Tso-Yen Mao1, Chun-Feng Huang1,2, De-Yen Liu3,4, Chien-Ting Chen5, Chin-Cheng Yang1,6

1Chaoyang University of Technology, Department of Leisure Services Management, Taichung, Taiwan (R.O.C)
2National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University Hospital, Department of Family Medicine, Yilan, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
3St. Mary's Junior College of Medicine, Nursing and Management, Department of Health and Leisure Management, Yilan, Taiwan (R.O.C)
4National Taiwan Normal University, Graduate Institute of Sport, Leisure and Hospitality Management, Taipei, Taiwan (R.O.C)
5Chung Yuan Christian University, Office of Physical Education, Taoyuan, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
6National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Graduate School of Technological and Vocational Education, Yunlin, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

Effects of Mentha Piperita Essential Oil Uptake or Inhalation on Heart Rate Variability and Cardiopulmonary Regulation during Exercise

Monten. J. Sports Sci. Med. 2021, 10(2), 65-72 | DOI: 10.26773/mjssm.210910


This study compares the effects of the uptake or inhalation of 50uL Mentha piperita (MP) essential oil for 10 days on heart rate variability (HRV) and cardiopulmonary regulation during various exercise intensities. Forty-eight healthy male subjects were randomly assigned to MP uptake (MPU; n=16), MP inhalation (MPI; n=16), and control group (C; n=16). All participants were measured resting HRV, respiratory, cardiovascular, and metabolic parameters during aerobic, anaero- bic, and graded exercise tests (GXT) before and after treatment. There were significant increases in the low-frequency area (LFa; 1.8±0.1 vs 2.2±0.2 ms²), the ratio of low frequency to respiration frequency area (LFa/RFa; 0.9±0.1 vs 1.3±0.1) at resting and carbon dioxide production (VCO 2 ; 41.2±4.0 vs 49.2±6.8 mL/min -1 /kg -1 ), ventilation per minute (V E ; 80.2±4.3 vs 97.5±5.5 L/min -1 ), and respiratory rate (RR; 38.2±1.9 to 44.3±2.1 breath/min -1 ) in an anaerobic test following MPU inter- vention. In GXT, maximal carbon dioxide production (VCO 2max; 51.9±3.5 to 59.1±6.4 mL/min -1 /kg -1 ), maximal ventilation per minute (V Emax ; 126.4±6.5 to 138.4±5.4 L/min -1 ) and maximal respiratory rate (RR max ; 52.7±3.6 to 60.1±2.3 breath/min -1 ) significantly increased in MPU. The correlations of ΔLFa with ΔVCO 2max , ΔV Emax , and ΔRR max in the MPU group were signifi- cant. Continuous uptake or inhalation of 50uL MP oil for 10 days does not improve aerobic capacity and maximal exercise performance, but 10 days’ uptake of MP essential oil increased sympathetic activity at rest and may relate to respiratory regulation under high-intensity exercise.


essential oil, ergogenic aids, aromatherapy, ventilation threshold, carbon dioxide

View full article
(PDF – 305KB)


Ahijevych, K., & Garrett, B. E. (2004). Menthol pharmacology and its potential impact on cigarette smoking behavior. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 6(Suppl1), S17-28. https://doi.org/10.1080/14622200310001649469

Alammar, N., Wang, L., Saberi, B., Nanavati, J., Holtmann, G., Shinohara, R. T., & Mullin, G. E. (2019). The impact of peppermint oil on the irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis of the pooled clinical data. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, 19(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-018-2409-0

Asghar, S. (2011). Effects of Mentha piperita inhalation on VO2max and reaction time, on man elite karate-do. Annals of Biological Research, 2(6), 84-87.

Barker, S., Grayhem, P., Koon, J., Perkins, J., Whalen, A., & Raudenbush, B. (2003). Improved performance on clerical tasks associated with administration of peppermint odor. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 97(3 Pt 1), 1007-1010. https://doi.org/10.2466/pms.2003.97.3.1007

Beaver, W. L., Wasserman, K., & Whipp, B. J. (1986). A new method for detecting anaerobic threshold by gas exchange. Journal of Applied Physiology, 60(6), 2020-2027. https://doi.org/10.1152/jappl.1986.60.6.2020

Best, R., Temm, D., Hucker, H., & McDonald, K. (2020). Repeated Menthol Mouth Swilling Affects Neither Strength nor Power Performance. Sports (Basel), 8(6). https://doi.org/10.3390/sports8060090

Chang, K. M., & Shen, C. W. (2011). Aromatherapy benefits autonomic nervous system regulation for elementary school faculty in taiwan. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative, 2011, 946537. https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/946537

Elshafie, H. S., & Camele, I. (2017). An Overview of the Biological Effects of Some Mediterranean Essential Oils on Human Health. BioMed Research International, 2017, 9268468. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/9268468

Gobel, H., Schmidt, G., & Soyka, D. (1994). Effect of peppermint and eucalyptus oil preparations on neurophysiological and experimental algesimetric headache parameters. Cephalalgia, 14(3), 228-234; discussion 182. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1468-2982.1994.014003228.x

Haze, S., Sakai, K., & Gozu, Y. (2002). Effects of fragrance inhalation on sympathetic activity in normal adults. Japanese Journal of Pharmacology, 90(3), 247-253. https://doi.org/10.1254/jjp.90.247

Horii, Y., Maeda, K., Shen, J., Fujisaki, Y., & Nagai, K. (2015). Effect of grapefruit and lavender essential oil scents on pancreatic sympathetic nerve activity and plasma glucose in rats. Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 30(4), 282-287. https://doi.org/10.1002/ffj.3243

Jaradat, N. A., Al Zabadi, H., Rahhal, B., Hussein, A. M., Mahmoud, J. S., Mansour, B., . . . Issa, A. (2016). The effect of inhalation of Citrus sinensis flowers and Mentha spicata leave essential oils on lung function and exercise performance: a quasi-experimental uncontrolled before-and-after study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 13, 36. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-016-0146-7

Mauskop, A. (2001). Alternative therapies in headache. Is there a role? Medical Clinics of North America, 85(4), 1077-1084.

McCaffrey, R., Thomas, D. J., & Kinzelman, A. O. (2009). The Effects of Lavender and Rosemary Essential Oils on Test-Taking Anxiety among Graduate Nursing Students. Holistic Nursing Practice, 23(2), 88-93. https://doi.org/10.1097/HNP.0b013e3181a110aa

McKay, D. L., & Blumberg, J. B. (2006). A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.). Phytotherapy Research, 20(8), 619-633. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.1936

Meamarbashi, A. (2014). Instant effects of peppermint essential oil on the physiological parameters and exercise performance. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 4(1), 72-78.

Meamarbashi, A., & Rajabi, A. (2013). The effects of peppermint on exercise performance. International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), 15. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-10-15

American College of Sport Medicine (2013). ACSM's guidelines for exercise testing and prescription: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Nair, B. (2001). Final report on the safety assessment of Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf, and Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Water. International Journal of Toxicology, 20 (Suppl 3), 61-73.

Pournemati, P., Azarbayjani, M. A., Rezaee, M. B., Ziaee, V., & Pournemati, P. (2009). The effect of inhaling peppermint odor and ethanol in women athletes. Bratislavske Lekarske Listy, 110(12), 782-787.

Raudenbush, B., Corley, N., & Eppich, W. (2001). Enhancing athletic performance through the administration of peppermint odor. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 23(2), 156-160. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.23.2.156

Raudenbush, B., Meyer, B., & Eppich, W. (2002). The effects of odors on objective and subjective measures of athletic performance. International Sports Journal, 6.

Rohloff, J. (1999). Monoterpene composition of essential oil from peppermint (Mentha x piperita L.) with regard to leaf position using solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 47(9), 3782-3786.

Sönmez, G., Çolak, M., Sönmez, S., & Schoenfeld, B. (2010). Effects of oral supplementation of mint extract on muscle pain and blood lactate. Biomedical Human Kinetics, 2(1).

Scherer, R., Lemos, M. F., Lemos, M. F., Martinelli, G. C., Martins, J. D. L., & da Silva, A. G. (2013). Antioxidant and antibacterial activities and composition of Brazilian spearmint (Mentha spicata L.). Industrial Crops and Products, 50, 408-413. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indcrop.2013.07.007

Seo, J. Y. (2009). [The effects of aromatherapy on stress and stress responses in adolescents]. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing, 39(3), 357-365. https://doi.org/10.4040/jkan.2009.39.3.357

Shepherd, K., & Peart, D. J. (2017). Aerobic capacity is not improved following 10-day supplementation with peppermint essential oil. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 42(5), 558-561. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2016-0603

Watanabe, E., Kuchta, K., Kimura, M., Rauwald, H. W., Kamei, T., & Imanishi, J. (2015). Effects of bergamot (Citrus bergamia (Risso) Wright & Arn.) essential oil aromatherapy on mood states, parasympathetic nervous system activity, and salivary cortisol levels in 41 healthy females. Forschende Komplementärmedizin, 22(1), 43-49. https://doi.org/10.1159/000380989