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Gas. Bloating. Cramping. Constipation. Diarrhea. Indigestion.
They’re all signs your digestive health is on the fritz.
Sometimes these symptoms are temporary… maybe a sign you’ve taken one too many trips through the fast food drive-thru lately.
But if they go on too long, you may end up in your doctor’s office searching for a formal diagnosis for your digestive dilemma. More often than not that diagnosis will be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
IBS is one of the most common gut issues. But, just because it’s common, doesn’t mean it won’t make you miserable. It takes the joy out of eating, because you’re always afraid you’re going to have an uncomfortable reaction. And in social situations, the symptoms are embarrassing to say the least.
There’s not much conventional medicine can do for you if you have IBS. Your doctor can offer drugs that may provide some symptomatic relief like diarrhea medication, anti-spasmodic medication and laxatives. But these are only Band-Aid solutions.
Luckily, natural remedies can come to your rescue. Probiotics, a healthy diet and stress-reduction techniques all help in the battle against IBS. But if you’ve already tried these to no avail, there’s one other thing you can do to get your digestive health back on track…harness the healing power of essential oil… particularly peppermint oil.
Peppermint prevents IBS symptoms
Peppermint oil is the most beneficial essential oil when it comes to gut health. It reduces intestinal spasms, alleviates stomach pain, quells nausea and relieves constipation. It also has antibacterial properties that can help knock out nasty buggers like H. pylori if they’re lurking in your gut.
So is it any wonder, then, that researchers have found peppermint oil has an impressive ability to battle IBS too?
Several studies over recent years have demonstrated peppermint oil’s positive impact on IBS symptoms. One 2008 study that included 400 IBS sufferers found that only 26 percent of people who took peppermint oil continued to have IBS symptoms, but 65 percent of people who took the placebo continued to have symptoms.
Other recent double-blind, placebo-controlled studies found that peppermint oil worked for 70 to 85 percent of IBS sufferers. And it worked quickly — it took effect within two to four weeks!
Choosing the right kind of peppermint oil
If you do decide to try peppermint oil for your IBS, I have one word of warning…
Stick to enteric-coated peppermint oil (ECPO) capsules. It’s the type that’s used in many of these studies, and it prevents you from experiencing an uncomfortable side effect that can happen when you take peppermint oil internally — acid reflux.
Considering you’re trying to get rid of all your gut issues, you don’t want to unintentionally cause another one. Luckily, the enteric coating on these peppermint oil capsules prevents them from dissolving in your stomach. Instead they pass through your digestive tract and end up in your intestines before the peppermint’s let loose in your body. That prevents it from triggering an uncomfortable case of acid reflux. In most studies on peppermint oil and IBS, people took between 180 and 200 mg of enteric-coated peppermint oil (ECPO) peppermint oil per day, so you’ll probably want to take a similar dosage to win the battle against IBS once and for all.
- “Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” — MedlinePlus. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
- “Peppermint Oil.” — National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
- L. Haber and S.Y. El-Ibiary “Peppermint oil for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.” — American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy January 2016, 73 (2) 22-31.
- C. Logan and T.M. Beaulne. “The treatment of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth with enteric-coated peppermint oil: a case report.” — Alternative Medicine Review. 2002 Oct;7(5):410-7.
- “Remedies: Peppermint Oil for Irritable Bowel.” — The New York Times Well Blog. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
- C. Ford, et al. “Effect of fibre, antispasmodics, and peppermint oil in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis.” — BMJ. 2008; 337.
- Khanna, et al. “Peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” — Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 2014 Jul;48(6):505-12.