Complementary Medicine - Cam
Parts Used & Where Grown
Peppermint is a hybrid of water mint and spearmint and was first cultivated near London in 1750. Peppermint is now cultivated widely, particularly in the U.S. and Europe. The two main cultivated forms are the black mint, which has violet-colored leaves and stems and a relatively high oil content, and the white mint, which has pure green leaves and a milder taste. The leaves are used medicinally.
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Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)
Recognized in the early 18th century, the historical use of peppermint is not dramatically different than its use in modern herbal medicine. Classified as a carminative herb, peppermint has been used as a general digestive aid and employed in the treatment of indigestion and intestinal colic by herbalists.1
How It Works
How It Works
Peppermint leaves yield approximately 0.1–1.0% volatile oil which is composed primarily of menthol (29–48%) and menthone (20–31%).40 Peppermint oil is classified as a carminative (prevents and relieves intestinal gas).41 It may also relieve spasms in the intestinal tract. Peppermint oil or peppermint tea is often used to treat gas and indigestion.
Three double-blind trials found that enteric-coated peppermint oil reduced the pain associated with intestinal spasms, commonly experienced in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).42 , 43 , 44 However, another trial found no effect of peppermint on IBS.45 A double-blind trial found that an enteric-coated combination of peppermint and caraway oils was superior to a placebo for people with gastrointestinal complaints including IBS.46 A combination of peppermint, caraway seeds, and two other carminative herbs ( fennel seeds and wormwood ) was reported to be effective for gastrointestinal complaints including IBS in another double-blind study.47
A tea of peppermint is a traditional therapy for colic in infants but has never been investigated in a human trial. Peppermint should be used cautiously in infants (see side effects below).
Peppermint oil’s relaxing action also extends to topical use. When applied topically, it acts as an analgesic and reduces pain.48 A trial of topical peppermint oil applied to the temples of healthy volunteers (with or without eucalyptus oil) found that peppermint oil had a muscle-relaxing action and it decreased tension.49 Topical peppermint oil alone reduced pain in people with tension headaches as well.
How to Use It
For internal use, a tea can be made by pouring 1 cup (250 ml ) of boiling water over 1 heaped teaspoon (5 grams) of the dried leaves and steeping for five to ten minutes. Three to four cups (750–1000 ml) daily between meals can be taken to relieve stomach and gastrointestinal complaints.50 Peppermint leaf tablets and capsules, 3–6 grams per day, can be taken. For treatment of irritable bowel syndrome , 1–2 enteric-coated capsules containing 0.2 ml of peppermint oil taken two to three times per day is recommended.
For headaches, a combination of peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil diluted with base oil can be applied to the temples at the onset of the headache and every hour after that or until symptom relief is noted.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.
Interactions with Medicines
As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
Peppermint tea is generally considered safe for regular consumption. Peppermint oil can cause burning and gastrointestinal upset in some people.51 It should be avoided by people with chronic heartburn , severe liver damage, inflammation of the gallbladder, or obstruction of bile ducts.52 People with gallstones should consult a physician before using peppermint leaf or peppermint oil. Some people using enteric-coated peppermint capsules may experience a burning sensation in the rectum. Rare allergic reactions have been reported with topical use of peppermint oil. Peppermint oil should not be applied to the face—in particular, the nose—of children and infants. Peppermint tea should be used with caution in infants and young children, as they may choke in reaction to the strong menthol. Chamomile is usually a better choice for this group for treating colic and mild gastrointestinal complaints.
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42. Dew MJ, Evans BK, Rhodes J. Peppermint oil for the irritable bowel syndrome: a multicenter trial. Br J Clin Pract 1984;38:394–8.
43. Liu J-H, Chen G-H, Yeh H-Z, et al. Enteric-coated peppermint-oil capsules in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective, randomized trial. J Gastroenterol 1997;32:765–8.
44. Rees W, Evans B, Rhodes J. Treating irritable bowel syndrome with peppermint oil. Br Med J 1979; 2:835–6.
45. Nash P, Gould SR, Barnardo DB. Peppermint oil does not relieve the pain of irritable bowel syndrome. Br J Clin Pract 1986;40:292–3.
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Last Review: 02-05-2013
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