Peppermint Oil Can Offer IBS Symptoms Relief
Mint flavors are refreshing and immediately add an uplifting taste to any food or drink. Personally, I love enjoying a relaxing cup of peppermint and spearmint tea in the evenings to wind down for the night. Surprisingly, peppermint oil also provides IBS symptom relief when taken correctly!
The key lies in the chemical menthol found in peppermint and spearmint oil.
When consumed correctly, peppermint oil may be one of the most natural ways to relieve IBS symptoms.
Chemicals like menthol in mint oil help relax the small intestines and colon (our large intestines). It works very differently when compared to probiotics. This provides relief especially for those with diarrhea symptoms from IBS-D.
What is menthol?
Menthol is a chemical compound that is extracted from ingredients such as peppermint and mint oils. It is actually an alcohol and when concentrated enough, acts as a temporary local anesthetic. This may also be why some people have reported that drinking alcohol tends to decrease IBS symptoms of diarrhea.
How peppermint oil helps IBS
To understand how peppermint oil and menthol help relieve IBS symptoms, we have to understand how a damaged IBS digestive works.
Simply put, the digestive tract of a person with IBS is in disarray. The stomach lining nerves are more sensitive than normal. The muscle contractions in the stomach that help digest and move food is also at a higher tempo. Everything is just in a rush and out of wack.
The proper digestion of food requires good timing at each sections of the digestive tract (stomach, small intestine, and large intestine). Too slow, and you get constipation. Your system absorbs water too quickly as it passes through digestion. Too fast, and you get diarrhea. Your digestive tract doesn’t get enough time to absorb the food as it passes through the system. A lot of water also remains in the stool after going through the colon.
IBS symptoms are basically the consequence of a stomach that is out of tune. The menthol in peppermint oil help slow intestinal contractions down, providing diarrhea and pain relief from IBS.
Mint has a cool and slightly numbing effect. You experience this “cooling” effect while enjoying a peppermint ice cream, mint gum, breath mints, or mint tea. The same effect helps those struggling with IBS-D to slow down the muscle contractions in their intestines. This brings their hyperactive tempo back down a bit towards the normal speed and cycle. With this adjustment comes relief from diarrhea and pain, which are dominant IBS symptoms.
The best way to take peppermint oil for IBS
As much as I like peppermint and spearmint tea, drinking a diluted form of mint will not provide relief for IBS symptoms. That is because your stomach will digest most of the peppermint’s menthol by the time it passes through.
We want the peppermint oil to stay in tact after it leaves the stomach and into your small intestine as well as large intestine (colon). Symptom relief is only possible when the peppermint oil can hit the intestines directly.
Make sure the peppermint oil supplement you purchase has enteric-coating on the pill or capsule.
The most effective way to take peppermint oil for IBS relief is through enteric-coated pills. These special coatings are resistant to stomach acids. Therefore, the pill containing the peppermint oil will stay in tact until it reaches your small intestine and colon. There, the menthol chemical and other properties of the peppermint oil will sooth out those hyperactive contractions.
Peppermint oil provides relief from IBS symptoms naturally and can be an inexpensive tool in the fight against IBS.