There are several considerations that should be made before choosing to take peppermint oil capsules, such as the intended benefit of the product, the type of capsule to be taken, and any potential side effects that may occur. This type of oil has been used to treat many ailments, and is also used as an aromatic essence when the peppermint oil is heated and able to disperse through the air effectively. Peppermint oil is a product of the Mentha piperita plant, and is a hybrid of the spearmint and water mint plants native to Europe and Asia. In addition to peppermint oil capsules, this herbal supplement can also be found in tincture form, as well as in teas and pure essential oil products. The intended medical use determines which peppermint oil product will be most effective.
Peppermint oil capsules can be used to treat a great number of illnesses and conditions, especially those pertaining to the digestive system. The main functions of menthol, the most potent ingredient found in peppermint oil, is to soothe and numb tissues, making it an ideal alternative medicine for common stomach complaints such as indigestion. It is also suggested for people experiencing nausea or sore stomach symptoms, and is usually considered to be safe for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness when taken in low doses. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients may use this supplement because it has shown promise in studies to reduce the common IBS symptoms of cramping, pain, and irregular colon function during flare ups.
It is possible to find a wide assortment of peppermint oil capsules on the market, but most medical experts suggest purchasing and taking only those noted to be enteric-coated. This type of capsule is believed to protect the essential peppermint oil from the harsh acids found in the stomach, allowing it to be more readily absorbed by the small intestines. If exposed to stomach acids, the oil is less effective and may not produce the desired results.
Peppermint oil capsules are well tolerated by most people, but there are a few groups of individuals that should avoid using peppermint in any of its forms. Patients with gastroesphageal reflux disease (GERD) should not use peppermint oil because it relaxes the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach, encouraging more stomach acid to splash up into the esophagus. Peppermint is also not recommended for people with gallstones or any type of hernia because the oil reduces the effectiveness of cyclosporine, a drug commonly used to treat both conditions.