Peppermint has been used since ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece to help stomach and gallbladder ailments, and headaches among other ills.
The word “mint” is translated from the word ‘mentha’ which was the name of a Greek mythological nymph who later transformed herself into the plant.
Peppermint may be helpful in relieving gas and indigestion. I recommend using peppermint tea or enteric-coated capsules.
There are several studies showing peppermint oil is helpful in treating irritable bowel syndrome, and when combined with caraway oil is helpful in treating indigestion.
One study randomized 42 children with irritable bowel syndrome to receive peppermint or placebo. After 2 weeks, 75% of the children experience less stomach discomfort.
Interestingly, the same smooth muscle effects that are theorized to be the reason why peppermint helps people with irritable bowel syndrome may also cause more heartburn in some people. If you are considering using peppermint, look for the enteric-coated capsules.
For minor indigestion, you can also experiment with a cup of peppermint tea and see if you feel a difference.
The usual dose recommended is 0.2 to 0.4 milliliters oil in capsules or liquids taken 3 times daily. Some people enjoy lozenges and the recommended dose is 2 to 10 milligrams. While there is little research to support it, many people favor inhaling the vapor to improve head congestion. Traditionally, people add 3 or 4 drops of oil to 150 milliliters of hot water and inhale the vapor 1-3 times per day.
Learn More: Peppermint Oil – Know What Herbs Do What
Bradly Jacobs MD, MPH is recognized as a leader in Integrative Medicine, Health and Wellness.
Dr. Jacobs is a graduate of Stanford University School of Medicine and earned his master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. He served as Founding Medical Director for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine Clinical Programs at the University of California-San Francisco where he also taught as Assistant Professor. Dr. Jacobs is the author of peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and was Co-Editor of the textbook: ACP Evidence-Based Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Dr. Jacobs is board-certified in internal medicine and has studied acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, and yoga. He has a private medical practice focused on integrative medicine and primary care in San Francisco and Sausalito, California. He was Senior Medical Director at Revolution Health. Dr Jacobs is Medical Director at Cavallo Point Healing Arts Center & Spa.
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J Pediatr. 2001 Jan;138(1):125-8. “Enteric-coated, pH-dependent peppermint oil capsules for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome in children.” Kline RM, Kline JJ, Di Palma J, Barbero GJ. University of Missouri-Columbia, Department of Child Health, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Columbia, Missouri, USA.