The Benefits of Enteric-Coated Peppermint Oil

Can Peppermint Oil Soothe Tummy Troubles?

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Made from the essential oil of the peppermint plant, enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are coated to prevent the oil from being released until it has reached the small intestine. 

A popular dietary supplement, proponents claim that enteric-coated peppermint oil can help improve digestive health and relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and indigestion. Peppermint oil is also considered a carminative agent, which means that it is used to eliminate excess gas in the intestines.


Here's a look at some key study findings on enteric-coated peppermint oil:

1) Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Several studies indicate that enteric-coated peppermint oil may aid in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Enteric-coated peppermint oil is thought to reduce the abdominal pain and bloating of irritable bowel syndrome, possibly by blocking the movement of calcium into muscle cells in the intestines and easing excessive muscle contraction.

One of the most recent studies on enteric-coated peppermint oil and irritable bowel syndrome was published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences in 2010. In tests on 90 people with irritable bowel syndrome, researchers found that those treated with enteric-coated peppermint oil for eight weeks experienced a significantly greater improvement in abdominal pain and quality of life (compared to study members given a placebo for the same time period).

2) Indigestion

A number of studies show that supplements containing a combination of enteric-coated peppermint oil and caraway oil may help reduce indigestion symptoms. This formula is thought to relax the stomach muscles, as well as help food pass through the stomach more quickly.

In a study published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics in 2000, 96 people prone to indigestion were assigned to 28 days of treatment with either a placebo or a supplement containing a combination of enteric-coated peppermint oil and caraway oil.

At the end of the treatment period, those given enteric-coated peppermint oil and caraway oil showed a significantly greater improvement in several symptoms of indigestion (such as feelings of heaviness and fullness after eating).

3) Colonoscopy

Enteric-coated peppermint oil may benefit people undergoing colonoscopy (a type of medical test typically used to screen for colon cancer), according to a study published in the Belgian journal Acta Gastro-Enterologica Belgica in 2012. 

The study focused on enteric-coated peppermint oil's effectiveness in reducing colonic spasm (a problem that frequently interferes with the examination process during colonoscopy). 

For the study, 65 people took either enteric-coated peppermint oil or a placebo four hours before having a colonoscopy. Results showed that those given enteric-coated peppermint oil were less likely to experience colonic spasm and pain during the procedure. Treatment with enteric-coated peppermint oil was also associated with a shorter procedure time.

Possible Side Effects

Enteric-coated peppermint oil may cause a burning sensation in the stomach or rectum, heartburn, or allergic reactions. Excessive doses of peppermint oil may result in kidney problems. Call your health practitioner if you experience headaches, flushing, skin rash, muscle tremors, or other unusual symptoms after consuming enteric-coated peppermint oil.

Peppermint oil should be used with caution by people with heartburn, hiatal hernia, severe liver damage, gallbladder inflammation, or bile duct obstruction. Pregnant or nursing women and children should avoid it. In addition, people with gallstones and those having any procedure (e.g. a colonoscopy) should consult a physician before taking oral peppermint preparations. 

Where to Find It

Widely available for purchase online, enteric-coated peppermint oil is sold in many natural-foods stores, drugstores, and stores specializing in dietary supplements.

Using It for Health

Although enteric-coated peppermint oil may offer benefits to some people, it's too soon to recommend it as a standard treatment for any condition. As with any supplement, if you're considering using enteric-coated peppermint oil, talk with your healthcare provider first to discuss whether it's appropriate for you. 

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Article Sources

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