Mint is one of the most reliable home remedies for an upset stomach. After all, grandmas often hand out mints to combat indigestion, flatulence, and colic. In other words, they've long been using mint to treat upset stomach.

Mint's Medicinal Value

The two types of mint you're most likely to encounter are spearmint and peppermint. Although they once were considered the same plant, peppermint actually is a natural hybrid of spearmint. It's also the more potent of the herbs.

Peppermint owes part of its healing power to an aromatic oil called menthol. Spearmint's primary active constituent is a similar but weaker chemical called carvone.

Oil of peppermint contains up to 78 percent menthol. Menthol encourages bile (a fluid secreted by the liver) to flow into the duodenum, where it promotes digestion. Menthol also is a potent antispasmodic; in other words, it calms the action of muscles, particularly those of the digestive system.

Menthol's medicinal value has been borne out in numerous studies with animals and with humans. German and Russian studies show that peppermint not only helps to stimulate bile secretion but also may prevent stomach ulcers. The potent oil is also capable of killing myriad microorganisms that are associated with digestive and other problems.

Other studies, moreover, suggest that menthol may be useful in treating irritable bowel syndrome, a common but hard-to-treat digestive disorder in which the bowel contracts, causing a crampy type of adult colic.

Mint and Colonoscopy

Peppermint oil has also been used to stop painful cramping in patients undergoing colonoscopy. The oil is sprayed directly into the colon through the colonoscope tube. This strategy has been quite successful and is generally safer and cheaper than the drugs used to control cramping that patients have traditionally been given.

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This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.