Peppermint Fixes More Than Just Bad Breath



This resource was made possible due to an unrestricted educational grant from Nestle Health Science, makers of IBgard.

Peppermint: a short history

Unless you’re trying to decided between a minty or fruity stick of gum, peppermint probably isn’t top of mind. However, peppermint has a long, rich history and many medicinal properties that can do much more than banish bad breath.

The name peppermint actually comes from Greek mythology, believe it or not. According to this myth, Hades seduced Minthe the nymph, despite being married to Persephone. There are several versions of this particular story. In one version, Persephone became overcome with jealousy and turned Minthe into a plant as punishment, so she would be doomed to be stepped on for eternity. However, Hades interfered and gave Minthe a wonderful aroma, that would be released each time she was stepped on, in the hopes that the scent would allow her to live on each time someone smelled peppermint. There are other contradicting versions in which Persephone turned Minthe into peppermint as a way to protect her from Hades and his unwanted advances.

Greek mythology is not the only ancient culture in which peppermint has made an appearance. Dried peppermint leaves have been discovered in ancient Egyptian pyramids, whose origins date back to nearly 1,000 BC. It has also been observed that the Romans used to plant peppermint in and around their homes, enjoying the pleasant aroma offered by this dexterous plant. The Romans also often used peppermint as a digestive aide as well as its other herbal and medicinal properties.

The use of peppermint has also been traced back through Chinese and Japanese histories, however due to the fact that peppermint was often recorded as simply ‘mint’ it is difficult to decipher exactly how far back the herb was used.

Using Peppermint Oil for IBS

We’ve come a long way in medicine since ancient greek times. We’ve come to understand now that the active ingredient in peppermint is an element called I-Menthol. I-Menthol has an antispasmodic effect (which is just a fancy way of saying that it soothes spasming muscles) on the digestive tract and can lead to muscle relaxation. 

Up until recently, peppermint oil has predominantly been used topically. People have used it to soothe headaches by rubbing it into the temples, or massaging it into skin to help with muscle spasms. It has always had huge potential to assist in IBS patients, however, the challenge has always been getting the peppermint to the small intestine, where most of the pain originates in IBS patients.

For the first time, there is a new treatment option that delivers the powerful and fast acting effects of peppermint oil in a site specific way to where it is needed most in IBS patients. IBgard has come up with a special triple-coated, sustained released formula that delivers a capsule containing 45% I-Menthol to the small intestine. It has been clinically tested and proven to improve symptoms within 24 hours.

In fact, 75.6% of patients surveyed reported that IBS symptom reduction occurred within 1-2 hours. More than 96% indicated that they felt moderate to major symptom improvement, and 92.7% of patients claimed they felt moderate to major improvements in quality of life.

The symptoms of IBS often occur within 90 minutes of meals. This is due to the fact that this is approximately how long it takes for food to reach the small intestine. Recent scientific and clinical evidence points to the small intestine as the site of the disruption in the lining of the gut (gut mucosal barrier and where transit time can also be disrupted).

Food can either move too fast or too slow, causing symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation or both. This is also the site where abdominal pain originates, probably from irritated nerve endings in the gut or from trapped gas.

IBgard’s unique site specific targeting technology delivers its ingredients directly to this affected site. It is recommended that IBgard be taken 30 minutes before or after meals to soothe the small intestine during times of duress. However, it is becoming more and more clear that taking IBgard before the meal may be more effective, as it allows the I-Menthol time to beat the food to the small intestine and get a head start! IBgard’s SST technology minimizes the potential for heartburn and anal burning, which are common side effects among older delivery technologies for peppermint oil. No heartburn or anal burning was seen with IBgard in this study.

This product is easily attainable and available at most drug stores. Patients tested saw relief in symptoms over the course of 24 hours and continued relief over a 3-4 week period.

This is an exciting time for peppermint and IBS patients alike! Although this treatment is non-perscription, as always, it is recommended that before starting any kind of treatment, you should first consult your physician.