While peppermint has been a favourite herbal medicine dating back to 1,000 BC, modern research is now revealing an abundance of potential health benefits associated with the use of different components of the peppermint plant including:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome Since the late 90’s it was discovered that enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are safe and effective in the treatment of this increasingly prevalent disorder. This beneficial effect extends to the paediatric community. In one children’s trial 75% of those receiving peppermint oil had reduced severity of pain associated with IBS within 2 weeks. Another 2005 trial in adults concluded that “Taking into account the currently available drug treatments for IBS Peppermint oil (1-2 capsules t.i.d. over 24 weeks) may be the drug of first choice in IBS patients with non-serious constipation or diarrhoea to alleviate general symptoms and to improve quality of life.” In another 2007 trial, 75% of patients receiving peppermint oil saw an impressive 50% reduction of “total irritable bowel syndrome score.” Most recently, a study published in January of this year found that peppermint oil was effective in relieving abdominal pain in diarrhoea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome.
- Colonic spasm Peppermint oil has been studied as a safe and effective alternative to the drug Buscopan for its ability to reduce spasms during barium enemas.
- Gastric Emptying Disorders Peppermint has been found to enhance gastric emptying, suggesting its potential use in a clinical setting for patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders.
- Functional dyspepsia A 2000 study published in the journal Ailment Pharmacology and Therapy found that 90 mg of peppermint oil and 50 mg of caraway oil resulted in 67% of patients reporting “much or very much improved” in their symptoms of functional dyspepsia.
- Infantile Colic A 2013 study found that peppermint is at least as effective as the chemical simethicone in the treatment of infantile colic.
Other studied applications include
- Memory problems A 2006 study found that the simple aroma of peppermint enhances memory and increases alertness in human subjects.
- Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea A 2013 study found that peppermint oil was found to be effective in reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea, and at reduced cost versus standard drug-based treatment.
- Prostate Cancer Preclinical research indicates that peppermint contains a compound known as menthol which inhibits prostate cancer growth.
- Radiation Damage Preclinical research indicates peppermint protects against radiation-induced DNA damage and cell death.
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