Soothe your IBS with peppermint

If you’ve got irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you know all too well that you’re in for some extra suffering. Unfortunately, there’s no easy conventional remedy. But fortunately, it looks like peppermint may just be your saving grace.

When your only other options are prescription drugs with a litany of side effects, peppermint for the relief of IBS can be a godsend.

This refreshing herb has some serious healing power. We’ve known for a long time that it’s a digestive enhancer that can calm your bowels down. In fact, dozens of studies have been performed on peppermint, or Mentha piperita (MP), and its positive effects on IBS.

In one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 90 patients with IBS, members of the treatment group who took one enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule (ECPO) three times a day had significantly less abdominal pain than members of the control group.

In addition, their quality of life markers were significantly improved.

These are people who’d been suffering for years — and all it took was taking a supplements of this simple herb for just two months.

Highly significant positive results came out of another study that looked at IBS patients who took two ECPO capsules even less frequently and over a shorter period of time — just twice a day for only one month.

How does it work? Well, this minty herb doesn’t just feel soothing to a burning gut. In fact, it may improve digestive function by its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory actions.

Peppermint oil actually has significant amounts of the antioxidant limonene and the antibiotic oil cineole (also a major component of eucalyptus), in addition to the menthol and other alcohols.

It can also help tackle one of the most debilitating conditions associated with IBS — fatigue. It acts as a nerve stimulant and can give your energy levels a boost.

But you won’t get the quantity (or quality) of it that you need through the current seasonal sources of peppermint — so don’t go for the sweets, peppermint bark, or peppermint mocha lattes.

Instead, you can drink peppermint tea… or even try using the oil in liquid form… but for best results, use the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules used in the studies I mentioned.

Coating the capsule ensures that it gets down into the lower aspects of the intestinal tract, where the problems of irritable bowel syndrome occur, and reduces any stomach-related side effects from the peppermint (like heartburn).

Take it about 30 minutes before you eat — but remember that even peppermint can’t send your IBS symptoms packing if you don’t avoid the foods that are most likely to trigger them.

Wishing you the best of health,

Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing

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Can Peppermint Oil Relieve Indigestion or IBS Symptoms?, published online,

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