Peppermint is a hybrid mint, crossed between water mint and spearmint. The peppermint plant is native to Europe and is now found throughout all regions of the world. Peppermint is a well-known flavouring that is popular in confectionary, ice cream, chewing gum and toothpaste and it is also found in cosmetic products like shampoo, soaps and skincare products. Despite its many uses as a flavour, it has a long history of medicinal use and has been used traditionally for centuries, best known for its ability to calm digestive disorders and stomach upsets.
In many forms, peppermint oil's most prominent benefit is for relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) including flatulence and stomach pains. Its benefits to IBS appear to come from the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules that force the oil to be released in the intestines rather than in the stomach. This makes the oil more effective in reducing pain and discomfort that is associated with IBS.
It has been used as a digestive aid since the Ancient Greeks and is still used to ease diarrhoea, indigestion and trapped wind. It is widely recommended for dyspepsia (indigestion) as it can relieve the pain that is often experience in the stomach and upper abdomen. It works by calming the stomach muscles and improving the flow of bile or stomach acid, meaning that food is allowed to pass quickly through the stomach. This relaxing effect on the stomach can also help to reduce cramping in order to relive the feeling of trapped wind.
Today, peppermint oil supplements are incredibly popular choices for maintaining general health, especially as a natural remedy for the healthy function of the digestive system.