Triple-coated Peppermint Oil Eases Irritable Bowel Syndrome
For many years, traditional healers have recommended using peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome. Especially during bouts of painful spasms.
We have discussed the research on using peppermint oil for IBS.
Delivery system is important
But herbalists have also learned that the method of delivery of the peppermint oil is critical.
When peppermint oil is used straight, it can produce some heartburn as it interacts with the stomach and esophageal sphincters. To help prevent this, manufacturers have created enteric-coated peppermint oil. The coating helps deliver the oil into the intestines before it interacts with the stomach or sphincters.
This works in many cases. Yet in still some cases, the enteric coating can break down early, releasing some peppermint oil into the stomach or pyloric sphincter region. This can irritate the sphincter, duodenal intestine and stomach walls. This isn’t in all cases. But some.
New triple-coated peppermint oil system
Recently, a new development in the delivery of peppermint oil for IBS conditions was clinically tested. The results were significantly better. Once again, they prove that peppermint oil, if delivered to the right location in the intestines, can significantly east IBS.
The new system is called a triple-coated microsphere. The three coatings are, from outer to inner:
1) microcrystalline cellulose outer coating
2) pH triggered enteric middle coating impermeable to stomach acid but breaks down with intestinal acids
3) Inner seal that traps the terpenes within peppermint oil
The terpene trap is because it is the terpenes in peppermint oil that produces the heartburn sensation. The new formulation delivers pure peppermint oil and its main constituent, L-menthol, directly to the small intestines without disturbing the stomach wall or pyloric sphincter.
Clinical study tests the triple-coated peppermint oil
Researchers from the University of South Alabama and IM HealthScience studied 72 patients with moderate IBS – either IBS-diarrhea or IBS-mixed. These are advanced stages of IBS – diarrhea-predominant IBS or diarrhea and constipation mixed.
The patients were divided into two groups. One group was given a placebo and the other group took two capsules of the triple-coated peppermint oil three times a day. The Ibgard supplement contained 90 milligrams of peppermint oil per capsule.
Both groups were assessed after 24 hours and four weeks of treatment. They were tested with Total IBS Symptom Score (TISS). The peppermint oil group saw a decrease in IBS symptoms of nearly 20 percent 24 hours after starting the treatment. After four weeks, the peppermint oil group saw a 40 percent decline in TIIS symptom scores. Compared to the placebo group, the peppermint oil group had a reduction of symptoms of nearly 42 percent.
The peppermint oil group also experienced a significant decrease in the number of severe and unbearable symptoms of IBS – about half of the placebo group.
Furthermore, only one of the peppermint oil group reported any discomfort from taking the supplement – and this consisted of flatulence.
Other studies proving peppermint oil eases IBS
Other research has supported the use of peppermint oil for IBS pain and spasms. These have confirmed single-enteric coated peppermint oil can have significant benefit as well.
In a 2013 study, researchers from the Mymensingh Medical College Hospital in Bangladesh conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on 74 patients (65 completed the study) who had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with significant diarrhea.
The researchers gave the patients either a placebo or a capsule of peppermint oil three times a day for six weeks. The researchers assessed the pain and symptom scores at three weeks, at the end of the trial and two weeks after the end of the trial. The peppermint oil group had significantly less pain scores at the end of the trial compared to the placebo group.
In a 2007 study from Italy’s G d’Annunzio University Medical College, researchers gave a placebo or two enteric-coated peppermint capsules twice a day for four weeks to 57 irritable bowel patients in another double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study.
In this study, 75% of the patients taking the peppermint oil had more than a 50% reduction in total IBS symptoms. The peppermint oil group also had a significant reduction in symptoms four weeks after the study was completed.
The researchers concluded that:
“A 4 weeks treatment with peppermint oil improves abdominal symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.”
In a 2010 study, researchers tested 90 patients who had irritable bowel syndrome. In this placebo-controlled, double-blind and randomized study, the patients were given either a placebo or one enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule three times a day for eight weeks.
By the end of the eight weeks, the peppermint oil group had 14 people who were completely free of pain symptoms – more than double the rate of the placebo group. The peppermint oil group also had significantly better pain scores on average across both groups.
The researchers concluded that enteric-coated peppermint oil, “is effective and safe as a therapeutic agent in patients with IBS suffering from abdominal pain or discomfort.”
The enteric-coating on the peppermint oil capsule is critical because this allows the peppermint oil to be delivered to the intestines with a minimal amount of digestive enzyme breakdown from the stomach. While peppermint tea and fresh peppermint has also been used by traditional healers for centuries for digestive issues including IBS, the enteric-coated capsule increases the speed and effectiveness of this natural remedy.
Cash BD, Epstein MS, Shah SM. A Novel Delivery System of Peppermint Oil for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms. Dig Dis Sci. 2016 Feb;61(2):560-71. doi: 10.1007/s10620-015-3858-7.
Alam MS, Roy PK, Miah AR, Mollick SH, Khan MR, Mahmud MC, Khatun S. Efficacy of Peppermint oil in diarrhea predominant IBS – a double blind randomized placebo controlled study. Mymensingh Med J. 2013 Jan;22(1):27-30.
Cappello G, Spezzaferro M, Grossi L, Manzoli L, Marzio L. Peppermint oil in treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. a prospective double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Dig Liver Dis. 2007 Jun;39(6):530-6.
Merat S, Khalili S, Mostajabi P, Ghorbani A, Ansari R, Malekzadeh R. The effect of enteric-coated, delayed-release peppermint oil on irritable bowel syndrome. Dig Dis Sci. 2010 May;55(5):1385-90.
Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.