We’re all familiar with peppermint from toothpaste to gum and even holiday drinks, but did you know peppermint has some pretty impressive abilities and where it comes from? Read on to learn more!
Peppermint AKA, Mentha piperita, is a hybrid plant from water mint and spearmint originally grown in London in the 1700’s.
Peppermint has two different forms grown in North America and Europe: black mint and white mint. Black mint is known for its high oil content, while white mint has a mild taste.
Orally, it has been shown to help with IBS symptoms, such as abdominal pain and bloating.
Ongoing research suggests peppermint oil capsules relax the stomach and digestive tract offering relief from abdominal pain. It’s also known as a carminative agent, which can reduce gas and bloating. Both are common symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
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Medicinally, it can reduce pain and postoperative nausea.
Peppermint isn’t just beneficial for digestion issues, its ability to ease pain in the body has been shown to improve overall quality of life. Various studies have shown inhalation of aromatherapy after having an operation reduced their symptoms of nausea.
Topically, it can be a quick solution for headaches.
Carrying around a solution with 10% peppermint oil with you is not a bad idea if you have headaches. Try applying a thin layer on the front of your head every 15-30 minutes up to 3 times total.
Beware if you have heartburn or indigestion.
Research is inconclusive as to whether peppermint can help or hurt heartburn. People with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) already have a loose lower esophageal sphincter (AKA the door at the bottom of your esophagus that opens and closes to let food into the stomach). The relaxing properties of peppermint can actually loosen this door up more, causing stomach acid to go back up the esophagus. On the other hand, peppermint’s relaxing properties can also accelerate digestion of food passing through the stomach and reduce GERD symptoms. If you have any indigestion or heartburn, it’s best to take an enteric coated capsule of peppermint oil at least an hour apart from antacids, and see how you feel.
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- Grundmann O, Yoon SL. Complementary and alternative medicines in irritable bowel syndrome: An integrative view. World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG. 2014;20(2):346-362. doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i2.346.
- Cash BD, Epstein MS, Shah SM. A Novel Delivery System of Peppermint Oil Is an Effective Therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms. Digestive Diseases and Sciences. 2016;61:560-571. doi:10.1007/s10620-015-3858-7.
- Sarchielli P, Granella F, Prudenzano MP, et al. Italian guidelines for primary headaches: 2012 revised version. The Journal of Headache and Pain. 2012;13(Suppl 2):31-70. doi:10.1007/s10194-012-0437-6.
- Peppermint. Examine.com https://examine.com/supplements/peppermint/ Updated June 14, 2018. Accessed June 25, 2018.
- Khanna R, MacDonald JK, Levesque BG. Peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 2014 Jul;48(6):505-12. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3182a88357.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.