Benefits of Peppermint oil !

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by fairydust39, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. fairydust39

    fairydust39 New Member

    Benefits of Peppermint Oil ! 09/22/05 07:36 AM

    I have been telling you all about Peppermint Oil and the Capsules for a while--just thought I'd post this and let you read about all the benefits of Peppermint!


    Peppermint has been a popular domestic remedy for digestive ailments for at least two centuries, and is currently one of the most economically important aromatic/medicinal crops produced in the U.S. The plant or its products are available in most parts of the world for flavoring, cosmetic, and medicinal uses. Scientific studies have confirmed a rational basis for traditional uses of the plant, while suggesting further safe and effective use of peppermint oil products as a direct or adjunct therapy in modern practice.


    The genus Mentha of the mint family (Lamiaceae or Labiatae) includes about 20 true species, but because of hybridization, there are dozens, even hundreds of variations. In fact there are as many as 2,300 named variations, half of which are synonyms, while the rest are legitimate infraspecific names (Tucker, Harley, and Fairbrothers, 1980). While long thought to be a distinct species, peppermint (Mentha x piperita L.) is now believed to be a hybrid of spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) and water mint (Mentha aquatica L.) (Murray, Lincoln, and Marble, 1972). It was once believed to be a hybrid between M. aquatica and a cross of M. spicata and M. rotundifolia (Ruttle, 1938).

    Peppermint is a perennial native to Europe, growing to three feet in height, and spreading by runners traveling across the soil surface. The stems are usually reddish-purple and smooth. The leaves are often longer and less wrinkled than those of spearmint. Flowers are pinkish or lilac.

    Historically, peppermint has variously been considered as a botanically unstable species, subspecies, or variety of various mints, producing a high percentage of menthol in its essential oil, or with oils possessing the properties of peppermint oil.

    Commercial Development

    It is unclear whether peppermint oil was produced in the middle ages (Gildemeister and Hoffman, 1900). The herbarium of the English botanist John Ray (1628-1705) includes one of the oldest specimens of peppermint, first observed by Dr. Earles and collected in Hertfordshire County in the south of England. Ray described the plant in his Synopsis Stirpium Britannicarum (1696), using a lengthy Latin phrase. In Ray's Historia Plantarum (1704), he described the plant as "Mentha palustris, peper mint." By the time of publication of the third edition of Ray's Synopsis, he declared that the mint was superior to all mints for stomach weakness and diarrhea (Fluckiger and Hanbury, 1879).

    Commercial cultivation of peppermint is recorded in England as early as 1750. However, as late as 1805, it was still not grown in the famous peppermint-producing area of Mitcham. On the European continent, its commercial cultivation is recorded near Utrecht in 1770. English production reached a peak by 1850, by which time American producers began to provide stiff competition (Fluckiger and Hanbury, 1879).

    Initial production in the United States is recorded in the 1790s in Cheshire, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. By 1812, peppermint was cultivated commercially for oil production in Ashfield, Massachusetts. Subsequently, production spread to New York, Ohio, and Michigan. From 1839-1889, peppermint production became a big business in these states (Landing, 1968). Today peppermint, primarily grown for essential oil production, is commercially produced in Indiana, Wisconsin, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

    In 1995 U.S. peppermint oil production totaled $129.3 million, up from the $109.2 million value of the 1994 crop; production increased by 27 percent. Favorable growing conditions in most production areas resulted in a production increase to 78.3 kg per hectare (compared with an average of 77.5 kg per hectare in 1994). The price per pound was down from 1994 ($14.60/lb.) to $13.7011b. in 1995. The volume of U.S. exports of peppermint oil was up over the previous year, though the total value of the crop was higher, totaling $74.6 million (as compared with $66.9 million in 1994). In 1995 4,290 metric tons of peppermint oil were produced in Idaho, Indiana, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin on 54,760 hectares (Pumphrey 1996).

    Historical Use

    While the medicinal and culinary use of mints has a recorded history of several millennia, a clear historical record of the use of plant material deemed Mentha piperita does not emerge until the beginning of the eighteenth century. By 1721 it became an official item of materia medica in the London Pharmacopoeia as Mentha piperitis sapore (Fluckiger and Hanbury, 1879).

    In American herbal traditions, peppermint (as "Mentha peperita" L.) is first described in Samuel Stearn's The American Herbal (1801). "It is raised in some of our gardens," Steam writes. "It is a stimulant. It restores the functions of the stomach, promotes digestion, stops vomiting, cures the hiccups, flatulent colic, hysterical depressions, and other like complaints. It does not heat the constitution so much as might be expected."

    "Dose, Of the juice from an ounce to one and an half. The leaves when dry may be drank as a tea. Of the oil from one to two drops in sugar. Of the distilled water, from one to two ounces."

    Peppermint leaf, dried and fresh, and the essential oil distilled from fresh or dried leaves, are widely used in foods, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and folk medicine. Peppermint leaf tea is used for indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, colds, headache, and cramps. It is valued for aromatic, stomachic, stimulant, and antispasmodic properties (Leung & Foster, 1996). The major use of the oil is for flavoring toothpastes and other mouth care products, as well as chewing gums. The high price of peppermint oil thwarts its use as a material for the production of menthol (Bauer and Garbe, 1985).

    Peppermint oil has been shown to have antimicrobial activity. Peppermint extracts have shown antiviral activity against Newcastle disease (a contagious of fowls transferable to humans causing a severe conjunctivitis), herpes simplex, and other viruses. Oil of peppermint is experimentally antispasmodic (Leung & Foster, 1996).

    Menthol is the primary component of the essential oil of peppermint (29 to 48 percent). Other constituents include menthone (up to 31 percent), methyl acetate (up to 10 percent), menthofuran (up to 7 percent), and limonene. Peppermint herb also contains flavonoids, phytol, tocopherols, carotenoids, betain, choline, azulenes, rosmarinic acid, and tannins (Leung & Foster, 1996). While menthol is a major component of peppermint oil, Der Marderosian and Liberti (1988), Weiss (1988), and Leung and Foster (1996) warn of toxic effects of ingestion or external application of purified synthetic menthol (artificially produced by the hydrogenation of thymol). Menthol is also extracted from the volatile oil of Japanese mint (Mentha arvensis) which is considerably higher in menthol content than peppermint, but considered inferior for flavoring purposes. Menthol should be considered a distinct product from the volatile oil of peppermint.

    Peppermint enjoyed clinical use among physicians in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Ellingwood (1902) recommends peppermint water (distillate) for "flatulent colic, gastrodynia, nausea, vomiting, spasmodic pain in the bowels, hiccough, palpitation from indigestion, griping, cholera morbus, cholera infantum, spasmodic cholera, irritability of the stomach, diarrhea with abdominal pain, nervous headache, [and] painful gonorrhea."

    Modern Use

    In recent years the medical community has begun to shift its focus from merely recognizing peppermint oil as a pharmaceutical flavoring material to investigation and confirmation of its therapeutic value. Rees, Evans, and Rhodes (1979) reported results of a clinical trial with 18 patients with active irritable bowel syndrome. This condition, though not fully understood, is characterized by recurrent colicky abdominal pain, a feeling of distention, and variations in bowel habits. According to Murray (1987), irritable bowel syndrome represents between 30 to 50 percent of all referrals to gastroenterologists and is the most common gastrointestinal ailment seen by physicians. As much as 15 percent of the population may be affected by this condition. In the trial by Rees et al., patients received either enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules (to prevent absorption in the stomach) or peanut oil capsules as placebo. One to two capsules were administered three times per day, depending upon the severity of symptoms. Treatment periods lasted three weeks.

    The authors noted that patients felt considerably better and experienced relief of abdominal symptoms while taking peppermint oil capsules compared with the placebo. The relative lack of side effects coupled with a reduction of symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome suggested to the authors that the use of enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules is a useful treatment for symptoms associated with this condition. Occasionally peppermint oil is released into the stomach causing heartburn and relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter. The treatment is contraindicated with meals and patients with achlorhydria, absence of hydrochloric acid from gastric juices (Rees, Evans and Rhodes 1979). Dosage of enteric-coated peppermint capsules is recommended between meals.

    Somerville, Richmond, and Bell (1984) studied the pharmacokinetics of entericcoated peppermint oil capsules by determining menthol metabolites in urine. These researchers found that enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules significantly delayed the appearance of menthol metabolites in urine, suggesting that the oil in the enteric-coated peppermint capsules is released in the colon. The oil in gelatin-coated peppermint capsules, on the other hand, is absorbed in the stomach. The authors note that for peppermint oil to be effective in the treatment of spastic colon syndrome, the oil must reach the colon in an unmetabolized state (Somerville, Richmond, and Bell, 1984).

    A communication by Leicester and Hunt (1982) to the British medical journal The Lancet indicated that peppermint oil may be useful as an adjunct to colonoscopy. Recognizing that peppermint oil is a safe substance and produces local smooth muscle relaxation, these researchers used peppermint oil in colonoscopy to reduce colonic spasm during the diagnostic procedure. Colonic spasm was relieved within 30 seconds in each of 20 patients using this technique. The workers switched from peppermint oil B. P * (British Pharmacopoeia) to a diluted suspension of peppermint oil in order to avoid any direct irritation from the oil. Antispasmodic drugs usually used in the procedure have to be administered intravenously while the patient is in an inconvenient, uncomfortable position. However, diluted peppermint oil, sprayed onto the endoscope itself, was thought to be a more convenient means of producing colonic relaxation during endoscopy than orthodox pharmaceuticals generally used in the procedure (Leicester and Hunt, 1982).

    Other studies have shown that peppermint oil inhibits gastrointestinal smooth muscle spasms (Sigmund and McNally, 1969; Taylor, Luscombe and Duthie, 1983) and reduces colonic motility (Duthie, 1981) in humans. Inhalation of the oil for treating congestion due to common colds is believed to ease congestion, aiding respiration, by stimulating cold receptors in the respiratory tract (ESCOP, 1992). Numerous studies provide further information on the efficacy and mechanism of peppermint or peppermint oil in laboratory experimental models.

    According to a recent proposed European monograph (ESCOP, 1992) internal use of the oil, only under the direction of a physician, is indicated for spastic conditions of the upper gastrointestinal tract, flatulence, symptomatic treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, and catarrh of the respiratory tract. It is contraindicated for gall bladder inflammation and gallstones. External use includes oral mucosa inflammations, rheumatic conditions, local muscle and never pains as well as skin conditions such as pruritus and urticaria. Peppermint leaf is approved by the Commission E of the German government as a nonprescription medicine for dyspeptic complaints and peppermint oil is approved for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. However, Commission E contraindicates peppermint oil topically on the face of children under four years old as well as internally for gallstones. (Blumenthal, et al., 1996).

    Peppermint and peppermint oil are some of the most widely-used flavors in the food and confection business. Additionally, scientific research confirms traditional folk remedy use of peppermint as a digestive aid.

    [This Message was Edited on 09/22/2005]
  2. LollieBoo

    LollieBoo New Member

    Peppermint Essential Oil (Make sure it is a pure essential oil), rubbed on the temples or forehead or neck can relieve a headache INSTANTLY. Just avoid your eye area and wash your hands right away.
  3. Mareeok

    Mareeok New Member

    I knew peppermint was good for a lot of things but wasn't aware how much. I am looking for it next trip to the health store.
  4. revlcb

    revlcb New Member

    Yes, LollieBoo, I was going to post the same message.

    My sister, an ER-RN, told me about this method of ridding yourself of headache.

    One little dab at the top of the forehead, at both temples, and at the base of the hairline at the neck. Within a few moments the headache is gone.

    Over the past 2 years of using this remedy, only one person I know has not been benefitted by peppermint oil.
  5. busybusymom

    busybusymom New Member

    Tension or migraine? I bought some upty-doo peppermint oil, did just what you said, but once it wore off, the headache was still there!!!! I guess it's better than sitting there in agonizing pain!!!

    Because of my lovely migraine today, not able to read all of the posts here, but also heard that peppermint is beneficial for PMS.

  6. fairydust39

    fairydust39 New Member

    I use the Peppermint oil for acid reflux,indigestion,sick stomach, and bad breathe. Also the "Enteric Coated Peppermint Oil Capsules" works well for intestinal problems. It stops diarrhea real fast. It melts in the intestines instead of the stomach.You can't get enough of the oil by mouth to stop diarrhea but the capsules work real good for that.I have used it for years.

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