Is Peppermint Oil Calming for IBS

If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and have done some research into the condition you will probably have heard about peppermint oil.

How Effective is Peppermint Oil For IBS?

Peppermint is known as an aromatic herb and has a long history of medicinal uses involving the digestive system. (The plant is actually a hybrid of spearmint and water mint). You will already be familiar with peppermint tea and its calming effects on the gut but it is the oil itself that has been shown to relieve IBS symptoms. There have been many clinical trials into the effects of peppermint oil on patients “diagnosed” with irritable bowel syndrome and they all conclude that there are significant benefits.

What Does Peppermint Oil Do?

Peppermint contains an essential oil called menthol and this has antiseptic and pain killing properties. It is also an antispasmodic which means that it reduces muscle spasms. Therefore it is easy to understand why peppermint oil is suitable for bowel disorders- it can relieve cramping and abdominal pain associated with muscle spams and also improve any gas and bloating.

Peppermint Tea Versus Peppermint Oil

Peppermint tea is good for more mild IBS symptoms. It will relieve discomfort and cramps but I would recommend its use more as a general every day calming aid rather than to specifically remove severe symptoms that have already been triggered.

peppermint oil capsulesPeppermint oil is stronger and will stop the spasms in your digestive tract by going straight to the problem area. Capsules are best (and safer) and they should be enteric coated because this stops the oil being released until it has reached the intestines. If the oil is released too early then it can cause heartburn and indigestion which is not helpful!

It is especially good for those of us with diarrhea symptoms (I don’t know about constipation) and helps to remove the terrible urgency that goes with it.

Quote from one customer

“these things really do work well and I highly recommend them”

Cautions and Side Effects

  • Peppermint oil even in capsule format can sometimes cause heartburn if taken in excess.
  • If the enteric coating dissolves too quickly (this doesn’t happen that often) then it can make you burp for awhile. It is best to take it on an empty stomach to avoid this.
  • They can leave a taste of peppermint in your mouth but I actually don’t mind this.
  • If you have any history of hiatus hernia or gastroesophageal reflux disease then peppermint oil could worsen your symptoms so you shouldn’t take it.
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding it is best to avoid taking peppermint oil.

How Long Before Results

Studies typically show that patients begin to see noticeable positive results within approximately 2 to 4 weeks of starting to take 2 peppermint oil capsules (containing 0.2 ml of oil) 2 or 3 times each day. Personally I have found them to work within hours and therefore don’t take them until symptoms start or if I am really stressed or eaten something I know is bad for me I’ll take them as a preventative measure.

One of the things I like best about taking peppermint oil is that it is a totally natural substance and for me works better than other medications I’ve tried.

If you are looking for alternative natural IBS supplements to take then I would highly recommend peppermint oil for IBS. There is one product in particular that I like and that is Heather’s Tummy Tamer – Peppermint Oil Capsules which incorporate a blend of peppermint oil, fennel and ginger oils – all natural and known for their calming effects.

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(Please note that peppermint oil should never be given to children and infants as it could be fatal – as with all remedies you should consult your doctor first).

Posted in: IBS Supplements

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