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Peppermint

What Should I Know About It?

By

Updated September 25, 2012

What is Peppermint?

Other Names: Mentha piperita

Peppermint is native to Europe and is widely cultivated throughout North America. The leaves are used medicinally.

Peppermint can be found in liquid extract, tea, oil, and inhalant forms. Peppermint oil is also available as enteric-coated capsules.

Why Do People Use Peppermint?

  • Indigestion
  • Colic
  • Gallstones
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Tension headache
  • Small intestine bacterial overgrowth

Safety

Peppermint oil can cause heartburn and digestive upset, and should be used with caution by people with heartburn, hiatal hernia, severe liver damage, gallbladder inflammation, or bile duct obstruction.

Although rare, some people have experienced allergic reaction to topical application of peppermint.

People with gallstones should consult a physician before taking oral peppermint preparations.

The safety of peppermint oil in pregnant or nursing women isn't known.

Peppermint oil shouldn't be applied topically to broken skin. Large amounts shouldn't be applied to skin.

Peppermint tea can cause choking in children and infants due to the menthol.

Pure peppermint oil is toxic at small doses. The pure essential oil should not be taken orally.

Call your health practitioner if you experience headache, flushing, skin rash, muscle tremors, or other unusual symptoms.

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