Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a hydrid plant that is used for its sensory properties (aroma and taste) and the oil is used internally as a carminative and intestinal aid. It appears to be well supported for relaxing the stomach and intestines, and effectively reduces abdominal pain in IBS.
Peppermint is most often used for
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a plant which is a hybrid from watermint and spearmint, used initially for culinary and food manufacturing purposes but has also been used for its supposed medicinal benefits. Peppermint has an oil component which appears to be its medicinal component, and this oil has a very large content of menthol which is seen as its bioactive ingredient. This menthol is nontoxic at the recommended dose, but is the same menthol also found in some cigarette products.
The main medicinal role of peppermint is due to its muscle relaxing properties in the stomach and intestinal tract, and internal usage of peppermint appears to be able to speed up the early phase of digestion in the stomach while reducing colonic motility. It is known as a carminative agent (thought to relief flatulence), and it has a fair bit of evidence to supports its usage in reducing abdominal pain in persons with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It doesn't seem to influence other symptoms of IBS too much, but the reduction of abdominal pain is quite notable.
Other possible benefits of peppermint oil include fast headache relief (which involves applying a topical solution of 10% peppermint oil to the scalp at the onset of a tension headache) and possibly a reduction in nausea when used as aromatherapy. It is safe with the recommended dosages, but overconsumption of peppermint oil supplements does have a toxic level which is feasible to reach intentionally.
- Mentha piperita
- Mentha balsamea
- Spearmint or Watermint (the plants from which peppermint is a hybrid)
Oral supplementation of peppermint oil for the purpose of gastrointestinal health and motility involves consuming anywhere between 450-750mg of the oil daily in 2-3 divided doses, and this is around 0.1-0.2mL of the oil itself per dosage. The exact optimal dosage of peppermint is not known, and the numbers reflect a menthol content somewhere between 33-50%.
Usage of peppermint for the treatment of headaches involves having a solution of 10% peppermint oil and applying a relatively thin layer to the front of your head upon the start of a headache, with another application after 15 minutes and 30 minutes (for three applications in total).
Usage of peppermint for aromatherapy does not follow any particular dosing, and similar to other forms of aromatherapy it should be used as either an oil or in a distiller until a pleasant aroma permeates the vicinity.
Any form of peppermint oil should be effective although for persons who experience heartburn (acid reflux) and wish to supplement with peppermint oil for their intestines, then an enteric coated capsule would be useful (since the muscle relaxing effects may affect the esophagous if the capsule breaks prematurely).
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