Aggressive Driving Tendencies? Peppermint Is A Science-Backed Solution

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Feeling road rage kick in when drivers cut you off? Before seeing red, try smelling minty green instead. New research reveals a few whiffs of peppermint essential oil can help keep cool on the road, reducing aggression and risky driving behaviors.

A new randomized controlled trial published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental found that exposure to the aroma of peppermint essential oil while driving can reduce aggressive driving behaviors (Moss, Ho, Swinburne, & Turner, 2023). The study built on prior research showing peppermint aroma improves driver alertness, with the goal of testing if it could also mitigate aggressive actions behind the wheel.

Fifty volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two groups: peppermint aroma exposure or no aroma exposure (control). They then completed a simulated driving experience for 15 minutes that aimed to provoke aggression through events like sudden braking and lane-cutting by other vehicles. The results showed those exposed to the peppermint aroma exhibited significantly fewer aggressive driving acts compared to controls, including less abrupt braking, negative comments about other drivers, stop sign violations and tailgating.

The researchers suggest small doses of peppermint aroma could be a useful way to curb aggressive tendencies during daily driving. They propose aroma devices inside vehicles may not only provide pleasant scents but also encourage safer driving habits. However, more research is still needed on the longevity of these effects over longer drives, optimal aroma delivery methods, and variability between individuals.

Overall, this promising study indicates ambient peppermint aroma can reduce aggression-linked driving actions in simulated conditions. While more studies are warranted, using scented air fresheners or essential oils while driving could be a simple approach to limit dangerous behaviors and improve road safety.  

Peppermint's Healing Potential Extends Far Beyond the Road

As highlighted in this article, research shows peppermint aroma can mitigate aggressive driving tendencies. But the therapeutic versatility of peppermint extends much further. currently references 87 studies demonstrating peppermint's wide range of scientifically validated health benefits, spanning applications such as:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Gastric Disorders
  • Headaches
  • Skin Conditions
  • Respiratory Ailments
  • Chemotherapy-induced Nausea
  • Prostate, Colon and Other Cancers

GreenMedInfo features over 10,000 health topics drawing from more than 100,000 scientific abstracts on natural healing modalities. Their open access database aims to increase public knowledge of safe, effective non-toxic alternatives to drugs.

Peppermint contains menthol along with various bioactive components. This imbues the aromatic herb with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and analgesic properties that medical science continues confirming. Modern research builds on peppermint’s over 200 years of traditional use in systems like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Beyond driving aggression, peppermint’s versatile pharmacological actions show promise for numerous health goals. Visit GreenMedInfo's peppermint research page to further explore the science behind this minty herb’s far-reaching therapeutic potential.


[1] Moss, M., Ho, J., Swinburne, S., & Turner, A. (2023). Aroma of the essential oil of peppermint reduces aggressive driving behaviour in healthy adults. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 38 (2).

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