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Peppermint is a plant in the mint family. The leaf and oil are used as medicine.

Peppermint oil is used for a long-term disorder of the large intestines that causes stomach pain (irritable bowel syndrome or IBS). It is also used for indigestion (dyspepsia), spasms in the bowel, cracked nipples, bed sores (pressure ulcers), and tension headache. It is also used for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses.

In foods and beverages, peppermint is a common flavoring agent.

In manufacturing, peppermint oil is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics, and as a flavoring agent in pharmaceuticals.

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Info

Peppermint oil seems to reduce spasms in the digestive tract. When applied to the skin, it can cause surface warmth, which relieves pain beneath the skin. It may also help to "cool" the skin and relieve itching.

When taken by mouth: Peppermint and peppermint oil are LIKELY SAFE. Peppermint leaf is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken for up to 8 weeks. The safety of using peppermint leaf for longer than 8 weeks is unknown. Peppermint can cause some side effects including heartburn, dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting.

When applied to the skin: Peppermint and peppermint oil are LIKELY SAFE when applied to the skin.

When given as an enema (rectally): Peppermint and peppermint oil are LIKELY SAFE when used rectally.

When inhaled: Peppermint oil is POSSIBLY SAFE when inhaled as part of aromatherapy.

When applied into the nose: There isn't enough reliable information to know if peppermint is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY SAFE to take peppermint in amounts normally found in food during pregnancy and breast-feeding. However, not enough is known about the safety of taking larger amounts used for medicine. It's best not to take these larger amounts if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Children and infants: Peppermint is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts found in foods. Peppermint oil is POSSIBLY SAFE in children 8 years of age and older when taken by mouth in pills with a special (enteric) coating to prevent contact with the stomach.

Diarrhea: Taking peppermint oil could cause anal burning with diarrhea.

Antacids

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Some peppermint oil products are covered with a special coating. Antacids are used to decrease stomach acid. Low stomach acid can cause the coating of these peppermint oil products to dissolve too quickly. When peppermint oil products dissolve too quickly they can sometimes cause heartburn and nausea. Take antacids at least two hours after coated peppermint oil products.

Some antacids include calcium carbonate (Tums, others), dihydroxyaluminum sodium carbonate (Rolaids, others), magaldrate (Riopan), magnesium sulfate (Bilagog), aluminum hydroxide (Amphojel), and others.

Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

The body breaks down cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) to get rid of it. Peppermint oil might decrease how quickly the body breaks down cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune). Taking peppermint oil products along with cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) might increase the risk of side effects for cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune).

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver

Peppermint oil and leaf might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking peppermint oil along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking peppermint oil, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver

Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), haloperidol (Haldol), ondansetron (Zofran), propranolol (Inderal), theophylline (Theo-Dur, others), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, others), and others.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C19 (CYP2C19) substrates)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver

Peppermint oil might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking peppermint oil along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking peppermint oil, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver

Some medications that are changed by the liver include omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), and pantoprazole (Protonix); diazepam (Valium); carisoprodol (Soma); nelfinavir (Viracept); and others.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

Peppermint oil might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking peppermint oil along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking peppermint oil, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications that are changed by the liver include diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), ibuprofen (Motrin), meloxicam (Mobic), and piroxicam (Feldene); celecoxib (Celebrex); amitriptyline (Elavil); warfarin (Coumadin); glipizide (Glucotrol); losartan (Cozaar); and others.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

Peppermint oil might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking peppermint oil along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking peppermint oil, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver

Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.

Medications that decrease stomach acid (H2-Blockers)

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Some peppermint oil products are covered with a special coating. Some medications that decrease stomach acid might cause the coating of these peppermint oil products to dissolve too quickly. When peppermint oil products dissolve too quickly they can sometimes cause heartburn and nausea. Take medications that decrease stomach acid at least two hours after coated peppermint oil products

Some medications that decrease stomach acid include cimetidine (Tagamet), ranitidine (Zantac), nizatidine (Axid), and famotidine (Pepcid).

Medications that decrease stomach acid (Proton pump inhibitors)

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Some peppermint oil products are covered with a special coating. Some medications that decrease stomach acid might cause the coating of these peppermint oil products to dissolve too quickly. When peppermint oil products dissolve too quickly they can sometimes cause heartburn and nausea. Take medications that decrease stomach acid at least two hours after coated peppermint oil products

Some medications that decrease stomach acid include omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (Aciphex), pantoprazole (Protonix), and esomeprazole (Nexium).

Iron: Peppermint may reduce the absorption of iron when taken at the same time.

There are no known interactions with foods.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

ADULTS

BY MOUTH:

  • For a long-term disorder of the large intestines that causes stomach pain (irritable bowel syndrome or IBS): One to two enteric-coated capsules each providing 0.2 mL or 180-225 mg of peppermint oil three times daily has been used. Most trials have used specific peppermint oil products (Colpermin by Tillotts Pharma; Mintoil by Cadigroup; IBgard by IM HealthScience).
  • For indigestion (dyspepsia): A specific product containing 90 mg of peppermint oil and 50 mg of caraway oil (Enteroplant or Menthacarin by Dr Willmar Schwabe Pharmaceuticals), taken two or three times daily for up to 4 weeks has been used. A specific combination product containing peppermint leaf and several other herbs (Iberogast by Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) has been used in a dose of 1 mL three times daily. A similar herbal preparation containing extracts from clown's mustard, German chamomile flower, peppermint leaves, caraway, licorice root, and lemon balm (STW 5-II by Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH), 1 mL taken three times daily for up to 8 weeks, has been used.
  • For side effects caused by a certain procedure (endoscopy) used to view the inside of the body: Enteric-coated capsules containing 187 mg of 0.2 mL of peppermint oil have been taken 4 hours before a colonoscopy.
APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
  • For cracked nipples: Peppermint oil cream or gel 0.2% has been applied 1-3 times every day for 2 weeks. Also, a solution containing peppermint oil has been applied after every breastfeeding for 2 weeks.
  • For side effects caused by a certain procedure (endoscopy) used to view the inside of the body: 20 mL of spray containing 0.4-1.6% peppermint oil applied to the antrum during endoscopy has been used. Also 16-40 mL of solution containing peppermint oil has been applied into the lumen during endoscopy.
  • For bed sores (pressure ulcers): A gel containing peppermint oil 0.2% applied three times daily for up to 14 days has been used.
  • For tension headaches: 10% peppermint oil in ethanol solution applied across the forehead and temples, repeated after 15 and 30 minutes, has been used.
BY ENEMA:
  • For relaxing the colon during a barium enema examination: 8 mL of peppermint oil was added to 100 mL water along with a surface active agent, Tween 80. The insoluble fraction was removed, then 30 mL of the remaining peppermint solution was added to 300 mL of the barium solution. Also, 16 mL of peppermint oil and 0.4 mL of polysorbate was diluted in 2 liters of purified water, then 30 mL of the peppermint solution was added to barium paste suspended in 370 mL of water in an enema bag, and 10 mL of the peppermint solution was added to the enema tubing.
CHILDREN

BY MOUTH:
  • For a long-term disorder of the large intestines that causes stomach pain (irritable bowel syndrome or IBS): One or two enteric-coated capsules containing 0.2 mL of peppermint oil per capsule (Colpermin by Tillotts Pharma) has been taken three times daily for 2 weeks by children aged 8 years and older.

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