botanical name: Mentha piperita
common name: peppermint
Most people think candycanes when they hear peppermint. The sweet and cooling taste conjures up images of simpler, comforting times. But, the healing properties of peppermint are more than just sentimental. People have been using peppermint oil as a medicine for centuries.
The Ancient Greeks and Romans were some of the earliest to use peppermint oil as a medicine to help digestion. The Romans brought peppermint to Europe, where its medical uses expanded to include relief of headaches, itching, and insomnia.
Over time, peppermint spread across the world. Most of the world’s supply is grown in the United States, where Michigan is the largest producer. The German Commission E, which is much like the FDA in the United States, approved peppermint oil as an herbal medicine.
Today, modern medicine takes advantage of peppermint oil to assist with many ailments including:
- Cramps and bloating
- Digestive upsets after eating
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Bowel urgency
- Menstrual cramps
Modern science has given us a better understanding of how it works
Peppermint oil has many compounds, including menthol, that provide relief for digestive discomfort. They work in two ways.
- They can help relax intense contractions of the certain muscles. In the intestines, they are called spasms. When they occur in the uterus, they are menstrual cramps.
- Peppermint oil also acts: to block pain from a cell receptor called TRPM8. This receptor helps the body sense pain, mainly from temperature. It is why you get a cooling sensation in your mouth after eating peppermint. Your colon has these same receptors. Peppermint oil can help block this pain.
+ These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Patent pending.