Some examples include: essential oils, a very concentrated form that can be used for aromatherapy or diluted and applied to the skin extracts, a more diluted form that can be used to add peppermint flavor to foods capsules, which can be taken as dietary supplements. Peppermint oil has a sharp odor that’s cool and refreshing. You may be familiar with the coolness in your mouth after you consume something with a peppermint flavor.
The main chemical components of peppermint oil are menthol and menthone. Peppermint oil comes from the peppermint plant, Mentha x piperita . For example, it can be used as: a treatment for a variety of conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nausea, and other digestive issues, as well as the common cold and headaches a topical application for relief from itching, muscle pain, and headache a flavoring agent in foods and in products such as mouthwashes a fresh, pleasing scent added to soaps and cosmetic products. Records of the use of mint plants for medicinal purposes go all the way back to the times of Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. So, what does modern research say about the benefits of peppermint oil? While some of the potential benefits of peppermint oil are based off of personal testimony, research is ongoing into its health benefits. Some of the most extensive research into the benefits of peppermint oil has focused on IBS.
IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal (GI) condition that can involve abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. A recent review of 12 trials examined the efficacy of peppermint oil capsules when compared to placebo in treating IBS. Researchers found that treatment with peppermint oil improved abdominal pain and other symptoms of IBS. The specific ways peppermint oil helps ease the symptoms of IBS and other GI conditions are largely unknown. Some poss i bilities include: relaxing the smooth muscles of the GI tract having an anti-inflammatory effect affecting the types of bacteria that naturally live in the GI tract decreasing pain sensation in the GI tract. Peppermint oil may reduce or relieve symptoms from IBS. Peppermint oil or menthol, one of its main chemical components, has been used in combination with caraway to treat functional dyspepsia. This condition is characterized by bloating and pain in the area of the stomach. A recent review article summarized the results of several studies involving peppermint/menthol and caraway. Overall, this combination treatment appears promising in relieving symptoms associated with functional dyspepsia. Another review of studies of herbal remedies for GI conditions in children and adolescents found that peppermint oil was effective at reducing the duration, frequency, and severity of abdominal pain when compared to placebo. However, peppermint oil wasn’t effective in comparison to simethicone drops in treating colic. Peppermint oil may help reduce abdominal pain from GI tract issues. One small study assessed the effect of inhaled peppermint oil on postoperative nausea. They found that patients rated their level of nausea as lower after inhaling peppermint oil. However, a recent review of studies examined the effects of aromatherapy on postoperative nausea. Four of the reviewed studies involved peppermint oil compared to placebo. The reviewers found that inhaling peppermint oil had little or no effect on the severity of nausea. Symptoms like nausea and vomiting are also commonly present in the early stages of pregnancy. A recent study in 56 pregnant women looked at how aromatherapy with peppermint oil affected nausea and vomiting. They found no significant difference between peppermint oil and placebo. Results from small studies are mixed on the effectiveness of aromatherapy with peppermint oil to help with nausea. Wintergreen oil and menthol have been used to treat pain from tension headaches, migraine headaches, and other causes. One small study looked at the topical application of a 10 percent menthol solution for migraine treatment. They found that when applied to the forehead and temples, participants had a longer duration of pain relief and less nausea and light sensitivity compared to placebo. Another study investigated the use of a treatment gel for migraines. The gel contained menthol as one of its components and was applied to the skin when a migraine began.
Researchers found that there was a significant improvement by at least one severity level two hours after application. A recent study examined the effect of peppermint oil tablets on people with difficulty swallowing and non-cardiac chest pain. Over half of the participants reported an improvement in their symptoms. Different forms of peppermint oil or menthol may help treat pain from headaches and migraine attacks when applied on the skin.
In tablet form, peppermint oil relieved discomfort for people who have trouble swallowing. But there’s a limited amount of research into the potential benefits of peppermint when applied to the skin and hair. A small study looked at the topical application of peppermint oil and the effect that it had on chronic itching. Researchers found that a one percent solution of peppermint oil led to improvements in how long itchiness lasted and the severity of the itch.