Peppermint is familiar because it is widely used as a flavoring in foods, beverages, and over-the-counter products. But this herb also is believed to possess some healing elements for several illnesses when used properly. Here's how this alternative medicine works:
Most people have heard about the benefits of peppermint leaf tea for relief of an upset stomach. Peppermint's reputation is due in large part to its volatile oil compounds that relax the smooth muscles that line the digestive tract. When these muscle cells become overactive, they contribute to indigestion, dyspepsia, gallbladder disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Several clinical trials have also shown that peppermint essential oil, a super-concentrated form of the herb, can relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. If IBS symptoms persist despite peppermint use, seek a health care professional's help to be sure you don't have an ulcer or a more serious health problem.
Another series of research studies showed that menthol and closely related compounds from mint oils can actually dissolve gallstones; however, this may take many months to achieve. It is imperative to maintain a low-fat diet, lose weight, and exercise regularly to help the peppermint oil work best.