves. If you suffer from arthritis or inflammation, apply it on your skin and see if you don’t feel some relief! It relieves nausea, hiccups, and motion sickness. It’s also provides relief from stomachs pain, irritable bowels, and aids digestion.

How to use spearmint

Spearmint is the most subtle of all mints and has therefore been used historically in food preparation. Our western palates are accustomed to its particular flavor.  It’s been used for generations in American cooking. It is the mint most of us are accustomed to eating. Try it chopped up on salads or finely diced, added right before serving on grilled vegetables.


Peppermint is a hybrid that was created when spearmint was crossed with watermint. It is also native to Europe. It has a sharper taste than spearmint.

Peppermint also contains the chemical menthol. Spearmint contains a minuscule amount (less than one percent) so the menthol isn’t readily detected in it. Peppermint contains this chemical in great quantity, affecting the nerve endings and producing a cooling sensation when digested.

How to use peppermint

Peppermint’s properties are stronger. It has more immediate effects on an upset stomach, will help with cramping and even with burns.

Peppermint is commonly used as a flavoring for sweets and candies. When you try it, I promise you’ll immediately understand. It will register on your palate from the first taste. Peppermint makes a great addition to practically any dessert!


3 truly uncomplicated mint recipes

Mint Thyme and OrangeBest Mint Tea Picture

Mixed mint tea

Want to try an incredibly easy herbal tea? Not only will these light and refreshing ingredients revive you, they’ll also heal you!

8 oz. boiling water

1 sprig each (about 2 teaspoons) Peppermint and Spearmint

1 slice Orange

2 teaspoons Thyme

2 teaspoons black or green tea (if desired)

Steep 3-4 minutes

Makes a light refreshing herbal drink. Use the black or green teas if you’re not accustomed to drinking  a pure herbal tea or if you enjoy the caffeine lift they provide.


Best Mint Toothpaste Picture

DIY Mint Toothpaste

Store-bought toothpastes are full of abrasive chemicals can produce unwanted additives that can actually harm your mouth. I’m not suggesting to completely eliminate the store-bought variety. However, why not alternate and give your teeth and gums a rest!

2 tablespoons of baking soda

2 teaspoons mint tea (see recipe above)

10 drops of peppermint and/or spearmint essential oils, found in most natural grocery stores

*Carefully add additional tea if needed, just a tiny bit too much and the mixture becomes watery instead of the desired paste-like consistency.

Mint Scrub

Peppermint/Spearmint Facial Scrub

Now I am not saying you need to throw out all your store bought cleansers and scrubs; simply incorporate some pure, natural ingredients to your skincare and see how that helps! These non-chemically altered additions will not merely cleanse your skin, but impart some incredible health benefits. They are straight from the earth, you can’t get purer than that 🙂

4 tablespoons oatmeal

4 teaspoons mint tea (see recipe above)

2 tablespoons Raw Agave

Mix ingredients and slather on skin. It is a gentle yet effective facial scrub. I find that my skin reacts really well to a natural scrub, it beams for hours afterwards. I haven’t tried one store bought cleanser or scrub that ever made my skin look so vibrant!

Sooooo we’ve explored the differences between spearmint and peppermint and learned some quick recipes. Here’s to hoping you give mint a try! Enjoy a sprig- you might be surprised at just how quickly you fall in love with this essential and soothing herb.

Also by Alex: How to Make Herb Infusions + Chamomile Infusion for Anxiety

Benefits of Beets, plus 3 Creative Uses

Related: Raw Cacao v. Cocoa: What’s the Difference?



Photo: Alex Kudukis

Alexandra Kudukis is a freelance journalist currently writing for Dirva, Draugas News, and Draugas Newspapers, contributing articles in both English and Lithuanian. She began her informal journalistic training at the tender age of four when she began attending concerts with her mother’s best friend Jane Scott, the premier rock music reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Everything she knows from the structure of a good article to conducting an engaging interview- including how to be gracious and kind even in the most difficult of situations, she learned from Jane. She has completed her first novel, a dynamic struggle of a woman letting go of childhood dreams while attempting to balance a horric home life and burgeoning career. Alexandra has also just completed her first full-length screenplay chronicling the young adult lives of children from Eastern European families, misfits trying (and failing) to find success as first generation Americans. She has an M.P.A. from Cleveland State University, which has provided her a broad base on which to base her career.Her blog details the trials and triumphs of an aspiring writer. She studied German and Russian as an undergraduate and loves to travel. Alexandra currently resides in Fountain Valley, CA with her animal companions, two cats Isabella and Victoria and Pierre, a rescue pigeon.


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