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In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By musgravechelse
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HLST 301: Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Chelsea Musgrave
ID # 3158485
Janete Poloway
Athabasca University
November 29 2014

Peppermint is one of the oldest herbs used for many medical purposes. However, Peppermint oil was not utilized in formal medicine until the 18th century. There are more than 25 species of true mint grown throughout the world (University Mary Land Medical Center , 2013). Peppermint, a popular plant in Europe that has herbal properties to aid in many health ailments, is widely characterized as a popular flavoring for gum, toothpaste, and tea. It is the oil from the leaves and flowering tops of the peppermint plant that are used in various herbal remedies (Wurges Jennifer, 2005). An herbal remedy is defined as the use of plants for medical purposes (Wurges Jennifer, 2005). Peppermint oil acts as a muscle relaxant and was traditionally used to treat digestive symptoms in Ancient Egypt. The oil continues to be used for various health ailments including nausea, indigestion, cold symptoms, headaches, muscle and nerve pain, stomach problems, and bowel conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (Foster, 2012).The Menthyl is the ingredient that gives peppermints its minty flavoring and aroma while Menthol is the main component in peppermint that provides a cooling sensation. The Peppermint plant grows to about 2 - 3 feet tall and blooms from July through August, sprouting tiny purple flowers. Peppermint is native to Europe and Asia and grows wild in moist, temperate areas (Wurges Jennifer, 2005). The peppermint plant is used primarily for its oil which is extracted from the leaves. The quality of the peppermint oil depends on the climate, habitat and where the peppermint is grown. The peppermint oil is harvested when the oil content is highest. When the peppermint oil is ready to be harvested, it is always collected in the morning, before the noon sun reduces the leaf essential oil content (Wurges Jennifer, 2005). Peppermint oil is the most common use of the peppermint plant. The essential oil of peppermint may be found in very small doses in capsule or liquid forms (Foster, 2012).The essential oil can also be diluted with oil and applied to the skin. Peppermint is also available as a spray or inhalant for treating many respiratory symptoms. Peppermint leaves are often brewed as an herbal tea. Peppermint oil should not be injected as it may cause serious effects including death (Foster, 2012). Dosages The usual dosages for peppermint is 1 to 2 capsules 3 times a day for irritable bowel syndrome; 1 tablespoon of leaves in a cup of boiling water for tea, 2 or 3 times a day; 3 to 4 drops in hot water for inhalation; 1% to 5% essential oil for nasal ointments; and 5% to 20% essential oil for other ointments applied to the skin. Menthol is the most toxic component of peppermint oil. As little as 2 grams is thought to be lethal. Peppermint is considered a safe herb when taken by those individuals without allergens and in normal recommended doses (University Mary Land Medical Center , 2013). Benefits Peppermint oil can be used in several ways and has many benefits including the use of peppermint oil on reflexology points on feet, used as an aroma (diffusion in air), or in a therapeutic bath. Peppermint also alleviates the temporary itching caused by insect bites, eczema or rashes (poison ivy). Peppermint can also help relieve some headaches (tension headaches) caused by stress (Foster, 2012). The Menthol in the peppermint oil can be used to treat serious infections and when used in an herbal tea, helps treat babies with thrush. Sprays and Inhalants (respiratory) can relieve sore throats, colds, respiratory illnesses (Foster, 2012). Menthol provides a cooling sensation when applied to inflamed tissues or assists in pain relieve during muscle spasms and cramps. Peppermint oil has a relaxing sensation and assists with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation (nausea). The peppermint oil has a calming effect and help reduces anxiety (aroma) (Foster, 2012) Cautions Peppermint is used as an aromatherapy to assist with memory and concentration while stimulating the mind and body. It can, however, be harmful for those with chronic respiratory illnesses (University Mary Land Medical Center , 2013). Individuals taking other medications must be cautious when using peppermint oil as when the oil is consumed by mouth, it can affect the absorption and interfere with antacids ( tums -heartburn), and blood pressure medications (Foster, 2012). Because of its strong muscle relaxant property, peppermint can trigger heartburn in those with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Peppermint oil is, therefore, not recommended for those individuals acid reflux disease (GERD) and hernias. Individuals with gall stones or liver damage should refrain from using peppermint. (Foster, 2012) The cooling properties of the peppermint oil should not be applied to the face especially those of a small infant or child as respiratory issues may develop. Reactions to peppermint have been limited, however, there may be cases of allergic reactions (hives) and heightened asthma symptom (Foster, 2012).

Peppermint and IBS Many individuals with IBS are unsatisfied with conventional treatment and resort to complementary and alternative medicines such as herbal medicine (peppermint) to treat IBS. According to research, 5% to 20% of people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, a disorder with a wide range of symptoms that may include stomach cramps, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea and often constipation (Ford, 2008) and causes significant morbidity, quality-of-life impairment, and burden on the healthcare system (Justin C.Y, 2010). When conventional medications fail to treat a condition, people often turn to herbal remedies for relief. Herbal medicines are based on the use of plants and plant extracts as remedies to treat a variety of symptoms. Peppermint, a herbal remedy, alleviated 70% of stomach pain and is the safe and cost effective choice in those patients with IBS who have with non-serious constipation or diarrhea to alleviate their symptoms and improve quality of life (Graeme, 2011). Clinically, more than 80% of the population depend on herbal remedies for their cost effective treatment option (Graeme, 2011). In recent studies, up to 50 percent of individuals suffering from IBS reported using CAM as current pharmacological treatments for IBS has limited benefits and significant side effects such as heart attack and stroke (Justin C.Y, 2010). Peppermint oil often used to treat colic, heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Peppermint oil is used to relieve cramps, spasms and abdominal/bowel pain (Ford, 2008). Dr. Ford from McMaster University compared antispasmodic drugs (IBS pharmaceutical medications) with peppermint oil for the treatment of IBS. Peppermint oil was shown to be an effective treatment for IBS as 1 in 2.5 patients showed significant relief when treated with peppermint oil compared to 1 in 5 getting relief from antispasmodics (pharmaceutical medication). Peppermint oil treatment was given as a 200mg capsule 2-3 times per day. (Ford, 2008). A previous study by Oppell substantiates Dr. Ford’s research. Oppell’s research consisted of a sample size of 651 patients.The15 clinical trials enrolled from 2 weeks to 6 months. The research concluded that there is reasonable evidence that enteric-coated peppermint oil (capsule form) in , 180-200 mg taken 2-3 times per day, for 2-4 weeks shown greater treatment of symptoms in IBS compared to the smooth muscle relaxants (Oppel, 2006). As concluded from the research, Peppermint oil is recommended for short term treatment for those individuals with diarrhea predominant IBS (Oppel, 2006). The use of peppermint oil for the treatment of IBS in children received positive results but needs supervision as it can have potential side effects such as heartburn or respiratory issues due to lack of research for recommended dosages for children with IBS (Ford, 2008).

Peppermint oil therapy is most cost effective and is associated with a lower risk of adverse events than conventional pharmaceutical drug treatments available for IBS (Oppel, 2006). Limited Research Although peppermint oil capsules many be beneficial for those patients with diarrhea pre-dominant IBS symptoms there is not sufficient research to determine if peppermint oil could assist with other types of chronic IBS. The use of peppermint oil is quite widespread but the clinical evidence to support the use of peppermint in gastroenterology is fairly limited (Graeme, 2011). To date, reliable data on the long term effects and possible side effects of using peppermint oil has been limited in research. Even though there has been systematic reviews and meta-analysis that report favourable results from the use of peppermint oil, there have been errors in the research such as small sample sizes and limited time constraints to determine the long term effects of peppermint oil that has prevented the confirmation of results made by the research on peppermint oil assisting IBS. (Graeme, 2011). Peppermint oil was not as effective in treating other symptoms of chronic IBS but was effective in treating in acute IBS and predominant IBS. These studies may need a larger and longer place-controlled trial to determine recommended dosages needed to treat different types of IBS (Graeme, 2011). Peppermint oil therapy resulted relief of abdominal pain in patients with predominant IBS but only provided short term relief to those with Chronic IBS. As stated in the research, 75% of the patients taking the peppermint oil had more than a 50% reduction in total IBS symptoms (Justin C.Y, 2010). Only a few of the patients with predominant IBS reported adverse effects with the peppermint oil such as heartburn and a skin rash (Foster, 2012).
Enteric-coated (capsule) peppermint oil is readily available and is often reasonably priced, therefore making it appealing as a treatment for IBS (Justin C.Y, 2010). Peppermint oil is deemed a safe herbal remedy when used within the recommended doses. However research is limited for children and those who are pregnant. Reactions to peppermint have been limited; however, there may be cases of allergic reactions (hives) and heightened asthma symptoms. Peppermint oil may become more widely used to treat many symptoms as it is cheap and effective, however, is not recommended for those with GERD and those with severe respiratory illnesses. (Foster, 2012). More studies need to be evaluated to establish the various recommended dosages needed to treat different health ailments when using peppermint oil to provide the most benefit to individuals especially those with IBS.

Works Cited

Ford, A. C. (2008, November 13). Older Treatments Work Well for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Retrieved November 12, 2014, from WebMD Health News:
Foster, S. (2012, April). National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Retrieved November 2014, from Peppermint Oil:
Graeme, S. (2011). Peppermint Oil in Gastrointestinal Medicine. Gastrointestinal Nursing , 13.
Justin C.Y, W. M. (2010). Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Treatment IBS. Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 705.
Mann Nirmal, S. K. (2012). Peppermint Oil in IBS : Systematic Evaluation in 1634 cases . International Medical Journal, 5-6.
Oppel. (2006). Review of Trials Peppermint oil capsules treating IBS. Herbal Gram, 30.
University Mary Land Medical Center . (2013, May 7). Retrieved November 2014, from Peppermint :
Wurges Jennifer, O. T. (2005). Gale Encyclopedia Alternative Medicine. Retrieved November 2014, from Peppermint:…...

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