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12/21/05 11:16 AM
Peppermint possesses antispasmodic properties

American Family Physician

Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

SUSAN K. HADLEY, M.D., Middlesex Hospital, Middletown, Connecticut

STEPHEN M. GAARDER, PH.D., Applied Research Group, Middletown, Connecticut



Given the absence of a cure and the adverse effects of medications, patients with IBS often turn to complementary therapies. Peppermint possesses antispasmodic properties and has long been associated with improvement of digestive function. Peppermint leaves contain oils that have mild anesthetic properties, relieve nausea, and relax smooth muscle spasticity caused by histamine and cholinergic stimulation. A systematic review identified five trials that showed that peppermint oil relieved IBS symptoms. Three of these trials showed statistically significant benefit of peppermint over placebo (P < .001). The placebo response ranged from 13 to 52 percent with a mean of 31 percent including all five trials. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study28 of enteric-coated peppermint oil involving 110 patients showed 79 percent with less pain, 83 percent with decreased stool frequency, and 79 percent with less flatulence. Peppermint is contraindicated in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease.


http://www.aafp.org/afp/20051215/2501.html



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