Peer Reviewed
Complementary medicine update

Peppermint and the gut

Avni Sali, Luis Vitetta
There is growing evidence to suggest that enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are effective in treating symptoms of several digestive disorders.
Key Points

    The use of herbal products for medical conditions is increasing. Medicinal uses are generally based on traditional uses of herbs, usually culinary, but research is now providing some evidence of effectiveness for these uses and others. Peppermint is one example of such a herb.

    Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is a member of the mint family, and its use as a medicine was first described in 1696. It has been used as an antispasmodic, an antiseptic and an aromatic in traditional medicine in the Eastern and Western worlds. It has been used to treat indigestion, nausea, sore throats, colds, toothaches, cramps and cancers. The menthol component of peppermint oil is used as an inhalant for upper respiratory tract disorders, and is an ingredient in many liniments and ointments for sore muscles. The traditional use of peppermint for digestive disorders is thought to be the key reason for its use as after dinner mints.

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