Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Mentha piperita

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Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Peppermint is a powerful diffusive stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative, stomachic, and weak anodyne. It undoubtedly possesses marked antiseptic properties. Used in the treatment of gastrodynia, flatulent colic, hysteria, spasms or cramps of the stomach, to allay the griping of cathartics, to check nausea and vomiting, and to disguise the unpleasant taste of other medicines. Equal parts of the essence and alcohol, used by atomization, relieve the cough of bronchitis and pneumonia. The fresh herb, bruised and applied over the bowels, will often allay sick stomach, and is efficient in cholera infantum. The same kind of application sometimes relieves headache. The infusion may be drank freely; but the most usual form of administration is the essence, made by dissolving 1 fluid drachm of the oil in 1 fluid ounce of alcohol. Dose, from 10 to 60 drops, in sweetened water.

"There are 25-30 species of Peppermint. It is a stimulant, a tonic, and helps digestive system disorders. Studies have found that it is effective for the treatment of conditions such as dysentery. It is an anti-diarrheal agent, a vermifuge (a substance that works well against worms) working especially well against hookworms, and it is often used to stimulate bile flow. Peppermint's antispasmodic properties have produced a total and immediate resolution of blockage of Oddi's sphincter (located in the intestinal tract) in animal studies. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, Peppermint is used to treat rheumatism. Laboratory research studies with Peppermint have found antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial activity."
2. "Peppermint is known in Columbia as "heirba buena" or the "good herb" and has been classically used as a digestive aid. It helps stimulate the stomach, cools indigestion, relieves flatulence, strengthens and soothes the bowels and helps with cramping. Peppermint also stimulates excretion of saliva and warms the entire system. It stimulates menstruation, the bronchioles and sinuses. It is said to help with diverticulitis, insomnia, headaches, nausea, nerves, morning sickness and congested lungs."

3. "Peppermint works on the salivary glands, the first process in digestion. It acts as a sedative to the stomach and helps strengthen the bowels. Peppermint strengthens and soothes the bowels, helping to avoid cramping."

4. "Peppermint oil is the most extensively used of all the volatile oils, both medicinally and commercially. The characteristic anti-spasmodic action of the volatile oil is more marked in this than in any other oil, and greatly adds to its power of relieving pains arising in the alimentary canal. From its stimulating, stomachic and carminative properties, it is valuable in certain flatulence and colic.

5. Peppermint, Increases stomach acidity. Irritates mucous membranes and the gastrointestinal tract. Use for chills, colic, fever, nausea, diarrhea, heart trouble, rheumatism, convulsions, spasms, and headaches."

6. "These [peppermints] relax the muscles of the digestive tract and stimulate bile flow, so are useful for indigestion, flatulence, colic, and similar conditions. They reduce nausea and can be helpful for travel sickness; they also promote sweating in fevers and influenza."

13. "Peppermint is used medicinally to treat indigestion and intestinal colic, as well as colds, fever, and headache. The pharmacology of peppermint focuses almost entirely on its menthol components. Peppermint and menthol possess carminative, antispasmodic, and choleretic properties, and are also used as an external analgesic and nasal decongestant. The mechanism behind peppermint oil's antispasmodic effects has recently been determined. Researchers believe that peppermint oil's inhibition of isolated smooth muscle contractions occurs via blockage of calcium influx into the muscle cells. Researchers hypothesize that the clinical effectiveness of peppermint oil in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome results from inhibition of the hyper contractility of intestinal smooth muscle, thereby returning the muscle to its proper tone. The pharmacological effects of peppermint and peppermint oil are useful in a number of clinical situation; the most notable include irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal colic, gallstones, musculoskeletal pain, and the common cold."

14."Peppermint is one of the most popular tonic herbs known to modern man. Its use as a flavoring agent is well known. Medicinally, it is mainly used to aid the various processes of digestion: combating gas, increasing the flow of bile, healing the stomach and liver, etc. The active constituents are found in the essential oil, mainly menthol and carvone.
The volatile ingredients of peppermint make it an ideal choice for invigorating the mind, for improving the mood and relaxing a tension-filled, anxiety-ridden nervous system. These properties of the oils have been experimentally verified, as have the spasmolytic, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
The spasmolytic property of peppermint has been established through comparisons with a wide variety of convulsant drugs, including acetylcholine, histamine, serotonin, anaphylaxotocin. The smooth muscle spasmolytic effect is exerted primarily on the neuromuscular junction. Peppermint extract has been found to decrease the tone of the lower esophagus sphincter so that the escape of air is made easier."

18."Peppermint oil has long been an extremely popular flavoring agent in products ranging from chewing gum to after-dinner mints. It is probably the most widely used carminative, acting in the broad sense defined by Schilcher(40). The German Commission E has found peppermint or its volatile oil to be effective as a spasmolytic (particularly useful for discomfort caused by spasms in the upper digestive tract), a stimulant of the flow of bile, an antibacterial, and a promoter of gastric secretions(46). On the other hand, in 1990, the United States Food and Drug Administration declared peppermint oil to be ineffective as a digestive aid and banned its use as it nonprescription drug for this purpose in this country(47). What this actually means is that the FDA was not presented with evidence proving the efficacy of peppermint as a digestive aid. As previously explained, this would not be financially feasible in this country. It does not mean that peppermint oil is an ineffective aid to digestion."
40. Schilcher, H,: Deutshe Apotheker Zeitung 124:1433-1443 (1984).
46. Brundesanzeiger (Cologne, Germany): November 30, 1985; March 13, 1986
47. Blumenthal, M.: HerbalGram No, 23:32-33, 49 (1990).

Peppermint oil may also be used topically. When applied to the skin, it first may activate the skin’s receptors for cold, producing a cool feeling. Secondly, peppermint oil may cause widening of blood vessels close to the skin’s surface. The resulting increase in blood flow causes the skin to redden and creates a feeling of warmth that relieves muscle or joint aches. This double cooling and warming effect may make topical peppermint oil useful in treating some types of headaches. Additionally, it may be applied directly to cavities, gums, or teeth to relieve toothache and it may also alleviate the itching of mild skin conditions resulting from insect bites and rashes

Peppermint is good to assist in raising internal heat and inducing perspiration, although its strength is soon exhausted. In slight colds or early indications of disease, a free use of Peppermint tea will, in most cases, effect a cure, an infusion of 1 ounce of the dried herb to a pint of boiling water being employed, taken in wineglassful doses; sugar and milk may be added if desired.

An infusion of equal quantities of Peppermint herb and Elder flowers (to which either Yarrow or Boneset may be added) will banish a cold or mild attack of influenza within thirty-six hours, and there is no danger of an overdose or any harmful action on the heart. Peppermint tea is used also for palpitation of the heart.

In cases of hysteria and nervous disorders, the usefulness of an infusion of Peppermint has been found to be well augmented by the addition of equal quantities of Wood Betony, its operation being hastened by the addition to the infusion of a few drops of tincture of Caraway.
--Preparations---Fluid extract, 1/4 to 1 drachm. Oil, 1/2 to 3 drops. Spirit, B.P., 5 to 20 drops. Water, B.P. and U.S.P., 4 drachms.

The following simple preparation has been found useful in insomnia:
1 OZ. Peppermint herb, cut fine, 1/2 OZ. Rue herb, 1/2 OZ. Wood Betony. Well mix and place a large tablespoonful in a teacup, fill with boiling water, stir and cover for twenty minutes, strain and sweeten, and drink the warm infusion on going to bed.

A very useful and harmless preparation for children during teething is prepared as follows:
1/2 OZ. Peppermint herb, 1/2 OZ. Scullcap herb, 1/2 OZ. Pennyroyal herb. Pour on 1 pint of boiling water, cover and let it stand in a warm place thirty minutes. Strain and sweeten to taste, and given frequently in teaspoonful doses, warm.
Boiled in milk and drunk hot, Peppermint herb is good for abdominal pains. 'Aqua Mirabilis' is a term applied on the Continent to an aromatic water which is taken for internal pains. It is a water distilled from herbs, sometimes used in the following form:

Cinnamon oil, Fennel oil, Lavender oil, Peppermint oil, Rosemary oil, Sage oil, of each 1 part; Spirit, 350 parts; Distilled water, 644 parts.

Menthol is used in medicine to relieve the pain of rheumatism, neuralgia, throat affections and toothache. It acts also as a local anaesthetic, vascular stimulant and disinfectant. For neuralgia, rheumatism and lumbago it is used in plasters and rubbed on the temples; it will frequently cure neuralgic headaches. It is inhaled for chest complaints, and nasal catarrh, laryngitis or bronchitis are often alleviated by it. It is also used internally as a stimulant or carminative. On account of its anaesthetic effect on the nerveendings of the stomach, it is of use to prevent sea-sickness, the dose being 1/2 to 2 grains. The bruised fresh leaves of the plant will, if applied, relieve local pains and headache, and in rheumatic affections the skin may be painted beneficially with the oil.

Oil of Peppermint has been recommended in puerperal fevers. 30 to 40 minims, in divided doses, in the twenty-four hours, have been employed with satisfactory results, a stimulating aperient preceding its use.

The local anaesthetic action of Peppermint oil is exceptionally strong. It is also powerfully antiseptic, the two properties making it valuable in the relief of toothache and in the treatment of cavities in the teeth.

Sanitary engineers use Peppermint oil to test the tightness of pipe joints. It has the faculty of making its escape, and by its pungent odour betraying the presence of leaks.

A new use for Peppermint oil has been found in connexion with the gas-mask drill on the vessels of the United States Navy.

Paste may be kept almost any length of time by the use of the essential oil of Peppermint to prevent mould.

Rats dislike Peppermint, a fact that is made use of by ratcatchers, who, when clearing a building of rats, will block up most of their holes with rags soaked in oil of Peppermint and drive them by ferrets through the remaining holes into bags. (Modern Herbal)