In this article:
- What makes peppermint oil so effective at preventing bloating, flatulence and other digestive problems.
- How to take peppermint oil capsules correctly to avoid side effects.
- The best kind of peppermint oil capsules and where to find them online.
What are Peppermint Oil Capsules and How Do They Treat Digestive Problems?
Peppermint essential oil is derived from dried peppermint leaves and it is a powerful calmative and antispasmodic. In herbal medicine this means it alleviates tension and releases spasms and blockages in your gastrointestinal tract.
Studies have shown peppermint oil is an effective treatment for bloating, abdominal pain due to intestinal gas and excessive flatulence. A recent survey of clinical trials also described peppermint oil as the recommended ‘first choice’ for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
Due to its potency, peppermint oil may work for severe cases of bloating and intestinal pain where herbal teas aren’t strong enough. Unfortunately, some people also experience side effects like acid reflux and stomach discomfort when they take peppermint oil capsules or tablets.
To prevent this, and to increase its effectiveness for digestive problems, it’s recommended to use enteric coated peppermint oil capsules. These capsules have a special coating that protects them from stomach acid and only dissolves once in the small intestine.
This allows more of the peppermint oil to reach the intestines in a concentrated dose. It does, however, mean they need to be taken before a meal rather than after one for best results.
Because of this, peppermint oil capsules are a much better preventative than cure for bloating and intestinal pain. If you take them after a big meal they can take a while to get to work. If you’ve just eaten and have digestive discomfort, then fennel or ginger tea is usually a better option.
They are, however, excellent at preventing excessive flatulence problems. As well as relieving trapped intestinal gases, peppermint oil capsules also improve digestive transit time, have antimicrobial properties to control bad bacteria and help prevent constipation.
For an added bonus, peppermint oil’s strong yet pleasant smell overpowers certain noxious compounds found in the lower intestine, like hydrogen sulphide. So even if you do pass wind, it will usually smell much less offensive if you’ve taken a peppermint oil capsule earlier in the day.
How to Take Peppermint Oil
First of all, never use peppermint essential oil orally from a bottle. It’s too powerful and is likely to irritate the mouth and esophagus.
The best way to take peppermint oil is as a capsule. Regular peppermint oil capsules can have a positive effect on digestion, but they may feel uncomfortable in the stomach for some people. They also increase the chance of acid reflux and GERD symptoms.
Enteric coated peppermint oil capsules, like these highly rated ones, pass directly through your stomach and only dissolve in your upper intestine. You take them on an empty stomach, preferably 30 minutes and at least 15 minutes, before a meal with a big glass of water.
For people who experience regular bloating, or those who would like to prevent flatulence issues, peppermint oil should be taken before each main meal of the day.
If you only experience digestive problems occasionally, like when you eat certain foods, you can take a peppermint oil capsule half an hour before you eat as insurance against abdominal pain and bloating.
Remember to drink a big glass of water with the capsule to help it get past the stomach and into the upper intestine. This is a healthy practice before a meal anyway and a good habit to get into.
The Best Enteric Coated Peppermint Oil
Heather’s Tummy Tamers are widely considered the best enteric coated peppermint oil capsules on the market. They also contain smaller amounts of fennel and ginger oil for synergy and are strong enough to be recommended as a treatment for IBS.
These peppermint oil capsules are an excellent way to prevent excessive flatulence. They also work very well for preventing bloating and intestinal cramps, as long as they are taken well advance of a meal. If herbal teas aren’t enough, it’s well worth trying peppermint oil capsules for digestive problems.
- If you don’t want to use fennel tea or ginger tea, consider keeping some enteric coated peppermint oil capsules on hand for bloating and digestive upsets. While they can relieve symptoms too, they are even better as a preventative taken 30 minutes before a meal.
- Regardless of whether you are taking a peppermint oil capsule, start getting into the habit of having a glass of water before a meal. This improves digestion and you’ll feel less desire to drink during a meal, which may hamper the digestive process.
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