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Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • 1,8-cineole, 3,8 dihydroxy-p-menthane-7-carboxylic acid, 5,7-dihydroxycromone-7-O-rutinoside, 7a-hydroxymintlactone, 8-hydroxymenthone, a-bourbonene, aceite de menta, alpha-humulene, alpha-pinene, anisic acid, balm mint, beta-caryophyllene, beta-myrcene, beta-pinene, black mitchum, black peppermint, brandy mint, caffeic acid, carvone, camphor, chlorogenic acid, cineol, cobalt, coumarin, curled mint, diastereomeric mintlactone, diosmin, eriocitrin, feuilles de menthe (French), folia Menthae piperitae, flavonoids, frantsila, hesperidin, iron, isomenthone, iosmin, isomintlactone, isopentyl isovalerate, isorhoifolin, Japanese peppermint, Katzenkraut (German), Kubanskaia-6 peppermint, Kubanskaya-6 peppermint, lamb mint, limonene, linalool, lithospermic acid, luteolin, luteolin 7-O-beta-glucuronide, luteolin-7-rutinoside, menta prima (Italian), Mentha arvensis L. var. piperascens, mentha extract, Mentha longifolia, Mentha piperita Huds. L. Mentha piperita var. officinalis, Mentha piperita var. vulgaris, Mentha x piperita L., Mentha x piperita nothosubsp., Menthae longifoliae, Menthae piperitae aetheroleum (peppermint oil), Menthae piperitae folium (peppermint leaf), menthe anglaise (French), menthe poivre (French), menthe poivrée (French), menthofuran, menthofurolactone, menthol, menthone, menthyl acetate, methyl rosmarinate, mintlactones, Mitcham peppermint, monoterpenes, narirutin, Native Wilmet, neomenthol, oleum Menthae piperitae, Our Lady's mint, pebermynte (Danish), peppermint oil, Pfefferminz (German), Pfefferminze (German), phenols, piperitone, p-menthane-3,8-diol, p-menthane-3,9-diol, Polyhybrid-7, Porminzen, pulegone, rosmarinic acid, rutin, Schmecker, sterols, terpenes, terpenoids, vitamin A, volatile oil, white peppermint, WS(R) 1340.
  • Brand names: Ben-Gay®, China Maze®, Cholaktol®, Citaethol®, Colpermin®, Iberogast®, Kiminto®, Listerine®, Mentacur®, Mentholatum®, Mintec®, Rhuli Gel®, Robitussin® cough drops, SX Mentha®, Vicks VapoRub®.
  • Combination product examples: Absorbine Jr® (calendula, Echinacea, Artemisia, menthol), Enteroplant® (caraway oil, peppermint oil); STW-5 or Iberogast® (German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) flower, clown's mustard (Iberis amara) plant, angelica (Angelica archangelica) root and rhizome, caraway (Carum carvi) fruit, milk thistle (Silybum marianum) fruit, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) leaf, celandine (Chelidonium majus) aerial part, licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root, peppermint (Mentha x piperita) leaf); STW-5-II (German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) flower, clown's mustard (Iberis amara) plant, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) leaf, licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root; STW-5-S (German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) flower, angelica (Angelica archangelica) root and rhizome, caraway (Carum carvi) fruit, milk thistle (Silybum marianum) fruit, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) leaf, celandine (Chelidonium majus) aerial part, licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root, peppermint (Mentha x piperita) leaf).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief background:

  • Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is a perennial herb found throughout much of Europe and North America with a long history of use for digestive disorders. Mentha x piperita is a sterile hybrid of spearmint (Mentha spicata) and water mint (Mentha aquatica).
  • A number of peppermint traditional remedies are supported by both in vitro and clinical research on the whole plant and one of its main phytochemicals, menthol (a secondary alcohol produced by the herb). Peppermint oil (obtained via steam distillation from the fresh aboveground parts of the flowering plant), for example, is one of the most widely used complementary and alternative medicine therapies for irritable bowel syndrome and indigestion (1). Peppermint oil acts to reduce gastrointestinal smooth muscle motility, possibly by acting as a calcium channel antagonist (2;3). It is also commonly used for pediatric digestive problems (4).
  • Peppermint is also commonly employed in the food and pharmaceutical industries for its cooling and soothing properties as well as for its scent (5) and flavor. Other applications with potential include as a spasmolytic during endoscopic procedures, and for the soothing of symptoms associated with respiratory infection and distress.
  • The United States is a principal producer of peppermint and peppermint oil. The oil is available as bulk herb oil, enteric-coated capsules, soft gelatin capsules, and in liquid form. The largest consumers of peppermint oil are manufacturers of chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwash, and pharmaceuticals.
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Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.