The Top 15 Healing Benefits Of Peppermint, According To Scientific Research
Would it surprise you to know ancient civilizations highly prized peppermint? The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all believed it had medicinal properties. Dried peppermint leaves have even been found in several Egyptian pyramids carbon dating back to 1,000 BC. These days, using science, we can clearly see peppermint does indeed have these healing benefits. Aromatherapeutic, internal, and topical applications have all been shown to have distinct healing abilities. Here are 15 that could make a serious impact in your life!
Most of the research on peppermint has shown peppermint to be particularly effective when treating gastrointestinal disorders. These are the 5 major ailments peppermint can help:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Since the late 90’s it was discovered that peppermint oil capsules are safe and effective in the treatment of this increasingly prevalent disorder. This beneficial effect also extends to the pediatric community. In 2 weeks, 75% of children with IBS had a reduced severity of pain. Another trial in 2005, all adults, concluded that “Taking into account the currently available drug treatments for IBS Peppermint oil (1-2 capsules t.i.d. over 24 weeks) may be the drug of first choice in IBS patients with non-serious constipation or diarrhea to alleviate general symptoms and to improve quality of life.” In another 2007 trial 75% of patients receiving peppermint oil saw an impressive 50% reduction of “total irritable bowel syndrome score.” Recently, a study published January of this year found that peppermint oil was effective in relieving abdominal pain in diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome.
- Infantile Colic: A 2013 study found that peppermint is at least as effective as the chemical simethicone in the treatment of infantile colic.
- Gastric Emptying Disorders: Peppermint has been found to enhance gastric emptying, suggesting its potential use in a clinical setting for patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders.
- Colonic spasm: Peppermint oil has been studied as a safe and effective alternative to the drug Buscopan for its ability to reduce spasms during barium enemas.
- Functional dyspepsia: A 2000 study published in the journal Ailment Pharmacology and Therapy found that 90 mg of peppermint oil and 50 mg of caraway oil resulted in 67% of patients reporting “much or very much improved” in their symptoms of functional dyspepsia.
Tons of Other Applications
There are a plethora of other healing benefits as well! These 10 are the more well known.
- Tooth Decay/Bad Breath: In the middle ages, peppermint leaves were used to combat halitosis and whiten teeth. Peppermint oil extract has been found to be superior to the mouthwash chemical chlorhexidine when inhibiting biofilm formation associated with tooth decay.
- Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea: A 2013 study found that peppermint oil was found to be effective in reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea, and at reduced cost versus standard drug-based treatment.
- Memory problems: A 2006 study found that the simple aroma of peppermint enhances memory and increases alertness.
- Prostate Cancer: Preclinical research indicates that peppermint contains a compound known as menthol which inhibits prostate cancer growth.
- Tuberculosis: A 2009 study found that inhaled essential oil of peppermint was able to rapidly regress tuberculous inflammation, leading the authors to conclude: “This procedure may be used to prevent recurrences and exacerbation of pulmonary tuberculosis.”
- Hay Fever: A 2001 preclinical study found that extracts of the leaves of peppermint inhibit histamine release, indicating it may be clinically effective in alleviating the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
- Shingles Associated Pain: A 2002 case study found that topical peppermint oil treatment resulted in a near-immediate improvement of shingles-associated pain symptoms; the therapeutic effects persisted throughout the entire 2 months of follow-up treatment.
- Breastfeeding Associated Nipple Pain: A 2007 study found that peppermint water prevented nipple cracks and nipple pain in breastfeeding mothers.
- Radiation Damage: Preclinical research shows peppermint protects against radiation-induced DNA damage and cell death.
- Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1: Peppermint has been found to have inhibitory activity against acyclovir-resistant Herpes Simplex virus type 1.
As you can see, peppermint has some serious healing abilities! But like all healing herbs and remedies, caution must be exercised. If you’re ingesting it, make sure it’s food-grade. And remember, more is not always better. Don’t overload your system. Take it slow and gradually increase the dose based upon how you feel.
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