|Description||The peppermint plant is a hybrid of spearmint and water mint. Its active ingredient is a volatile oil made up of more than 40 components, including menthol, flavonoids and phenolic acids.|
|Function/ Used for||Peppermint is primarily used for indigestion relief. It is also used as an inhalant, for clearing congestion in coughs and colds.
Peppermint soothes the digestive tract, helps relieve nausea, and sweetens breath.
Peppermint oil may be effective in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)2.
Menthol and peppermint oil can be applied externally to treat headache2.
|As a supplement||Peppermint can be found in its essential oil form (not to be taken internally), as a tea, or as enteric coated capsules containing 0.2ml oil.
powdered herb 2-4g
up to 4 cups of peppermint tea per day
2 drops of peppermint oil in a steam bath to inhale
up to 2 enteric coated capsules containing 0.2ml oil daily
|Found in (dietary sources)||N/A|
|Precautions and contraindications||Peppermint oil acts as a relaxant on the muscles of the stomach and gastro-intestinal tract, and can aggravate acid reflux or the symptoms of hiatus hernia.
Peppermint oil should not be put on the nostrils or chests of children under 5 years old.
When taken internally, peppermint oil should be in enterically coated products to reduce possible irritation.3
|Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding||External use is suitable during pregnancy. However peppermint is not recommended to be taken internally during pregnancy, unless as a tea which may be taken to help relieve morning sickness.1|
|Interactions e.g. with other medications||No significant interactions reported.1|
|Adverse effects||When taken as a tea, peppermint is usually considered safe, although hypersensitivity reactions have been reported. Rare negative reactions to enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may include skin rash, heartburn, slowed heartbeat, and muscle tremors. Menthol or peppermint oil applied topically could cause contact dermatitis or rash.1|
|References||1. Braun & Cohen. Herbs and Natural Supplements: An evidence-based guide. Churchill Livingstone, 2005.
2. Williamson, E. M. Potter’s Herbal Cyclopaedia. C.W. Daniel Co Ltd. 2003
3. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://nccih.nih.gov/health/peppermintoil (September 2016)