Peppermint oil is commonly used as flavoring in foods and beverages and as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. Peppermint oil also is used for a variety of health conditions and can be taken orally in dietary supplements or topically as a skin cream or ointment.
Some evidence suggests that peppermint oil may help relieve symptoms ofirritable bowel syndromeand indigestion. But despite promising research, there is no clear-cut evidence to support its use for other health conditions.
When used as directed, dietary supplements and skin preparations containing peppermint oil are likely safe for most adults.Medicinal Uses of Peppermint Oil
In dietary supplements, peppermint oil has been tried for a variety of digestive problems including:
Dietary supplements containing peppermint oil are also used by some people for the following conditions, although there is no clear evidence that they are helpful:
In addition, peppermint oil vapor is sometimes inhaled to treatsymptoms of coldsand coughs. Also, some doctors add peppermint oil to a barium solution to relax thecolonduring barium enemas.Benefits of Peppermint Oil
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, several studies suggest that enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules -- which allow the oil to pass through thestomachso it can dissolve in theintestines-- may help relieve common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such asabdominal pain, bloating, and gas. Non-enteric coated forms of peppermint oil, however, actually may cause or worsen heartburn andnausea.