What is Peppermint? Does It Really Help with Pain?
Peppermint is an ancient botanical and it belongs to the mint family of plants. These herbs are found in abundance in Europe and North America. Many people are of the notion that peppermint helps with pain and studies suggest that peppermint oil may be helpful for nerve pain, headache, toothache, joint conditions, and muscle pain. Peppermint herb is a cross of two types of mint plants; spearmint and watermint.
Peppermint was not renowned as a distinct subspecies until the start of the 18th century but mints including peppermint had been used for medicinal purposes in ancient times by the people of Ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome. With its novel aromatic nature, refreshing flavor, and innumerable health benefits, it is thought that peppermint may help with pain and is also extensively used in food products for taste and in a variety of beauty products for fragrance. Sometimes, peppermint oil is used for symptoms of postoperative nausea and anxiety. This article explains the details about the potential benefits of peppermint with pain management and numerous other health issues.
Health Benefits of Peppermint
Peppermint is generally put to use to cope with different types of pain in the body. You can consume peppermint leaf through tea, capsules, or as an extract. Apart from helping with pain, peppermint has been linked to various other health benefits as well. Some of these are as follows:
- Studies suggest that peppermint may help to soothe an upset stomach and it may reduce the irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. It has an anti-germ character that may help to get rid of the germs which cause smell in our mouth. It also helps to keep bacteria from depositing a bacterial layer on our teeth.
- Research proposes interesting results for peppermint help with headaches and also as a natural remedy against anxiety. Peppermint oil might do its magic to ease sleepiness during working hours.
- Experts suggest that peppermint oil may reduce the growth of foodborne bacteria like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. This established the peppermint oil use for reducing bacteria growth as well. Some studies suggest that peppermint might help to kill staphylococcus aureus; a bacteria that is responsible for causing pneumonia, meningitis, and various skin infections.
- Research suggests that in addition to all these health benefits, this natural potion with its sharp smell may help to boost memory. It is considered as a natural nervous system stimulant that may help to increase focus and alertness; concrete evidence in this regard is yet to come.
Peppermint Oil: A Natural Blend with Enormous Health Benefits
Peppermint essential oil is obtained from peppermint plant leaves. Peppermint oil use for alleviating health problems is not new; it’s been linked to several health benefits from very old times. Peppermint essential oils can be used topically and applied to the skin like a cream or lotion for several skin infections. Peppermint oil is also found in the form of leaf extracts, which are more diluted as compared to concentrated oil essentials. Peppermint extracts are usually used to add peppermint flavor to food products. Peppermint can consist of fresh or dry leaves for use in food or as a tea. You feel a sudden cool sensation in your mouth on eating mint-flavored foods; that is due to peppermint ingredients.
Peppermint can also be taken orally as dietary supplements in the form of capsules. Mainly peppermint oil consists of two chemical compounds – menthol and menthone. There are some other components as well. These components relax the gastrointestinal tract in animals. Some studies have shown that peppermint helps nausea in patients as well and may reduce vomiting from chemotherapy. Peppermint oil has shown exciting results when it is tried for a range of digestive issues. It may help in improving the flow of bile and calming down the stomach muscles. Moreover, peppermint essential oil is used in tinctures, chest rubs, and creams for topical use.
Peppermint Help with Headaches
Peppermint may also show some stimulating effects to improve blood circulation and relax muscle tension. A few drops of peppermint oil when applied on the forehead and temples may help to ease a headache in as little as 15 minutes. (Keep away from eyes) Studies suggest that peppermint oil, which contains menthol, may help in conditions of migraines. For research, peppermint oil was applied to the forehead and temples of the participants. When the migraine started, all of the participants got a longer duration of relief from migraines and less nausea and light sensitivity. A recent study examined the effect of peppermint oil tablets on people with non-cardiac chest pain. Over half of the participants reported an improvement in their symptoms.
Peppermint Helps with Nausea and Anxiety As Well
Nausea can occur before and after a surgery or in a tense situation. Peppermint might help patients dealing with nausea as well. One small study showed stimulating results for inhaling peppermint oil on postoperative nausea. They found that patients reported a lower level of nausea after inhaling peppermint oil. Symptoms like vomiting and nausea can also occur in the early stages of pregnancy. Another study has related aromatherapy with peppermint oil for providing relief against nausea in the early stages of pregnancy. Menthol present in peppermint oil may help to reduce the intensity of pain in the menstrual cycle and also to shorten the duration of pain. Consumption of peppermint oil during the menstrual cycle may help to reduce anxiety during periods.
With peppermint oil, a little dab will certainly do. Try a few drops on your wrists or chest to wake you up on a sleepy afternoon at work or a long drive home. Drop a few on your chest and hold your shirt in a tent-like way up to your nose and breathe in deeply when congestion gets in the way of your daily life.
Possible Side Effects of Peppermint & Peppermint Oil
Despite the long list of benefits, peppermint side effects have been reported by some users as well. Small doses of peppermint oil in dietary supplements and in skin creams appear to be safe for adults. However, when taken in large amounts, possible side effects of peppermint oil include heartburn, allergic reactions (like mouth sores and flushing), and anal burning during bouts of diarrhea. If used in a very large quantity in cosmetics, it can be toxic because peppermint contains a toxic compound known as pulegone. Oral intake capsules are taken in the form of enteric-coated capsules to reduce the chances of heartburn. Sometimes the protective coating of the capsules breaks down earlier and the risk of heartburn is increased.
When peppermint oil is taken in combination with other medications, it is better to consult with an experienced practitioner to avoid peppermint side effects. Sometimes supplements can interact with medicine and chances of side effects are enhanced. The combined use of peppermint oil with certain drugs may inhibit the body’s ability to metabolize the drugs and cause indigestion, so the compatibility of medicines must be determined by an experienced doctor or health consultant.