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What Is Peppermint Used for Today?
Peppermint oil has shown promise for a variety of conditions that involve spasm of the intestinal tract. Most studies have involved irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), for which peppermint oil has shown considerable promise. Peppermint oil may also be helpful for reducing the pain caused by medical examinations of the colon and stomach, as well for decreasing the intestinal gas pain that frequently follows surgery.
Peppermint oil may also be helpful for dyspepsia (a condition that is similar to IBS, but involves the stomach instead of the intestines).
Weak evidence, far too preliminary to rely upon at all, hints that peppermint oil might help dissolve gallstones. 1 Peppermint oil is also used in another way: as aromatherapy . This means that it is inhaled, often by adding it to a humidifier. Weak evidence hints that inhaled peppermint oil might be helpful for relief of mucus congestion of the lungs and sinuses. 2 Even weaker evidence hints that inhaled peppermint oil might relieve postsurgical nausea . 3 Similarly weak evidence hints that peppermint oil, applied to the forehead, might relieve tension headaches . 4 Finally, a study performed in Iran reported that applying peppermint water (essentially, lukewarm peppermint tea) directly to the nipples helped prevent dryness and cracking caused by breastfeeding. 5
- Somerville KW, Ellis WR, Whitten BH, Balfour TW, Bell GD. Stones in the common bile duct: experience with medical dissolution therapy. Postgrad Med J. 61(714):313-6.
- European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. Menthae Piperitae Aetheroleum (peppermint oil). Exeter, UK: ESCOP, 1996-1997:1-6. Monographs on the Medicinal Uses of Plant Drugs, Fascicule 3.
- Tate S. Peppermint oil: a treatment for postoperative nausea. J Adv Nurs. 26(3):543-9.
- Göbel H, Fresenius J, Heinze A, Dworschak M, Soyka D. [Effectiveness of Oleum menthae piperitae and paracetamol in therapy of headache of the tension type] Nervenarzt. 67(8):672-81.
- Sayyah Melli M, Rashidi MR, Delazar A, Madarek E, Kargar Maher MH, Ghasemzadeh A, Sadaghat K, Tahmasebi Z. Effect of peppermint water on prevention of nipple cracks in lactating primiparous women: a randomized controlled trial. Int Breastfeed J. 2():7.