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Enteric-coated peppermint oil
has been shown to be quite helpful in the treatment of the irritable bowel
syndrome in several double-blind clinical studies. The irritable bowel syndrome
(IBS) is a disorder of the large intestine characterized by some combination of:
(1) abdominal pain, (2) altered bowel function, constipation, or diarrhea, (3)
hypersecretion of colonic mucus, (4) dyspeptic symptoms (flatulence, nausea,
anorexia), and (5) varying degrees of anxiety or depression. It is estimated
that approximately 15% of the population has complaints of IBS making IBS by far
the most common gastrointestinal disorder.
In the double-blind studies, enteric-coated peppermint oil (ECPO) has been shown
to be effective in relieving all symptoms of IBS in approximately 70-85% of
cases within a two to four week period. In the latest trial (J Pediatric
2001;138:125-8), 42 children between 8-10 years old with IBS were given ECPO or
placebo for 2 weeks. Dosage was 1 capsule 3x daily for children 30-45 kg and 2
caps three times daily for children over 45 kg. After 2 weeks, 76% of the ECPO
group reported significant improvements compared to only 19% in the placebo
One of the central findings in IBS is a hypercontractility (excessive
contraction) of intestinal smooth muscle. Peppermint oil inhibits the
hypercontractility of intestinal smooth muscle making it useful in cases of
irritable bowel syndrome as well as intestinal colic. In addition to its effects
directly on intestinal smooth muscle, peppermint oil also exerts significant
effects against Candida albicans – a common yeast implicated in many cases of
IBS – as well as promoting the excretion of various digestive factors.
Peppermint Oil Complex provides not only peppermint oil, but also caraway and
oregano. Several of the clinical trials with peppermint oil featured it in
combination with caraway oil – a known carminative (a substance that promotes
the elimination of intestinal gases) and digestant (a substance that promotes
general digestion). Oregano oil is emerging as a popular treatment of intestinal
candidiasis. The volatile oil fractions of all three plants in this formula
exert significant antifungal and antiparasitic properties.