Quick Fix: Peppermint Oil For Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

by Dr. Jonathan D'Souza

An evergreen herb perfect for your rooftop or kitchen garden, peppermint (Mentha piperita) has been traditionally used for treating gastrointestinal disorders.[1] Possessing a strong aroma and flavor, it has been celebrated for its medicinal properties since ancient times.

Peppermint oil is used in aromatherapy as a stimulating scent.[3] A study found that during a sustained visual attention (40m) task, the aroma of peppermint improved cognitive performance.[3] In another study, an aroma mixture of peppermint, basil, jojoba and helichrysum caused a significant reduction in symptoms of exhaustion and mental fatigue.[4]

Peppermint oil can also reduce signs of nausea. Using the oil for aromatherapy during labor is associated with less usage of pain medication during childbirth.[5,6] The oil is also effective in reducing tension headaches and works within 15 minutes of application.[7,8]

The muscle-relaxing properties of peppermint oil can relieve esophageal spasms (painful muscle contractions that affect your esophagus, the hollow tube between your throat and your stomach).[9] It is also an excellent remedy for the dissolution of gallstones.[10]

Peppermint Oil For Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Due to its low cost and fewer side effects, peppermint oil can be the first line of treatment in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).[11] A study found that it reduced the overall symptoms of IBS such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, feeling of incomplete evacuation, pain at defecation, passage of gas or mucus and urgency at defecation by half.[12]

Three other studies in which the subjects used peppermint oil (in the dosage range of 450-750mg) two to four time daily found a reduction in the IBS symptoms of abdominal pain and diarrhea.[13,14,15]

How To Take It

  • You need to take 450-750mg (0.1-0.2ml) of peppermint oil three times daily to improve your gastrointestinal health and reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page. Read more about Natural Remedies here.

Read More:
Peppermint: A Herbal Elixir To Good Health


1. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants (http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/42052/2/9241545372.pdf)

2. Grigoleit HG, Grigoleit P. Pharmacology and preclinical pharmacokinetics of peppermint oil. Phytomedicine. 2005 Aug;12(8):612-6. Review. PubMed PMID: 16121523.

3. McCombs, Kristin; Raudenbush, Bryan; Bova, Andrea; Sappington, Mark. Effects of Peppermint Scent Administration on Cognitive Video Game Performance. North American Journal of Psychology;2011, Vol. 13 Issue 3, p383

4. Varney E, Buckle J. Effect of inhaled essential oils on mental exhaustion and moderate burnout: a small pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Jan;19(1):69-71. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0089. Epub 2012 Nov 9. PubMed PMID: 23140115.

5. Lane B, Cannella K, Bowen C, Copelan D, Nteff G, Barnes K, Poudevigne M, Lawson J. Examination of the effectiveness of peppermint aromatherapy on nausea in women post C-section. J Holist Nurs. 2012 Jun;30(2):90-104; quiz 105-6. doi:
10.1177/0898010111423419. Epub 2011 Oct 27. PubMed PMID: 22034523.

6. Burns EE, Blamey C, Ersser SJ, Barnetson L, Lloyd AJ. An investigation into the use of aromatherapy in intrapartum midwifery practice. J Altern Complement Med. 2000 Apr;6(2):141-7. PubMed PMID: 10784271.

7. Kligler B, Chaudhary S. Peppermint oil. Am Fam Physician. 2007 Apr 1;75(7):1027-30. Review. PubMed PMID: 17427617.

8. Göbel H, Fresenius J, Heinze A, Dworschak M, Soyka D. [Effectiveness of Oleum menthae piperitae and paracetamol in therapy of headache of the tension type]. Nervenarzt. 1996 Aug;67(8):672-81. German. PubMed PMID: 8805113.

9. Tutuian R, Castell DO. Review article: oesophageal spasm – diagnosis and management. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006 May 15;23(10):1393-402. Review. PubMed PMID: 16669954.

10. Leuschner M, Leuschner U, Lazarovici D, Kurtz W, Hellstern A. Dissolution of gall stones with an ursodeoxycholic acid menthol preparation: a controlled prospective double blind trial. Gut. 1988 Apr;29(4):428-32. PubMed PMID: 3286383;
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1433547.

11. Suares NC, Ford AC. Diagnosis and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Discov Med. 2011 May;11(60):425-33. Review. PubMed PMID: 21616041.

12. Ford Alexander C, Talley Nicholas J, Spiegel Brennan M R, Foxx-Orenstein Amy E, Schiller Lawrence, Quigley Eamonn M M et al. Effect of fibre, antispasmodics, and peppermint oil in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis BMJ 2008; 337 :a2313

13. Liu JH, Chen GH, Yeh HZ, Huang CK, Poon SK. Enteric-coated peppermint-oil capsules in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective, randomized trial. J Gastroenterol. 1997 Dec;32(6):765-8. PubMed PMID: 9430014.

14. Lech Y, Olesen KM, Hey H, Rask-Pedersen E, Vilien M, Ostergaard O. [Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with peppermint oil. A double-blind study with a placebo]. Ugeskr Laeger. 1988 Oct 3;150(40):2388-9. Danish. PubMed PMID: 3061106.

15. Cappello G, Spezzaferro M, Grossi L, Manzoli L, Marzio L. Peppermint oil (Mintoil) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Dig Liver Dis. 2007 Jun;39(6):530-6.
Epub 2007 Apr 8. PubMed PMID: 17420159.

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