Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Find a Vitamin or Supplement

PEPPERMINT

Other Names:

Black Peppermint, Bo He, Brandy Mint, Chinese Peppermint, Corn Mint, Extract of Mentha Piperita, Extract of Peppermint, Extract of Peppermint Leaves, Extract of Peppermint Leaves, Extrait de Feuilles de Menthe de Poivrée, Extrait de Mentha Piper...
See All Names

Menthol (PEPPERMINT) Overview
Menthol (PEPPERMINT) Uses
Menthol (PEPPERMINT) Side Effects
Menthol (PEPPERMINT) Interactions
Menthol (PEPPERMINT) Dosing
Menthol (PEPPERMINT) Overview Information

Peppermint is a plant. The leaf and oil are used as medicine.

Peppermint is used for the common cold, cough, inflammation of the mouth and throat, sinus infections, and respiratory infections. It is also used for digestive problems including heartburn, nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), cramps of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract and bile ducts, upset stomach, diarrhea, bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine, and gas.

Some people also use peppermint for menstrual problems, liver and gallbladder complaints, preventing spasms during endoscopy procedures, and as a stimulant.

Peppermint oil is applied to the skin for headache, muscle pain, nerve pain, toothache, inflammation of the mouth, joint conditions, itchiness, allergic rash, bacterial and viral infections, relaxing the colon during barium enemas, and for repelling mosquitoes.

Some people inhale peppermint oil for treating symptoms of cough and colds, and as a painkiller.

In foods and beverages, peppermint is a common flavoring agent.

In manufacturing, peppermint oil is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics, and as a flavoring agent in pharmaceuticals.

In 1990, the FDA banned the sale of peppermint oil as an over-the-counter drug for use as a digestive aid because its effectiveness had not been proven. Today, peppermint is sold as a dietary supplement. Unlike over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements do not have to be proven effective to the satisfaction of the FDA in order to be marketed. Also, unlike over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements are not allowed to claim that they prevent or treat illness.

How does it work?

Peppermint oil seems to reduce spasms in the digestive tract. When applied to the skin, it can cause surface warmth, which relieves pain beneath the skin.

Menthol (PEPPERMINT) Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Effective for:

  • Heartburn (dyspepsia). Taking peppermint oil orally in combination with caraway oil seems to reduce feelings of fullness and mild gastrointestinal (GI) spasms. A specific combination product containing peppermint leaf (Iberogast, Medical Futures, Inc) also seems to improve symptoms of heartburn. The combination includes peppermint leaf plus clown’s mustard plant, German chamomile, caraway, licorice, milk thistle, angelica, celandine, and lemon balm. It seems to significantly reduce severity of acid reflux, stomach pain, cramping, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Relaxing the colon during medical exams, including barium enemas or radiologic procedures, when taken by mouth or added to the barium solution.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Most research shows that peppermint oil can improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such as stomach pain and flatulence. But some other research has not found any benefit. The reason for the different findings is not clear.
  • Tension headaches, when applied to the skin of the affected area.

Possibly Ineffective for:

  • Nausea following surgery.

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Relieving pain due to viral disease called shingles, when peppermint oil is applied to the skin of the affected area.
  • Toothaches.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Infections.
  • Morning sickness.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Painful menstrual periods.
  • Bacteria overgrowth in the intestines.
  • Lung infections.
  • Spasms of the stomach and gallbladder.
  • Spasms during endoscopy procedures.
  • Cough and symptoms of cold.
  • Inflammation of mouth and respiratory tract lining.
  • Muscle or nerve pain.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate peppermint for these uses.


Menthol (PEPPERMINT) Side Effects & Safety

Peppermint is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in food. The oil is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken in medicinal amounts or when applied to the skin. The leaf is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken in amounts used for medicine short-term (up to 8 weeks). The safety of using peppermint leaf long-term is unknown.

Peppermint can cause some side effects including heartburn, and allergic reactions including flushing, headache, and mouth sores.

Peppermint oil, when taken by mouth in pills with a special (enteric) coating to prevent contact with the stomach, is LIKELY SAFE for children 8 years of age and older.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY SAFE to take peppermint in amounts normally found in food during pregnancy and breast-feeding. But not enough is known about the safety of taking larger amounts used for medicine. It’s best not to take these larger amounts if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

A stomach condition in which the stomach is not producing hydrochloric acid (achlorhydria): Don’t use enteric-coated peppermint oil if you have this condition. The enteric coating might dissolve too early in the digestive process.

Diarrhea: Enteric-coated peppermint oil could cause anal burning, if you have diarrhea.

Menthol (PEPPERMINT) Interactions What is this?

Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

  • Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) interacts with PEPPERMINT

    The body breaks down cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) to get rid of it. Peppermint oil might decrease how quickly the body breaks down cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune). Taking peppermint oil products along with cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) might increase the risk of side effects for cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune).

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates) interacts with PEPPERMINT

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver

    Peppermint oil and leaf might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking peppermint oil along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking peppermint oil, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver

    Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), haloperidol (Haldol), ondansetron (Zofran), propranolol (Inderal), theophylline (Theo-Dur, others), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, others), and others.

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C19 (CYP2C19) substrates) interacts with PEPPERMINT

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver

    Peppermint oil might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking peppermint oil along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking peppermint oil, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver

    Some medications that are changed by the liver include omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), and pantoprazole (Protonix); diazepam (Valium); carisoprodol (Soma); nelfinavir (Viracept); and others.

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates) interacts with PEPPERMINT

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

    Peppermint oil might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking peppermint oil along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking peppermint oil, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

    Some medications that are changed by the liver include diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), ibuprofen (Motrin), meloxicam (Mobic), and piroxicam (Feldene); celecoxib (Celebrex); amitriptyline (Elavil); warfarin (Coumadin); glipizide (Glucotrol); losartan (Cozaar); and others.

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates) interacts with PEPPERMINT

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

    Peppermint oil might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking peppermint oil along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking peppermint oil, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver

    Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.


Minor Interaction Be watchful with this combination

  • Antacids interacts with PEPPERMINT

    Some peppermint oil products are covered with a special coating. Antacids are used to decrease stomach acid. Low stomach acid can cause the coating of these peppermint oil products to dissolve too quickly. When peppermint oil products dissolve too quickly they can sometimes cause heartburn and nausea. Take antacids at least two hours after coated peppermint oil products.

    Some antacids include calcium carbonate (Tums, others), dihydroxyaluminum sodium carbonate (Rolaids, others), magaldrate (Riopan), magnesium sulfate (Bilagog), aluminum hydroxide (Amphojel), and others.

  • Medications that decrease stomach acid (H2-Blockers) interacts with PEPPERMINT

    Some peppermint oil products are covered with a special coating. Some medications that decrease stomach acid might cause the coating of these peppermint oil products to dissolve too quickly. When peppermint oil products dissolve too quickly they can sometimes cause heartburn and nausea. Take medications that decrease stomach acid at least two hours after coated peppermint oil products

    Some medications that decrease stomach acid include cimetidine (Tagamet), ranitidine (Zantac), nizatidine (Axid), and famotidine (Pepcid).

  • Medications that decrease stomach acid (Proton pump inhibitors) interacts with PEPPERMINT

    Some peppermint oil products are covered with a special coating. Some medications that decrease stomach acid might cause the coating of these peppermint oil products to dissolve too quickly. When peppermint oil products dissolve too quickly they can sometimes cause heartburn and nausea. Take medications that decrease stomach acid at least two hours after coated peppermint oil products

    Some medications that decrease stomach acid include omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (Aciphex), pantoprazole (Protonix), and esomeprazole (Nexium).


Menthol (PEPPERMINT) Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For upset stomach: Peppermint oil 90 mg per day has been used in combination with caraway oil. A specific combination product containing peppermint leaf and several other herbs (Iberogast, Medical Futures, Inc) has been used in a dose of 1 mL three times daily.
APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
  • For tension headaches: 10% peppermint oil in ethanol solution applied across the forehead and temples, repeated after 15 and 30 minutes, has been used.
BY ENEMA:
  • For decreasing colonic spasms during barium enema: 8 mL of peppermint oil was added to 100 mL water along with a surface active agent, Tween 80. The insoluble fraction was removed, then 30 mL of the remaining peppermint solution was added to 300 mL of the barium solution.

See 11 Reviews for this Treatment - OR -

Review this Treatment

Learn about User Reviews and read IMPORTANT information about user generated content

Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

Search for a Vitamin or Supplement

Ex. Ginseng, Vitamin C, Depression

Today on WebMD

Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
Man taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
 
clams
Quiz
Woman in sun
Slideshow
 
Couple in bed
Article
!!69X75_Vitamins_Supplements.jpg
Evaluator
 
Woman sleeping
Article
Woman staring into space with coffee
Article
 
Related Newsletters

Stay Informed with the latest must-read information delivered right to your inbox.

IMPORTANT: About This Section and Other User-Generated Content on WebMD

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatment or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.