Peppermint Oil
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Peppermint Oil

The herb peppermint, a mix between mint and spearmint, grows throughout Europe and North America. The leaves and oils from this plant are used as health supplements. It is also a common flavoring in food, soaps and cosmetics. Peppermint has been mentioned as a health supplement in records from ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt.

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›  Health benefits

Today, peppermint is used for many health issues, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), digestive issues, the common cold and headaches. It is used topically to treat headaches, muscle aches, itching and other problems.

Irritable bowel syndrome
Peppermint oil has been studied most extensively for IBS. Results from several studies indicate that peppermint oil in enteric-coated capsules may improve IBS symptoms.

A few studies have indicated that peppermint oil, in combination with caraway oil, may help relieve indigestion, but this evidence is preliminary, and the product that was tested is not available in the United States.

Peppermint oil has been used topically for tension headaches, and a limited amount of evidence suggests that it might be helpful for this purpose.

›  How much do I need?

Dosage amount varies depending on age and what it is being used for. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels, and consult your pharmacist, physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Possible side effects of peppermint oil include allergic reactions and heartburn. Capsules containing peppermint oil are often enteric-coated to reduce the likelihood of heartburn.

Side effects of applying peppermint oil to the skin can include rashes and irritation. Peppermint oil should not be applied to the face or chest of infants or young children because serious side effects may occur if they inhale the menthol in the oil.

›  Dietary supplements

Peppermint oil is available as a liquid solution and in capsules, including enteric-coated capsules.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Please consult your health care provider before making changes to your vitamin/supplement regimen.

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