Peppermint A Cool Solution for IBS

Photo of peppermint sprig in a cup next to a bottle of liquid infused with peppermint

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By SUZY COHEN

(SENIOR WIRE) Peppermint is a beautiful plant that has been medicinally treasured for centuries. Known botanically as Mentha piperita, peppermint is actually a hybrid of watermint and spearmint.

Most people know applying peppermint essential oil to your temples can help with a headache, and peppermint gum and candies freshen your breath. Mint leaves can be infused into a pitcher of ice water for instant freshness, not to mention antibacterial and anti-fungal effects.

That’s where mint excels for people: it has been proven to help with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and IBS.

Many people have lost their joy in eating because they have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which includes many symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and suppressed immunity. Hallmark symptoms are those that affect your ability to eliminate. I’m referring to diarrhea, or constipation, or alternating between the two.

An actual diagnosis of IBS is based upon the duration of symptoms, which must be six months or more. If you’re tired of the problem, and sad because you have to toilet-map every trip to the mall, then maybe peppermint is something you should try.

Th herb is available at any health food store, in the form of soft gels and liquid extracts, and supermarket, usually as a tea. You can also buy it in the produce section of some supermarkets as fresh whole leaf.

Peppermint oil supplements (enteric coated) are considered a relatively safe, effective traditional holistic remedy. I’m not referring to essential oil: I’m referring to a dietary supplement of peppermint oil, which acts as a smooth muscle relaxant inside your intestines, as well as an antispasmodic herb.

It is also known to help with gas, bloating, and minor cramping.

A study published in the August 27, 2019 issue of Gastroenterology was conducted, in part, to evaluate the safety and efficacy for peppermint in people with IBS. They used two different formulations that would go to certain parts of the intestine.

They got about 190 people to agree to participate, across several hospitals in the Netherlands. This trial ran from 2016 to 2018. The enteric coated (small intestine release) preparation of peppermint did, in fact, prove to help reduce abdominal pain, discomfort, and general IBS severity.

Here are a few words of caution. The enteric coated form is ideal because plain peppermint oil can irritate the stomach lining and make heartburn and ulcers worse. The enteric coating protects the peppermint oil, so it can get down lower to your intestines, rather than breaking down in your stomach.

Avoid peppermint if you have GERD, a disorder of the lower part of your esophagus. My rationale is because peppermint relaxes your esophageal sphincter and will allow acid to reflux upwards. That’s what you are trying to avoid! So antacids and peppermint supplements should not be combined.

There are other warnings, so please ask your doctor if this type of herbal remedy is good for you. MSN

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