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Peppermint

Also indexed as:Mentha piperita
Peppermint: Main Image© Steven Foster
Botanical names:
Mentha piperita

Parts Used & Where Grown

Peppermint is a hybrid of water mint and spearmint and was first cultivated near London in 1750. Peppermint is now cultivated widely, particularly in the U.S. and Europe. The two main cultivated forms are the black mint, which has violet-colored leaves and stems and a relatively high oil content, and the white mint, which has pure green leaves and a milder taste. The leaves are used medicinally.

  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for AmountWhy
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
90 mg of peppermint oil plus 50 mg of caraway oil in enteric-coated capsules taken three times per dayas Caraway Oil and Peppermint Oil3 stars[3 stars]
Taking peppermint oil combined with caraway oil may reduce gas production, ease intestinal cramping, and soothe the intestinal tract.
Gingivitis

(Caraway, Chamomile, Clove Oil, Echinacea, Menthol, Myrrh, Sage)
0.5 ml in half a glass of water three times per day swished slowly in the mouth before spitting out2 stars[2 stars]
A mouthwash containing sage oil, peppermint oil, menthol, chamomile tincture, expressed juice from echinacea, myrrh tincture, clove oil, and caraway oil has been used successfully to treat gingivitis.
Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity
90 mg of oil plus 50 mg of caraway oil in enteric-coated capsules taken three times per day, for indigestion only2 stars[2 stars]
A combination of peppermint, caraway, and fennel has been shown to reduce gas and cramping in people with indigestion
Irritable Bowel Syndrome

(Caraway Seed, Fennel Seed, Wormwood)
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
A combination of peppermint, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, and wormwood was reported to be an effective treatment for upper abdominal complaints in one trial.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
0.2 to 0.4 ml in enteric-coated capsules, three times per day2 stars[2 stars]
Peppermint oil reduces gas production, eases intestinal cramping, and soothes irritation. It has been reported to help relieve IBS symptoms in two analyses of controlled trials.
Postherpetic Neuralgia
2 to 3 drops to the affected area three or four times per dayas Peppermint Oil2 stars[2 stars]
Peppermint oil applied to the affected area may be effective for pain relief.
Tension Headache
Spread a 10% oil solution across the temples three times over a 30-minute period2 stars[2 stars]
Peppermint is a soothing oil that appears to have pain-relieving effects when applied topically.
Chronic Candidiasis
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Volatile oils from peppermint have been shown to have significant antifungal action. Doctors recommend enteric-coated capsules, which break down in the intestines instead of the stomach.
Colic
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
This gas-relieving herb is usually given to the infant as a tea. Peppermint tea should be used with caution in infants, as they may choke in reaction to the strong menthol.
Common Cold and Sore Throat
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Peppermint, a source of small amounts of menthol, is believed to work by acting on receptors in the nasal mucous membranes, leading to a reduction of nasal stuffiness.
Gallstones
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
In one study, a mixture of essential oils successfully dissolved gallstones. The most effective herb in that mixture is available only by prescription, but peppermint oil is similar to it.
Halitosis
0.5 to 8 grams daily1 star[1 star]
Volatile oils made from peppermint have antibacterial properties and may be effective in mouthwash or toothpaste form.
Low Back Pain
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
A combination of eucalyptus and peppermint oil applied directly to a painful area may help by decreasing pain and increasing blood flow to afflicted regions.
Poison Oak/Ivy
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Cooling essential oils, such as peppermint, have also been used topically to relieve burning pain and itch.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Recognized in the early 18th century, the historical use of peppermint is not dramatically different than its use in modern herbal medicine. Classified as a carminative herb, peppermint has been used as a general digestive aid and employed in the treatment of indigestion and intestinal colic by herbalists.1

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

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