Spicy peppermint oil soothes IBS

By Shayna Brouker • Published: April 15th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

It’s happened again: You just couldn’t resist those chili cheese fries at the baseball game. Or, you thought, maybe this time your tummy will be able to tolerate some Thai food. But not long after indulging your cravings, your stomach angrily protests with painful cramps and bloating. In the middle of the last inning or dinner out with your friends, you have to dash off to the bathroom to take care of business.

In any case, even if you’re the most cautious irritable bowel syndrome sufferer, I-B-S can be difficult to deal with. In recognition of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month, and because I-B-S affects ten to fifteen percent of people in the United States, here’s a handy tip for dealing with it.

In addition to stocking up on antidiarrheal drugs, mapping out bathrooms before you go out, and avoiding “trigger” foods, you might want to go natural… and take peppermint oil.

A report from the American College of Gastroenterology found that just twenty-six percent of I-B-S patients continued to show symptoms after taking peppermint oil on a regular basis, compared with sixty-five percent of those who took a placebo. The patients took two doses of peppermint oil in tablet form for a period of one to three months. Although results from past studies haven’t shown such success, scientists believe this piquant oil shows enough promise to merit use as a mild remedy.

This natural tummy-tamer has been used for centuries and is believed to alleviate gastrointestinal troubles by stopping the flow of calcium into muscle cells inside the intestine. This in turn eases stomach cramps.

Peppermint oil is safe to use every day in small doses, but be sure to take it as a coated capsule to avoid heartburn. You wouldn’t want to add that to your intestinal ire!