Peppermint oil found to reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
04/08/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Looking to find relief from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? Try peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil. This herb has been studied extensively for IBS. A systematic review published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine confirmed that the oil from the peppermint herb is indeed effective for the treatment of IBS without causing any serious side effects.

In the study, a team of researchers from the U.S. and Australia sought to determine the effect of peppermint oil in relieving the symptoms of IBS. The research team also assessed the possible side effects of the essential oil as compared to the placebo.

IBS, a common chronic disorder affecting the gastrointestinal tract, is characterized by relapsing abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. This condition also causes symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas. Earlier studies have shown that peppermint oil contains monoterpene compounds that target the pathophysiology of IBS. It also contains L-menthol, which blocks calcium channels in smooth muscle. In turn, this produces an antispasmodic effect on the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, peppermint oil possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, immunomodulating, and anesthetic properties -- all of which may be helpful for treating IBS.

For the meta-analysis, the research team included 12 randomized clinical trials involving a total of 835 participants published over five decades from around the world. From the data they have gathered, the team found that treatment with peppermint oil significantly improved abdominal pain and the other symptoms of IBS. Peppermint oil did not cause serious side effects and is therefore considered safe.


With these findings, the research team concluded that peppermint oil may be used as a safe and effective natural remedy for improving the symptoms of IBS.

How do you use peppermint to treat IBS?

There are many ways on how to use peppermint for the treatment of IBS. You can use the herb for easing IBS symptoms by drinking it as a tea or eating a peppermint candy. Other health experts recommend taking peppermint oil capsules. You can also mix the oil with water. Just add one to two drops of peppermint oil to a glass of water, mix, and then drink it. Moreover, you can also massage a few drops of peppermint oil – combined with a carrier oil – directly on your abdomen.

Peppermint and its other health benefits

Peppermint oil comes from the peppermint plant, a hybrid of watermint and spearmint plants. It is native to Europe and is commonly used for cooking. Also a member of the mint family, this herb has a fresh and minty aroma and flavor. Peppermint oil is widely-used not only for cooking but also for medicinal purposes. The use of the herb for medicine dates back to 1,000 B.C. Here are some of the health benefits that peppermint oil offers:

  • It eases sore muscles: Peppermint oil can relieve muscle sores and aches due to fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome, or other muscle-related sores and aches. It also has a calming effect that soothes the mind together with the muscles. Just apply it topically after a hot shower or add it to baths for muscle relief.
  • It repels bugs: Peppermint oil can be used to repel bugs, cockroaches, and mosquitoes. This may be attributed to its aroma and the presence of menthol and other biochemicals. (Related: Use peppermint oil to aid digestion, repel bugs, and more.)
  • It reduces joint pain: The calming and anti-inflammatory properties of peppermint oil are effective in treating joint pains caused by joint inflammation. You can use the oil for massaging the affected area. This will ease the pain and its severity.
  • It relieves headaches: Peppermint oil has a cooling and anti-inflammatory effect ideal for easing headaches. Research has shown that it can reduce the severity of a headache within 15 minutes of application.
  • It keeps the skin healthy: The phytochemicals in peppermint also improves the appearance of skin and fights off bacteria, preventing acne breakouts or allergic reactions. It also helps tighten the pores because of its cooling effect. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help calm skin inflammation.

Read more news stories and studies on the health effects of peppermint oil by reading

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