The origin of peppermint is known to be North Africa and Mediterranean region. Peppermint has been used in Chinese and Japanese traditional medicine. According to the ancient texts, peppermint has been used both as food and medicine. In 1721, the plant was registered in UK’s official drug list as an independent plant with the properties of treating cold and headache. Egyptians cultivated peppermint. Dried peppermint leaves were discovered in the pyramid. In the mid-eighteenth century, the plant was cultivated in Western Europe and England for its medicinal properties.
1. Improving Digestive System Function
The article published in the Journal of Nutrition Bytes with the title of “the role of peppermint in irritable bowel syndrome” has shown that peppermint contains anti-contraction compounds. The beneficial effects of peppermint have been observed as an alternative to improving irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in vitro and clinical trials. Studies have shown that peppermint has anti-spasmodic properties due to its ability to close calcium channels in smooth muscle. Using peppermint in patients suffering from IBS led to digestive system relaxation and reducing the disease symptoms without any side effects. However, in some patients it did not make a difference. For this reason, despite the fact that this plant is used to treat IBS, conducting more studies to ensure the effect of peppermint is essential.
2. Increasing Bile Secretion
In an experiment, injection of leaf extract or flavonoid compound of peppermint to animals has resulted in an increase in bile acid content. Mixture of extracted flavonoid from leaves has the properties of increasing bile acids in dogs. Flavomintin which is a flavonoid extracted from leaves, increases the secretion of bile acids in dogs. Using 30% ethanol extract of peppermint leaves in rat’s stomach increases the bile flow by 43%.
3. Relieving Headache and Migraine
Peppermint tea reduces pain and improves blood flow. Experiments on 32 volunteers have shown that the peppermint oil is effective for reducing headache and its symptoms. In another experiment, a comparison between the effect of peppermint oil and acetaminophen on 40 patients has been performed. Based on this comparison, peppermint oil significantly reduces headache after 15 minutes, showing similar effect to acetaminophen.
A Study has shown that extracted compounds from peppermint plants have anti-allergic activity. Between these, two compounds of 5, 6, 4Trihydroxy – 7,38,3 Trimethoxyflavone and 5, 6 Dihydroxy and 7, 8, 3, 4 tetramethoxyflavone have the most anti-allergic properties against allergy type 1.
In vitro condition, peppermint extract has antibacterial and anti-virus properties. In a study, adding peppermint leaf powder to agar medium prevented the growth of bacteria of Salmonella, Staphylococcus and Vibrio. Liquid extract of the leaves also prevented the activity of a number of viruses, including herpes virus, in cell cultures.
6. Relieving Muscle Spasms
Peppermint is effective in relieving muscle spasms, according to World Health Organization monograph. Consuming 31% ethanolic extract of peppermint leaves with 10 millimeter in liter in vitro condition prevents from contraction of the Hindi pigs smooth muscles induced by acetyl choline and histamine. The effect was similar to 0.13 milligram atropine. The effects of the flavonoid extracted from peppermint leaves with the density of the 0.5 gram in milliliter also prevents from muscle contraction induced by the Barium chloride in Hindi pig’s ileum.
Menthol, Menthone, Menthyl Acetate, Neomenthol, Isomenthone, Menthofuran, Limonene, Pulegone, Alpha-Pinene & Beta-Pinene, Glycosides (Apigenin, Diosmetin, Luteolin).
In traditional medicine, peppermint is used to treat nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, high blood pressure, diabetes, pain, indigestion, bloating, intestinal colic, urinary tract infections, and respiratory infections, dysmenorrhea and colds. It is also used as a sleeping drug, mothers milk booster, emmenagogue and anti-parasite.