Diarrhea is characterized by watery, loose stools occurring more frequently than usual, according to MayoClinic.com. Diarrhea may be the result of several conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, diseases, viruses or bacteria and parasites. If the diarrhea is caused by bacteria, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics; however, peppermint oil may be used as an alternative treatment to prevent or reduce the frequency of diarrhea. Speak with your doctor before using peppermint oil or any herbal remedy for the treatment of health conditions.
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Toothpastes, gum and other consumable products are commonly flavored with peppermint. In addition to being a popular flavoring agent, peppermint can be beneficial when used medicinally for certain conditions. Peppermints' volatile oil has been used in treating digestive conditions, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea and headaches with its numbing and calming effects. Additionally, it may be used to treat menstrual cramps and congestion.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC, a study shows that 75 percent of participants using peppermint oil had significantly reduced symptoms of bloating, gas, pain and diarrhea. However, UMMC reports that some studies have mixed results. Peppermint oil also increases production of digestive fluids while increasing circulation.
Peppermint oil is available in the form of tinctures and dried leaves for making peppermint tea. In addition, it is also available in enteric-coated capsules; these capsules prevent the oil from releasing in the stomach and causing indigestion. For skin ailments, peppermint is also available in creams and ointments.
To use peppermint oil for relief of diarrhea and other digestive problems, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests taking 1 to 2 enteric-coated capsules up to three times per day. To make peppermint tea, add 1 tbsp. of dried peppermint leaves to 1 cup of boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes. Once the tea has cooled, strain and drink. This tea may be consumed up to five times per day between meals.
Peppermint oil is not recommended for small children or infants and should be avoided if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. In addition, peppermint tea should be avoided if you suffer from gastrointestinal reflux, also called GERD, or if you have a hiatal hernia. When consumed in large amounts, peppermint oil can be toxic. If you suffer from any type of adverse reaction, stop using this herb immediately and contact your medical provider for an evaluation.