The herb peppermint, a cross between two types of mint (water mint and spearmint), grows throughout Europe and North America. Peppermint is often used to flavor foods, and the leaves can be used fresh or dried in teas.
Mentha × piperita
essential oilessential oilan agent extracted from plant parts and used in perfumes, cosmetics, incenses, and medication of peppermint can be taken in very small doses in capsule or liquid forms. The essential oil can also be diluted with another oil and applied to the skin.
Peppermint oil has been used for a variety of health conditions, including nausea, indigestion, flatulence, nausea and vomiting, and cold symptoms.
Peppermint oil is also used for headaches, muscle and nerve pain, and stomach and bowel conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
Results from several studies suggest that peppermint oil may improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
A few studies have found that peppermint oil, in combination with caraway oil, may help relieve indigestion, but this evidence is preliminary.
Although there are some promising results, there is no clear-cut evidence to support the use of peppermint oil for other health conditions.
Peppermint oil appears to be safe for most adults when used in small doses. Possible side effects include allergic reactions and heartburn.
Capsules containing peppermint oil are often coated to reduce the likelihood of heartburn. If they are taken at the same time as medicines such as antacids, this coating can break down more quickly and increase the risk of heartburn.
Consult your physician prior to using peppermint oil if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or have anemia, gallstones, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or hiatus hernia.
Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Herbs at a Glance. Peppermint Oil. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/peppermintoil/