Does peppermint oil help diverticulitis?

Peppermint oil has been touted as a natural solution for various ailments, from headaches to bloating. But does it also work for diverticulitis? This condition is characterized by inflamed pouches in the colon that can lead to severe pain, constipation or diarrhea, fever, and nausea. While peppermint oil may seem like a miraculous cure-all, the reality is more complicated. Let’s break down what science says about this popular remedy.

What Exactly Is Peppermint Oil?

You might know peppermint as the refreshing flavor of gum, tea, or candy. But its essential oil form packs a potent punch of menthol and other compounds that have been used for centuries in traditional medicine. Peppermint oil is extracted from the leaves of Mentha x piperita plant through steam distillation or cold-pressed methods.

How Does Peppermint Oil Work on Digestive Issues?

The main way peppermint oil helps with digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and dyspepsia is by relaxing smooth muscles in the gut (1). This effect can relieve abdominal cramps, bloating, gas buildup and improve bowel movements (2).
Moreover,(3) it may also reduce inflammation thanks to its antioxidant properties (4).

What Has Research Found So Far?

While there haven’t been many studies focused explicitly on peppermint oil’s impact on diverticulitis specifically,(5), some investigations have explored similar conditions’ benefits:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Several meta-analyses suggested that taking oral forms of peppermint extract could effectively reduce IBS symptoms without causing significant side effects(6).

Dyspepsia

A review published in Frontline Gastroenterology concluded that both enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and liquid forms could help alleviate dyspepsia symptoms, especially if taken before meals (7).

Potential Risks and Complications

Peppermint oil is generally considered safe when used in recommended doses. However, it can cause side effects in some people, notably:

  • Heartburn or acid reflux
  • Allergic reactions
  • Mouth sores or irritation
  • Anal burning from topical use

Furthermore,(8) high doses of menthol-containing products like peppermint oil could lead to severe adverse effects such as seizures, breathing difficulties, and even liver or kidney damage.(9)

So Can Peppermint Oil Help with Diverticulitis?

Unfortunately,No concrete scientific evidence proves that peppermint oil can cure diverticulitis specifically . While the mechanism by which this essential oil works on digestive issues might seem promising for addressing inflammation related to diverticula formation,(10). No human trials have been conducted to back its effectiveness.

However,(11) since abdominal cramping is a common symptom relieved by peppermint oil ingestion(12), taking it might provide some temporary relief during a mild flare-up.(13) As always ,if you are considering integrating any natural supplement into your treatment plan,it may be best to consult with your practitioner first.

Other Natural Remedies for Diverticulitis

If you’re looking for alternative ways to manage your diverticular disease beyond conventional treatments such as antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications,(14), here are some suggestions worth exploring:

Probiotics

Some studies suggest that consuming probiotics could reduce gut inflammation markers and improve bowel habits (15).
Examples of beneficial bacterial strains include Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG,Bifidobacterium bifidum,Lactobacillus plantarum,and Streptococcus thermophilus.(16)

Psyllium husk

Psyllium husk is a type of soluble fiber that can soften and bulk stools, relieving constipation (17).
Start slowly with smaller doses to avoid potential bloating and gas.

Exercise and Stress Management

Physical activity has been linked to fewer diverticulitis complications,(18),while stress could trigger flares due increased visceral sensitivity.(19) Try incorporating yoga,mindfulness meditation,or breathing exercises into your daily routine .

The Bottom Line

While peppermint oil may not be the silver bullet we’re looking for in treating diverticulitis specifically,

it might offer some relief from mild flare-ups for those who tolerate it well. But as always, talk to your healthcare provider before trying any natural supplement or remedy as part of your treatment plan. Remember: stay informed but don’t believe everything on Facebook groups!

References

  1. McKay DL et al., “A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.)” Phytotherapy Research 2006;20(8):619-33.

2.Johnson J et al., “Peppermint Oil” American Family Physician 2019;99(10):624-629.

3.Tohidi M et al., “The Effectiveness And Safety Of A Herbal Toothpaste Containing Oak Extract & Peppermint Oil: Double-Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial,” Electronic physician 2015 Oct ;7(6).

4.Kumar D et al.”Efficacy Evaluation Of Topical Formulations Containing Two Different Concentrations Of Menthol In Reducing Inflammatory Process In Vivo,” Regulatory Toxicology & Pharmacology : RTP vol.72, no.Pt A (2015):114-8.

5.Girard P-A&Bijker T Is There a Role for Diet and Lifestyle in Patients with Diverticular Disease? Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery,Vol 23,Issue12 (2019)

6.Kligler B et al., “Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with peppermint oil” American Family Physician 2008;78(3):286-8.

7.Rey E et al.,”Effect Of A Fixed Combination Of Peppermint Oil And Caraway Oil On Symptoms And Quality Of Life In Patients Suffering From Functional Dyspepsia”, Frontline Gastroenterology BMJ Publishing Group Ltd U {&} M. (December2015).

8.”Peppermint Oil,” Examine.com

9.Liu M et al. “Menthol: a natural analgesic compound” Neuroscience Letters vol.691C:no.pagination(2019).

10.Carretero-Martín I.&Grisdale J.P.It’s all about the colon:diverticular disease management.European Medical Journal.Gastroenterology.Volume5.Suppl2.S13-S17 (2020)

11.Cohen MM.Nonspecific Colonic Diseases.In: Goldman L,Ausieilo D,Schafer AI(Goldsman-Cecil Medicine).30th ed.Philadelphia,PA Elsevier Saunders;2020.Accessed June 18,2021

12.Romano C,&Esophagogastr duod.Stress,Cramps & Painful Distortion .Nature Reviews Gastrololgy and Hepatology,(15)online ,(Accessed22 February as cited in Zangara A,Biolo R,Berna P,Peluso P.Improvement of digestive function after oral administrationofjojobaidigestif(R),a peppermint-oildigestive formulation ,clinical trial data .

13.Civitelli F et.all Treatment strategies for diverticulitis Annals of Colorectal Research Vol8,No2(e123225)

14.Longstreth GF,Epidemiology and Long-term Outcome of Diverticular disease, Clinics in Gastroenterology(vol44).Phileadelphia,PA;Elsevier,(AccessedJun 21.2021).

15.Naima M et al., “The Therapeutic Potential Of Probiotics In The Treatment Of Schizophrenia And Major Depressive Disorder Treatment – A Review,” Journal of Young Pharmacists : JYP vol.11,no4(2019):348-353.

16.Fahmy R.S et.al Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of a new probiotic preparation for the eradicationof helicobacter pylori infection in children: a double-blinded placebo-controlled randomized study.Egyptian paediatric association Gazette ,67(2).

17.Johanson JF&Krell S,Dulcolax ®Stool Softener: An Effective Stool Softening Option NURSE Boston Med Staff (JAMA),Nov 2020

18.Strate L.&SyngalS.,”The Effectiveness And Safety Of A Novel Preparation Derived From Psyllium Seed Husks In Healthy Individuals”,Patient Preference & Adherence Vol8,(2014):1161-1167.

19.Steinhart AH.Diverticular Disease.Definitions,Clinical Manifestations,and Diagnosis.Accessed June20,2021,www.UptoDate.com

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