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Enteric-Coated Peppermint Oil

Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Tips and More

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Updated September 27, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Enteric-coated peppermint oil is a popular dietary supplement. Sold in capsule form, enteric-coated peppermint oil contains the essential oil of the peppermint plant. Proponents claim that enteric-coated peppermint oil can help improve digestive health.

In dietary supplement form, enteric coating is used to stop peppermint oil from being released in the stomach and, in turn, triggering such adverse effects as digestive upset.

Uses for Enteric-Coated Peppermint Oil

Enteric-coated peppermint oil is touted as a natural treatment for the following health problems:

  • heartburn
  • indigestion 
  • irritable bowel syndrome

Peppermint oil is also considered a carminative agent, which means that it is used to eliminate excess gas in the intestines.

Health Benefits of Enteric-Coated Peppermint Oil

Research suggests that enteric-coated peppermint oil may offer a number of health benefits. 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 patients 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). 

See more IBS remedies.

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 patients 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).

More indigestion remedies.

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 patients 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.

Find out about natural approaches to preventing colon cancer.

Is Enteric-Coated Peppermint Oil Safe?

Enteric-coated peppermint oil should be used with caution by people with heartburn, hiatal hernia, severe liver damage, gallbladder inflammation, or bile duct obstruction. In addition, people with gallstones should consult a physician before taking oral peppermint preparations.

Call your health practitioner if you experience headache, flushing, skin rash, muscle tremors, or other unusual symptoms after consuming enteric-coated peppermint oil.

Learn more about using dietary supplements safely.

Where to Find Enteric-Coated Peppermint Oil

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

 

Sources

Freise J, Köhler S. "Peppermint oil-caraway oil fixed combination in non-ulcer dyspepsia--comparison of the effects of enteric preparations." Pharmazie. 1999 Mar;54(3):210-5.

Kligler B, Chaudhary S. "Peppermint oil." Am Fam Physician. 2007 Apr 1;75(7):1027-30.

Madisch A, Heydenreich CJ, Wieland V, Hufnagel R, Hotz J. "Treatment of functional dyspepsia with a fixed peppermint oil and caraway oil combination preparation as compared to cisapride. A multicenter, reference-controlled double-blind equivalence study." Arzneimittelforschung. 1999 Nov;49(11):925-32.

May B, Köhler S, Schneider B. "Efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination of peppermint oil and caraway oil in patients suffering from functional dyspepsia." Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2000 Dec;14(12):1671-7.

Merat S, Khalili S, Mostajabi P, Ghorbani A, Ansari R, Malekzadeh R. "The effect of enteric-coated, delayed-release peppermint oil on irritable bowel syndrome." Dig Dis Sci. 2010 May;55(5):1385-90.

Shavakhi A, Ardestani SK, Taki M, Goli M, Keshteli AH. "Premedication with peppermint oil capsules in colonoscopy: a double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial study." Acta Gastroenterol Belg. 2012 Sep;75(3):349-53.

 

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