Peppermint oil could be a great alternative remedy for a number of health problems. The fragrant oil has been used in the treatment of indigestion, respiratory problems, headache, nausea, and fever. Now researchers are learning that peppermint oil could also beneficial in treating cases of stomach and bowel spasms and pain. This is mainly due to the presence of menthol, menthone and menthyl esters found in the oil.
In one clinical trial performed at the Institute of Digestive Disease at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, researchers set out to investigate various alternative treatments for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). They note that there are largely unsatisfactory results from conventional treatment of IBS, but that most clinical trials focusing on alternative remedies have been of poor quality. After conducting a review of current clinical trials, they concluded that there’s not enough evidence to support the use of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, meditation, or reflexology for the treatment of IBS. However, they did find convincing evidence supporting the use of peppermint oil as an effective IBS treatment.
The muscle-relaxing property of peppermint oil is likely responsible for easing the symptoms of IBS. Peppermint oil is very helpful when it comes to aiding digestion in general. Often people put a few drops of peppermint oil in a glass of water and drink it after their meal due to its digestive properties.
Here’s more health advice for the use of peppermint oil as an alternative therapy: apply it topically for tension headaches. The menthol in peppermint oil could help muscles to relax, easing painful symptoms. It can be massaged into the temples and forehead.
In one German clinical trial, 41 patients experiencing headache were treated with a locally applied peppermint oil preparation, acetaminophen, or a placebo. The study included the analysis of 164 headache attacks among the patients, who were comprised of both sexes ranging between 18 and 65 years of age. All suffered from tension-type headaches. The researchers found that 10% peppermint oil in ethanol solution significantly reduced the clinical headache intensity after 15 minutes. The peppermint oil proved to be just as effective as the acetaminophen at reducing headache pain. The research team concluded that peppermint oil efficiently relieves tension-type headaches. In addition, peppermint oil is well tolerated and proves to be a cost-effective treatment.