Cooling and soothing away your IBS symptoms.

Peppermint plant growing out of enteric peppermint oil capsules.

Peppermint can be a very versatile pain reliever. It helps many people with IBS. The enteric capsules seem to work best.
© Can Stock Photo

I’ve used peppermint oil in the form of capsules to successfully treat my IBS symptoms.

I mentioned it on another page and a very kind reader named Milo made a comment that it helped him very much.

Recently I’ve read some studies that show clinical proof that peppermint oil can reduce or eliminate the bowel pain of IBS.  Here is a link to a jargon version over at Pubmed if you want :).

Why peppermint?

Many herbs or plants have medicinal uses. They were the first medicines used by humans.

Peppermint provides a naturally cooling sensation that can soothe irritation.  If you have inflamed bowels, then peppermint may be a kind of natural treatment for your IBS.

The trick is to get the soothing peppermint to your bowels in a form that actually relieves the pain. (See IBS, Pain, and Things That Help).

Your stomach acid and other digestive processes can really do a job on the peppermint before it reaches it’s destination.

Peppermint oil vs. peppermint tea.

The part of the plant that does the soothing is the oil.  You can get small amounts of peppermint oil by making tea from the leaves. However, I think you’d have to drink a lot of it several times a day to get the desired soothing effects.

An easier and more effective way to get the effects of peppermint is to buy enteric coated peppermint oil capsules. These capsules provide a lot more peppermint oil, and get the oil where it needs to be.

A cup of peppermint tea.

Peppermint tea can help some people with the cramps and pains of IBS. Beware of GERD though!
© Can Stock Photo

Why you need enteric capsules:

Enteric coated capsules pass through the stomach intact, and dissolve in the intestines. That way the contents of the capules makes it to your bowels without being damaged by stomach acid. (See the Human Digestive System).

Also, enteric coated capsules can help prevent stomach upset if they contain something that might irritate the stomach.

I think this is particularly important for peppermint oil because I have GERD (gastroesophogeal reflux), also called acid reflux.

Enteric coated peppermint and reflux (GERD).

I can’t drink peppermint tea or take non-enteric coated peppermint capules because it sets off a reflux attack.

NOT GOOD.

If you have reflux, you probably already know that peppermint can cause severe stomach acid buildup. However the capsules with the enteric coating, peppermint doesn’t usually set off a stomach acid storm.

One thing to be aware of is that if you’re taking medicine to reduce stomach acid, then the pills may dissolve in you’re stomach instead of your intestines. I think this is something that happened to me.

I found that while taking the enteric capsules, I didn’t have too much of a problem, but I did notice a minty cool breath experience.

While this may have pleased my wife (meaning that I had fresh breath :), I found that even the enteric coated peppermint was too much for me to use regularly. But I have an unusually sensitive stomach. I think most people would be fine.

Where to buy peppermint oil:

You can usually  the enteric coated capsules at your local health food store. I recommend that you buy from them even though it’s usually more expensive. They need the support of the community or they will end up closing.

However if you’re going to be taking peppermint oil a lot, then buying them online might be a better option for you. They’re usually much cheaper.

Just make SURE that the capsules you buy have an enteric coating!

Let me know if peppermint helps you, in the comments section!

I hope it helps,

Shawn