Peppermint has long been added to various products, such as candies, ice creams, gum, cakes and toothpaste, because of its refreshing and pleasing taste and smell.
The sugar and invasive chemicals aside, peppermint on its own has garnered a well-deserved reputation for its ability to treat numerous abdominal problems such as cramping and pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, stomach cancer, irritable bowel syndrome and gallbladder disease.
While most of its known benefits deal with stomach and digestive issues, some of the latest research now suggests that it may also be of assistance to curb cravings, ease tension headaches, boost concentration and even enhance exercise performance.
Back in 2007, Italian researchers gathered 57 individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. They were all chosen to participate in a study which evaluated the effectiveness of peppermint oil.
It turned out that within four weeks 75% of the people taking peppermint oil showed a substantial reduction of the usual symptoms consisting of abdominal bloating, pain or discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, feelings of incomplete evacuation and passage of gas or mucus, just to name these.
On the other hand, there seemed to be no significant changes when a placebo was given instead of the peppermint content.
Following further evaluations regarding peppermint’s positive effects with irritable bowel syndrome, some researchers believe that its oil, especially its menthol content, ends up blocking calcium channels which relax the walls of the intestine.
In 2011, an Australian study revealed that peppermint actually triggers antipain stimuli in the colon, therefore alleviating inflammatory pain in the process.