Peppermint Oil (Mentha × piperita) in the U.S.
Updated: May 31, 2020
Peppermint is one of my favorite herbs and essential oil. Being born and raised in Egypt, mint is widely used in our Mediterranean diet; a fresh mint leaf in a cup of tea is our heavenly drink and fresh chopped mint leaves on our salads and marinades is a must, or the famous Egyptian lemon-mint cold drink, which become my neighbors' favorite drink here in USA.
Peppermint was introduced to the U.S. in Massachusetts in the early 1800s.
"The United States produces 70% of the world's supply of peppermint and spearmint, the majority of U.S. peppermint is cultivated in the Pacific Northwest.
In 2017, 60,400 acres of land were designated for peppermint production, yielding approximately 4.228 million pounds of peppermint oil.
Oregon leads the United States in production of peppermint, growing nearly 35% of the nation’s total. Peppermint is either planted in the late fall or in the spring, using specialty built mechanical planters Mint is harvested from late June to mid-August, m.int fields are generally left in for 3-5 years and replaced with another rotational crop (College of Agricultural Science Oregon university)."
An acre of mint produces approximately 70 pounds of oil, remember that when you see the small bottle on the shelf and how powerful and concentrated the oil is.
On the other hand, one drum of oil can be used to flavor about 5 million sticks of gum or about 400 thousand tubes of toothpaste.
A major risk associated with peppermint farming is producing oil of poor quality; weeds harvested with the mint lower the quality of oil.
The global market for peppermint oil is forecasted to reach USD $671 million by the end of 2022 due to the increase of usage in Aromatherapy.
Here are the most known varieties grown in the United States:
Peppermint - Yakima
Yakima is the largest region for peppermint & spearmint oils in North America .
Peppermint oil's characteristics in this region are: dry, sweet, and light.
Menthofuran 0.75% - Menthone 25.24% - Menthol 39.47%
Grown in: Yakima, Grant, Adams, Uamtilla (OR)
Peppermint - Willamette
Peppermint oil's characteristics in this region are: Sweet, floral, fruity, and clean
Menthofuran 1.97% - Menthone 23.26 % - Menthol 39.95%
Grown in: Marion - Linn, Lane (OR)
Peppermint - Madras
Peppermint oil's characteristics in this region are: Minty, smoky, and hay
Menthofuran 1.51% - Menthone 20.32% - Menthol 43.95%
Grown in: Wasco, Jefferson, Crook (OR)
Peppermint - La Grande
Peppermint oil's characteristics in this region are: Woody, green, and fresh
Menthofuran 2.20% - Menthone 18.73% - Menthol 42.71%
Grown in: Union, Baker (OR)
Valley region located at the base of the blue mountain .
Peppermint - Idaho
Peppermint oil's characteristics in this region are: Herbal, sweet, and floral
Menthofuran 3.15% - Menthone 22.08% - Menthol 39.93%
Grown in: Adams, Gem canyin, Ada, Elmore, Owyhee, Twin falls (ID)
Peppermint - Midwest
Peppermint oil's characteristics in this region are: Earthy,sweet,heavy,mud
Menthofuran 1.71% - Menthone 24.32% - menthol 37.78%
Indiana - Michigan - Milwaukee
This mint is growing in Muck soil and has distinct characteristics.
Mint oil Adulteration
Essential oil adulteration is a huge concern when it comes to Aromatherapy
Synthetic adulteration is very common by adding synthetic menthol , that's why C 14 testing is essential , as a tool to screen “natural” peppermint oil for petrochemical-derived components. That's why buying from trusted distillers is a key factor in the supply chain.
-Landing JE (1969) American essence : a history of the peppermint and spearmint industry in the United States. Kalamazoo Public Museum:244 pp.
-Oregon state university https://agsci.oregonstate.edu/coarec
-Perfumer and flavorist Authentication of Natural Peppermint Oil Feb 2019 edition