Peppermint can help soothe IBS


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can make your life an absolute misery, with symptoms that include stomach pain or cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. Unfortunately, there’s no easy conventional remedy for treating these symptoms.

That’s until peppermint came along. And for those of you who don’t want to reach for prescription drugs (with all their associated side effects), peppermint can be a godsend.

No more pain and discomfort

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

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

These are people who had been suffering with IBS symptoms for years — and all it took was taking supplements of this simple herb for just two months.

Another study also showed significant positive results when IBS patients took two ECPO capsules 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 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) necessary by consuming foods that are flavoured with 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.

Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


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

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