DESCRIPTION: Commonly used as a flavouring ingredient and beverage tea, peppermint aids in digestive activities due to its active ingredients of menthol and carvone. Considered one of the strongest antibiotic oils tested, peppermint inhibits the growth of bacteria as well as viruses. For this reason, candy made of peppermint contains very few micro-organisms.
HERBAL USES Peppermint has long been used as a digestive aid and for the symptomatic treatment of cough , colds, and fever. Peppermint oil is used for chest congestion and as a local anaesthetic. Recently, the oil has also been used to treat irritable bowel disease, also known as spastic colon.
SUPPLEMENTAL USES Irritable bowel syndrome: The German Commission E has approved the use of peppermint oil for the treatment of colicky pain in the digestive tract. However, the scientific evidence remains contradictory (1,2,3,4,5).
Colds and flus: Peppermint oil is also approved for the relief of mucus congestion in the lungs and sinuses.
Gallstones: There may be evidence that peppermint may help treat Gallstones(6).
Candida yeast infections: While no evidence exists to support its use for yeast infections, peppermint has been a recommended treatment. There is evidence that demonstrates its ability to inhibit viral and bacterial growth (7,8,9).
Other stated benefits of peppermint include the following: combats gas, increases bile flow, relieves indigestion, prevents Ulcers and reduces Inflammation.
SAFETY AND PRECAUTIONS Peppermint appears to be quite safe when used at normal dosages in healthy adults (10, 11). However, excessive amounts of peppermint oil can be toxic, causing nausea, loss of appetite, heart problems, loss of balance, and other nervous system problems. Excessive use can even cause kidney failure and death. Some people may be allergic to peppermint. Menthol-containing drugs (including peppermint) can be fatal to infants if applied to the nose. In general, peppermint should be kept away from new-born babies, as it can cause jaundice.
INTERACTIONS AND CONTRA-INDICATIONS Regular use of peppermint may affect the absorption of tetracycline derivatives, oral anticholinergis, phenothiazines, digoxin, isoniazid, phenytoin, and warfarin. Peppermint may affect the urinary excretion of alkaline drugs, such as amphetamines or quinidine.
Peppermint may interact with analgesics, anaesthetics, chlorprothixene HCl, haloperidol, CNS drugs, and tranquillisers. Anticholinergics may affect the action of peppermint.