Study Links Health Benefits with Peppermint Oil

By Teresa Dahl

For centuries and centuries, many people have touted the health benefits of peppermint oil. Of the many different types of essential oils and natural remedies, peppermint has long believed to be a tonic for differing symptoms—from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to memory loss. Even used as far back as ten thousand years ago, peppermint oil has always been more than just a nice scent.

While it is a scent and taste that many people enjoy, its medicinal purposes have always outshone its public taste approval. It wasn’t until just recently however that a new study by researchers at the University of Adelaide supports the health benefits that evangelists have been saying for years.

One of the first respected studies was performed in 2007, when Italian researchers analyzed the effects of peppermint oil in IBS. They found that 75% of patients reported a major reduction in their symptoms when they were taking the peppermint oil capsules. This was in stark contrast to the 38% of respondents who had taken the placebo. This study has been repeated several times throughout history.

This year, however, a breakthrough in research has specifically shown how peppermint activates a type of anti-pain sensory channel inside the colon, called TRPM8. The authors of this study point out how naturopaths have been prescribing peppermint oil for many years, but it was not until now that there was a scientific backing to the practice.

“This is potentially the first step in determining a new type of mainstream clinical treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome,” said Dr. Stuart Brierley.

IBS affects nearly 20% of the population, and while there is, as of yet, no cure, this study shows how peppermint oil can reduce painful symptoms. When this is paired with the article from the International Journal of Neuroscience on how peppermint’s aroma can enhance memory and aid in recall, there seems to be more scientific backing to what naturopaths have been saying all along. Peppermint Oil is indeed, a viable, natural cure for a few different ailments such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and should not be taken lightly, as it has scientifically been proven as a medicinal remedy.