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.
What Are Star Ratings?
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, 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.
1. Foster S. Herbs for Your Health. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1996, 72–3.
2. Serfaty R, Itic J. Comparative trial with natural herbal mouthwash versus chlorhexidine in gingivitis. J Clin Dentistry 1988;1:A34.
3. Yamnkell S, Emling RC. Two-month evaluation of Parodontax dentifrice. J Clin Dentistry 1988;1:A41.
4. Forster HB, Niklas H, Lutz S. Antispasmodic effects of some medicinal plants. Planta Med 1980;40:303–19.
5. May B, Kuntz HD, Kieser M, Kohler S. Efficacy of a fixed peppermint/caraway oil combination in non-ulcer dyspepsia. Arzneimittelforschung 1996;46:1149–53.
6. Westphal J, Hörning M, Leonhardt K. Phytotherapy in functional upper abdominal complaints. Results of a clinical study with a preparation of several plants. Phytomedicine 1996;2:285–91.
7. Madisch A, Heydenreich CJ, Wieland V, et al. Treatment of functional dyspepsia with a fixed peppermint oil and caraway oil combination as compared to cisapride. Arzneimittelforschung 1999;49;925–32.
8. Leicester RJ, Hunt RH. Peppermint oil to reduce colonic spasm during endoscopy. Lancet 1982;ii:989 [letter].
9. Pittler MH, Ernst E. Peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome: a critical review and metaanalysis. Am J Gastroenterol 1998;93:1131–5.
10. Poynard T, Naveau S, Mory B, Chaput JC. Meta-analysis of smooth muscle relaxants in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 1994;8:499–510.
11. Rees WD, Evans BK, Rhodes J. Treating irritable bowel syndrome with peppermint oil. Br Med J 1979;2(6194):835–6.
12. 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.
13. Dew MJ, Evans BK, Rhodes J. Peppermint oil for the irritable bowel syndrome: A multi-center trial. Br J Clin Pract 1984;38:394–8.
14. Cappello G, Spezzaferro M, Grossi L, et al. Peppermint oil (Mintoil) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Dig Liver Dis 2007;39:530–6.
15. Merat S, Khalili S, Mostajabi P, et al. The effect of enteric-coated, delayed-release peppermint oil on irritable bowel syndrome. Dig Dis Sci 2010;55:1385–90.
16. Nash P, Gould SR, Barnardo DE. Peppermint oil does not relieve the pain of irritable bowel syndrome. Br J Clin Pract 1986;40:292–3.
17. Rogers J, Tay HH, Misiewicz JJ. Peppermint oil. Lancet 1988;ii:98–9 [letter].
18. May B Kuntz HD, Kieser M, Kohler S. Efficacy of a fixed peppermint/caraway oil combination in non-ulcer dyspepsia. Arzneimittelforschung 1996;46:1149–53.
19. Friese J, Köhler S. Peppermint/caraway oil-fixed combination in non-ulcer dyspepsia: equivalent efficacy of the drug combination in an enteric coated or enteric soluble formula. Pharmazie 1999;54:210–5.
20. Madisch A, Heydenreich CJ, Wieland V, et al. Treatment of functional dyspepsia with a fixed peppermint oil and caraway oil combination preparation as compared to cisapride. Arneimittlforschung 1999;49:925–32.
21. Westphal J, Hörning M, Leonhardt K. Phytotherapy in functional abdominal complaints: Results of a clinical study with a preparation of several plants. Phytomedicine 1996;2:285–91.
22. Westphal J, Hörning M, Leonhardt K. Phytotherapy in functional abdominal complaints: Results of a clinical study with a preparation of several plants. Phytomedicine 1996;2:285–91.
23. Gobel H, Schmidt G, Soyka D. Effect of peppermint and eucalyptus oil preparations on neurophysiological and experimental algesimetric headache parameters. Cephalalgia 1994;14:228–34.
24. Gobel H, Fresenius J, Heinze A, et al. Effectiveness of Oleum menthae piperitae and paracetamol in therapy of headache of the tension type. Nervenarzt 1996;67:672–81 [in German].
25. Schattner P, Randerson D. Tiger Balm as a treatment of tension headache. A clinical trial in general practice. Aust Fam Physician 1996;25(2):216, 218, 220.
26. Hammer KA, Carson CF, Riley TV. In-vitro activity of essential oils, in particular Melaleuca alternafolia (tea tree) oil and tea tree oil products, against Candida albicans. J Antimicrobial Chemother 1998;42:591–5.
27. Stiles JC. The inhibition of Candida albicans by oregano. J Applied Nutr 1995;47:96–102.
28. Schilcher H. Phytotherapy in Paediatrics. Stuttgart: Medpharm Scientific Publishers, 1997, 80.
29. Schulz V, Hansel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy, 3rd ed. Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1998, 146–7.
30. Somerville KW, Ellis WR, Whitten BH, et al. Stones in the common bile duct: Experience with medical dissolution therapy Postgrad Med J 1985;61:313–6.
31. Werbach MR, Murray MT. Botanical Influences on Illness: A Sourcebook of Clinical Research. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1994, 166–8 [review].
32. Kato T, Iijima H, Ishihara K, et al. Antibacterial effects of Listerine on oral bacteria. Bull Tokyo Dent Coll 1990;31:301–7.
33. Cosentino S, Tuberoso CI, Pisano B, et al. In-vitro antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of Sardinian Thymus essential oils. Lett Appl Microbiol 1999;29:130–5.
34. Petersson LG, Edwardsson S, Arends J. Antimicrobial effect of a dental varnish, in vitro. Swed Dent J 1992;16:183–9.
35. Cox SD, Mann CM, Markham JL, et al. The mode of antimicrobial action of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil). J Appl Microbiol 2000;88:170–5.
36. Serfaty R, Itic J. Comparative trial with natural herbal mouthwash versus chlorhexidine in gingivitis. J Clin Dent 1988;1:A34–7.
37. Dolara P, Corte B, Ghelardini C, et al. Local anaesthetic, antibacterial and antifungal properties of sesquiterpenes from myrrh. Planta Med 2000;66:356–8.
38. Hannah JJ, Johnson JD, Kuftinec MM. Long-term clinical evaluation of toothpaste and oral rinse containing sanguinaria extract in controlling plaque, gingival inflammation, and sulcular bleeding during orthodontic treatment. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 1989;96:199–207.
39. Hong CZ, Shellock FG. Effects of a topically applied counterirritant (Eucalyptamint) on cutaneous blood flow and on skin and muscle temperatures. A placebo-controlled study. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 1991;70:29–33.
40. Bradley PR (ed). British Herbal Compendium, vol 1. Bournemouth, Dorset UK: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992, 174–6.
41. Tyler VE. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. Binghamton, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1994, 56–7.
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.
46. May B, Kuntz HD, Kieser M, Kohler S. Efficacy of a fixed peppermint/caraway oil combination in non-ulcer dyspepsia. Arzneimittelforschung 1996;46:1149–53.
47. Westphal J, Hörning M, Leonhardt K. Phytotherapy in functional abdominal complaints: Results of a clinical study with a preparation of several plants. Phytomedicine 1996;2:285–91.
48. Göbel H, Schmidt G, Dwoshak M, et al. Essential plant oils and headache mechanisms. Phytomedicine 1995;2:93–102.
49. Göbel H, Schmidt G, Soyka DS. Effect of peppermint and eucalyptus oil preparations on neurophysiological and experimental algesimetric headache parameters. Cephalalgia 1994;14:228–34.
50. Wichtl M. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1994, 336–8.
51. Sigmund DJ, McNally EF. The action of a carminative on the lower esophageal sphincter. Gastroent 1969;56:13–8.
52. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 180–2.
Last Review: 11-07-2012
Copyright © 2012 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Aisle7.com
The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2013.
Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.