Peppermint Oil


Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint used in cooking and herbal medicine since at least 1500 BC when it was listed as a treatment to soothe stomach pains in the ancient Egyptian medical text Ebers Papyrus

Peppermint can be taken as fresh or dry leaves in tea, but it is most effective for stomach-related issues when concentrated into oil and taken orally in enteric-coated capsules, which allows it to pass into the intestine. Peppermint relaxes the muscles of the stomach and intestinal tract and can speed up the initial phase of digestion while reducing colonic motility. 

Studies have shown that peppermint is especially effective for reducing abdominal pain related to IBS. Peppermint has a large quality of menthol, a cyclic monoterpene that suppresses muscle spasms. Studies have also found that peppermint activates an “anti-pain” channel in the colon called TRPM8, where it reduces pain-sensing fibers. 

Peppermint is also known to soothe other symptoms of IBS, such as bloating, diarrhea, and gas.



Peppermint oil to treat IBS symptoms 

The effect of enteric-coated, delayed-release peppermint oil on irritable bowel syndrome

This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study gave 90 outpatients with IBS either enteric-coated peppermint oil or a placebo for 8 weeks. Researchers assessed symptoms and quality of life. At week 8, they found that subjects in the peppermint group had a significant reduction in abdominal pain and a significant improvement in quality of life. The study concluded that peppermint oil is effective and safe for patients with IBS suffering from abdominal pain or discomfort. 

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Peppermint oil (Mintoil) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial

This study tested the efficacy of enteric-coated peppermint oil in patients with IBS. 57 subjects were treated with either placebo or 2 capsules twice a day for 4 weeks. Researchers assessed symptoms before treatment, at 4 weeks of treatment, and 4 weeks after the completion of treatment, evaluating levels of abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, feelings of incomplete evacuation, pain at defecation, passage of gas, and urgency. 

At 4 weeks of treatment, 75% of patients showed a >50% reduction of total IBS symptoms, compared to 38% in the placebo group. The study concluded that 4 weeks of treatment with peppermint oil improves abdominal symptoms in patients with IBS. 

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Enteric-coated Peppermint-oil Capsules In The Treatment Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Prospective, Randomized Trial

This double-blind, placebo-controlled trial tested the efficacy and tolerability of an enteric-coated peppermint-oil formulation (Copermin) on outpatients with IBS (ages 18-70). 110 subjects were included in the study. The peppermint group was given Colpermin 3-4 times daily before meals for 4 weeks. 

Forty-one patients on Colpermin (79%) had alleviation of the severity of abdominal pain. 29 were pain-free. 83% experienced less abdominal distention, and 83% had reduced stool frequency. 73% had fewer borborygmi, and 79% had less flatulence. Overall, symptom improvements in the Colpermin group were significantly higher than placebo. Researchers concluded that enteric-coated peppermint oil is effective and well-tolerated in patients with IBS. 

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Efficacy Of Peppermint Oil In Diarrhea Predominant IBS – A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Study 

Researchers at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University tested the efficacy of peppermint oil for relieving symptoms and improving quality of life in patients with diarrhea-predominant IBS. 64 subjects were given either placebo or peppermint oil 3 times daily for 6 weeks. 

At 6 weeks, abdominal pain was markedly improved in the peppermint oil group. The study concluded that consistent use of peppermint oil is effective for reducing abdominal pain in patients with IBS. 

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Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a common kitchen herb used for flavoring, protective charms against evil sorcery, and medicine. The herb is a staple treatment for digestive ailments in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda and was used by ancient Mediterranean physicians and medieval English doctors to ease indigestion and help nursing mothers. 

Fennel is packed with fiber and important nutrients, making it a potent source of vitamin C, manganese, potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium. It also contains polyphenol antioxidants like quercetin, giving it potent anti-inflammatory properties that work to reduce swelling, pain, and discomfort in the gut. 

With a high fiber content that improves digestive regulation, and considerable antispasmodic and gas-relieving properties, fennel has been shown to soothe symptoms and improve the quality of life in patients with IBS. 


Fennel to treat IBS symptoms 

Foeniculum vulgare therapy in irritable bowel syndrome

This study tested fennel seeds on patients with IBS who had not responded to any previous treatments. Participants received sugar-coated fennel seeds after meals for one week, before gradually increasing the dose to 8-12 seeds 3 times a day. 

Researchers compared IBS activity markers before and after treatment, measuring the frequency and regularity of BMS, the number of visits to a medical provider, abdominal pain and spasms, excessive bloating, and dependence on pain medication. After 2 weeks of treatment, patients saw marked improvements to symptoms, with less abdominal cramps, fewer visits to physicians, and reduced dependence on laxatives, Imodium, and analgesics. 

Patients reported feeling more in control of not only their symptoms but their social lives as well. The study concluded that fennel seeds should be considered a useful adjunctive therapeutic modality in refractory cases of IBS. 

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Curcumin and Fennel Essential Oil Improve Symptoms and Quality of Life in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

This study assessed a combination of curcumin and fennel essential oil (CU-FEO)  to alleviate symptoms of IBS. 121 patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms of IBS were randomly assigned either placebo or CU-FEO. Researchers measured results according to the IBS symptom severity score (IBS-SSS), and impact on quality of life through the IBS-QoL questionnaire.

 After 30 days, patients in the CU-FEO group had a significant reduction in their IBS-SSS score, as well as a reduction in abdominal pain and all other symptoms of IBS. There was a significantly high percentage of symptom-free patients by the end of the trial, compared to the placebo group (25.9% vs 6.8%). Researchers concluded that curcumin and fennel essential oil can significantly improve symptoms and quality of life in patients with IBS.  

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Efficacy of bio-optimized extracts of turmeric and essential fennel oil on the quality of life in patients with irritable bowel syndrome

This open pilot study assessed the efficacy of bio-optimized extracts of turmeric and essential fennel oil (Enterofytol®) on patients with IBS. 211 patients were given 2 capsules b.i.d. of Enterofytol® for 4 weeks, followed by 2 capsules q.d. for another month. Researchers measured symptom severity and quality of life before and after treatment. 

All IBS subgroups showed a significant reduction in the severity index and improvement in QoL. Researchers concluded that a two-month treatment of curcumin and fennel oil can improve symptoms and quality of life in patients with IBS, irrespective of age, sex, the severity of symptoms, and IBS subtypes. 

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Ginger has a long history of medicinal use in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda as a treatment for nausea and to ease digestion. As a herbal remedy, ginger is used to treat a range of gastrointestinal ailments, including indigestion, bloating, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and dyspepsia, as well as unrelated issues like arthritis, muscle aches, and fever. 

Ginger is rich in antioxidants and nutrients known to soothe inflammation. It’s been shown to inhibit the synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, TNF-α, and IL-8, and inhibit prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis, both involved in inflammatory responses. Ginger also contains the digestive enzymes trypsin and pancreatic lipase, which help break down protein and fatty acids respectively. 


Ginger to treat IBS Symptoms 

Ginger (Zingiber officinale): An alternative for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting. A meta-analysis

Researchers assessed several randomized, placebo-controlled trials on the efficacy of ginger for postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV). 10 trials were included, with a total of 918 patients. The analysis concludes that ginger has a significant effect on the severity of PONV, and that ginger reduces the incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting. 

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Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials

A review of evidence from 6 randomized trials for the efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting concluded that ginger was more effective than placebo for easing nausea and vomiting. 

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The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy

An analysis of ginger use for nausea and vomiting concluded that according to the best available evidence, ginger is an effective, safe and inexpensive treatment for nausea and vomiting. 

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Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence

This review assessed the current evidence on ginger as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative, concluding that ginger can treat a wide range of diseases through immo-nutrition and anti-inflammatory responses. 

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Ginger and its Effects on Inflammatory Disease 

A view of the literature on ginger for inflammation, including clinical trials, animal studies, and human studies, concluded that ginger can reduce inflammation in the body and improve related diseases. 

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