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Spices for Digestion: Reasoning for seasonings.

March 31, 2012

Digest Zen a doTERRA essential oils blend containing some of the following spices.

1. J Food Sci. 2011 Mar;76(2):C309-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.02022.x.
Chemical composition and antimicrobial and spasmolytic properties of Poliomintha longiflora and Lippia graveolens essential oils.
Rivero-Cruz I, Duarte G, Navarrete A, Bye R, Linares E, Mata R.
Facultad de Química, Univ. Nacional Autónoma de México, México DF, Coyoacán 04360, México.
In the present study, we reported a comparative analysis of the chemical composition and pharmacological properties of the essential oils obtained from 2 Mexican oreganos, Poliomintha longiflora and Lippia graveolens. The gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) profiles of the oils showed high amounts of oxygenated monoterpenes, mainly carvacrol (%[mg/100 g dry matter]) (18.36 [459.0] in P. longiflora and 13.48 [164.7] in L. graveolens). In addition, these oils contained marked quantities of p-cymene (14.09 [352.2] and 7.46 [37.3], respectively), β-caryophyllene oxide, β-caryophyllene, and carvacrol acetate. Headspace analyses of the leaves of both species using different coated fibers revealed that γ-terpinene, eucalyptol, and p-cymene were the principal light volatile components. Chromatographic fingerprints and a suitable analytical method for quantifying the main components of both essences were established using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) as analytical tool. The essential oils of both species were not toxic in the acute toxicity studies in mice performed according to the Lorke procedure (DL(50) > 5000 mg/kg). The oils and the major constituents, carvacrol and p-cymene, displayed a moderate in vitro antibacterial activity, with minimum inhibitory concentration values ranging from 128 to 512 μg/mL. In addition, these samples demonstrated a marginal antispasmodic activity in vivo and provoked a concentration-dependent inhibition of the carbachol- and histamine-induced contractions using the isolated guinea-pig ileum preparation. In particular, p-cymene exerts good selective inhibitory activity on the carbachol-induced contractions (IC(50) = 9.85 μg/mL). PRACTICAL APPLICATION: The analytical methods using GC-MS and HPLC techniques will be useful for establishing quality control as well as preclinical pharmacological and toxicological parameters of the crude drug P. longiflora, which is widely used as substitute of L. graveolens for medicinal and flavorings purposes. This overall information will be also useful for elaborating scientific and pharmacopoeic monographs of this very Mexican medicinal plant.

3. Altern Med Rev. 2009 Dec;14(4):380-4.
Essential oils in the treatment of intestinal dysbiosis: A preliminary in vitro study.
Hawrelak JA, Cattley T, Myers SP.School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University.
Dysbiosis is associated with a number of gastrointestinal and systemic disorders. There is a need for selectively acting antimicrobial agents capable of inhibiting the growth of potentially pathogenic microorganisms, or those found to be out of balance, while not negatively impacting the bulk gastrointestinal tract microflora.
The purpose of this in vitro study is to examine the potential of a selection of essential oils as agents to treat dysbiosis.
Eight essential oils were examined using the agar dilution method, including Carum carvi, Citrus aurantium var. amara, Foeniculum vulgare dulce, Illicium verum, Lavandula angustifolia, Mentha arvensis, Mentha x piperita, and Trachyspermum copticum. Doubling dilutions of the essential oils were tested against 12 species of intestinal bacteria, which represent the major genera found in the human gastrointestinal tract (GIT).
Carum carvi, Lavandula angustifolia, Trachyspermum copticum, and Citrus aurantium var. amara essential oils displayed the greatest degree of selectivity, inhibiting the growth of potential pathogens at concentrations that had no effect on the beneficial bacteria examined.
The most promising essential oils for the treatment of intestinal dysbiosis are Carum carvi, Lavandula angustifolia, Trachyspermum copticum, and Citrus aurantium var. amara. The herbs from which these oils are derived have long been used in the treatment of gastrointestinal symptoms and the in vitro results of this study suggest that their ingestion will have little detrimental impact on beneficial members of the GIT microflora. More research is needed, however, to investigate tolerability and safety concerns, and verify the selective action of these agents.

4. Am Fam Physician. 2009 Dec 15;80(12):1405-8.
Evening primrose oil.
Bayles B, Usatine R. Dept. of Family and Community Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr., San Antonio, TX 78229, USA.
Evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) is a commonly used alternative therapy and a rich source of omega-6 essential fatty acids. It is best known for its use in the treatment of systemic diseases marked by chronic inflammation, such as atopic dermatitis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is often used for several women’s health conditions, including breast pain (mastalgia), menopausal and premenstrual symptoms, cervical ripening, and labor induction or augmentation. However, there is insufficient evidence to make a reliable assessment of its effectiveness for most clinical indications. The current evidence suggests that oral evening primrose oil does not provide clinically significant improvement in persons with atopic dermatitis, and that it is also likely ineffective for the treatment of cyclical mastalgia and premenstrual syndrome. However, most trials to date have significant methodologic flaws and must be considered preliminary. The use of evening primrose oil during pregnancy is not supported in the literature and should be avoided. Evening primrose oil is generally well tolerated, with reported minor adverse effects, including gastrointestinal upset and headaches. Optimal dosing standards and treatment regimens await clarification in adequately powered clinical trials.

5. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2009 Jun;34(12):1605-11.
[Advances in herbal volatile oil and aromatic herbs].

Huang L, Gu Y, Li H.
China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, China.
The herbal volatile oil and aromatic herbs are traditional Chinese medicine which have some unique characteristics of volatility, special smell, complicated chemical constituents and the water insoluble property. The aromatic herbs from different sources have biodiversity effects on the cardiovascular, central nervous, respiratory and gastrointestinal system. They also play important roles in antibiosis, anti-inflammation, anticancer, antivirus and absorption enhancement, etc. In recent years, the herbal volatile oil and aromatic herbs have been widely reported to show broad prospect in medicinal application. In order to support various developmental works, the latest research results on herbal volatile oil and aromatic herbs are reviewed in this article in respect of chemical constituents, pharmacological action, and absorption enhancement.
6. Phytother Res. 2010 May;24(5):649-56.
Investigations into the antibacterial activities of phytotherapeutics against Helicobacter pylori and Campylobacter jejuni.
Cwikla C, Schmidt K, Matthias A, Bone KM, Lehmann R, Tiralongo E.
School of Pharmacy, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Queensland, Australia.
The prevalence of gastric diseases is increasing with H. pylori, the causative agent of acute and chronic gastritis, being a major predisposing factor for peptic ulcer disease and gastric carcinoma. C. jejuni is the most common cause of enteric infections, particularly among children, resulting in severe diarrhoea. Increasing drug resistance of these bacteria against standard antibiotics, and the more widespread use of herbal medicines, favours investigations into additional anti-Helicobacter and anti-Campylobacter effects of phytotherapeutics that are already used for their beneficial effects on bowel and digestive functions. Twenty-one hydroethanol herbal extracts and four essential oils were screened for antibacterial activity using a modification of a previously described micro-dilution assay and compared with the inhibitory effects of antibiotics. The herbal extracts showing the highest growth inhibition of C. jejuni were Calendula officinalis, Matricaria recutita, Zingiber officinale, Salvia officinalis, Foeniculum vulgare and Silybum marianum. Agrimonia eupatoria, Hydrastis canadensis, Filipendula ulmaria and Salvia officinalis were the most active herbal extracts in inhibiting the growth of H. pylori. This study provides evidence for additional beneficial effects of phytotherapeutics marketed for their gastrointestinal effects and identifies new beneficial antibacterial effects for some herbal medicines not currently recommended for gastrointestinal problems.
Copyright (c) 2009 John Wiley & Sons
7. Prescrire Int. 2009 Apr;18(100):75-9.
Irritable bowel syndrome: a mild disorder; purely symptomatic treatment.
(1) Patients frequently complain of occasional bowel movement disorders, associated with abdominal pain or discomfort, but they are rarely due to an underlying organ involvement. Even when patients have recurrent symptoms, serious disorders are no more frequent in these patients than in the general population, unless other manifestations, anaemia, or an inflammatory syndrome is also present; (2) There is currently no way of radically modifying the natural course of recurrent irritable bowel syndrome; (3) The effects of antispasmodics on abdominal pain have been tested in about 20 randomised controlled trials. Pinaverium and peppermint essential oil have the best-documented efficacy and only moderate adverse effects. Antispasmodics with marked atropinic effects do not have a favourable risk-benefit balance; (4) Tricylic antidepressants seem to have only modest analgesic effects in this setting. In contrast, their adverse effects are frequent and they have somewhat negative risk-benefit balances. Nor has the efficacy of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants (SSRIs) been demonstrated; (5) Alosetron and tegaserod carry a risk of potentially life-threatening adverse effects and therefore have negative risk-benefit balances; (6) Seeds of plants such as psyllium and ispaghul, as well as raw apples and pears, have a limited impact on constipation and pain. Osmotic laxatives are effective on constipation. Symptomatic treatments for constipation can sometimes aggravate abdominal discomfort; (7) Loperamide has been poorly assessed in patients with recurrent irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoea. It modestly slows bowel movement but does not relieve pain or abdominal discomfort; (8) Dietary measures have not been tested in comparative trials. Some patients are convinced that certain foods provoke a recurrence of irritable bowel syndrome, but restrictive diets carry a risk of nutritional deficiencies; (9) Various techniques intended to control emotional and psychological disturbances have been proposed, including relaxation, biofeedback, hypnosis, and psychotherapy. The results of clinical trials are not convincing; (10) Oral products containing live bacteria, designed to change the equilibrium of intestinal flora, have been tested in 13 placebo-controlled trials, with inconsistent results. A few cases of septicaemia have been reported; (11) The six available trials of acupuncture (versus sham acupuncture) showed no more than a placebo effect; (12) In practice, patients who have recurrent irritable bowel syndrome but with no other signs of a condition warranting specific treatment should be reassured as to the harmless nature of their disorder if a careful physical examination and basic laboratory tests are negative. The only available treatments have purely symptomatic effects and only limited efficacy. It is best to avoid using all treatments and additional diagnostic investigations that carry a risk of disproportionate adverse effects.

8. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jan 30;121(3):405-11. Epub 2008 Nov 8.
Chemical composition and mechanisms underlying the spasmolytic and bronchodilatory properties of the essential oil of Nepeta cataria L.
Gilani AH, Shah AJ, Zubair A, Khalid S, Kiani J, Ahmed A, Rasheed M, Ahmad VU.
Drug Discovery and Natural Products Research Unit, Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, The Aga Khan University Medical College, Karachi 74800, Pakistan.
The study was aimed to investigate the chemical composition and pharmacological basis for traditional use of essential oil of Nepeta cataria L. (Limiaceae) (Nc.Oil) in gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders.
Chemical analysis was carried out through GC-EIMS, 13C NMR and Kovats Retention Indices while pharmacological study was carried out in isolated tissues preparations.
Four major components; 1,8-cineol (21.00%), alpha-humulene (14.44%), alpha-pinene (10.43%) and geranyl acetate (8.21%) were identified among the 27 compounds in Nc.Oil. In isolated rabbit jejunum, Nc.Oil, papaverine and verapamil inhibited spontaneous and high K+(80 mM) precontractions, as well as shifted the Ca++ concentration-response curves (CRCs) to right, indicating calcium channel blocking activity. In isolated guinea-pig trachea, Nc.Oil and papaverine inhibited carbachol (1 microM) and K+ precontractions with similar potency, while verapamil was more potent against K+. Nc.Oil also potentiated isoprenaline inhibitory CRCs, similar to papaverine, indicating papaverine-like PDE inhibitor activity. In isolated guinea-pig atria, Nc.Oil caused cardiodepression at around 25-80 times higher concentrations, similar to papaverine.
These data indicate that Nepeta cataria possesses spasmolytic and myorelaxant activities mediated possibly through dual inhibition of calcium channels and PDE, which may explain its traditional use in colic, diarrhea, cough and asthma.

9. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007 Aug;293(2):R635-41. Epub 2007 May 2.
Learned flavor preferences induced by intragastric administration of rewarding nutrients: role of capsaicin-sensitive vagal afferent fibers.
Zafra MA, Molina F, Puerto A. Psychobiology, University of Granada, Campus de Cartuja, 18071 Granada, Spain.
Learned flavor preferences can be established after intragastric nutrient administration by two different behavioral procedures, concurrent and sequential. In a concurrent procedure, two flavored stimuli are offered separately but at the same time on a daily basis: one stimulus is paired with the simultaneous intragastric administration of partially digested food and the other with physiological saline. In sequential learning, the two stimuli are presented during alternate sessions. Neural mechanisms underlying these learning modalities have yet to be fully elucidated. The aim of this study was to examine the role of vagal afferent fibers in the visceral processing of rewarding nutrients during concurrent (experiment 1) and sequential (experiment 2) flavor preference learning in Wistar rats. For this purpose, capsaicin, a neurotoxin that destroys slightly myelinated or unmyelinated sensory axons, was applied to the subdiaphragmatic region of the esophagus to selectively damage most of the vagal afferent pathways that originate in the gastrointestinal system. Results showed that capsaicin [1 mg of capsaicin dissolved in 1 ml of vehicle (10% Tween 80 in oil)] blocked acquisition of concurrent but not sequential flavor preference learning. These results are interpreted in terms of a dual neurobiological system involved in processing the rewarding effects of intragastrically administered nutrients. The vagus nerve, specifically capsaicin-sensitive vagal afferent fibers, would only be essential in concurrent flavor preference learning, which requires rapid processing of visceral information.
10. Phytother Res. 2006 Aug;20(8):619-33.
A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.).
McKay DL, Blumberg JB.USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, 711 Washington St., Boston, MA 02111, USA.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) is one of the most widely consumed single ingredient herbal teas, or tisanes. Peppermint tea, brewed from the plant leaves, and the essential oil of peppermint are used in traditional medicines. Evidence-based research regarding the bioactivity of this herb is reviewed. The phenolic constituents of the leaves include rosmarinic acid and several flavonoids, primarily eriocitrin, luteolin and hesperidin. The main volatile components of the essential oil are menthol and menthone. In vitro, peppermint has significant antimicrobial and antiviral activities, strong antioxidant and antitumor actions, and some antiallergenic potential. Animal model studies demonstrate a relaxation effect on gastrointestinal (GI) tissue, analgesic and anesthetic effects in the central and peripheral nervous system, immunomodulating actions and chemopreventive potential. Human studies on the GI, respiratory tract and analgesic effects of peppermint oil and its constituents have been reported. Several clinical trials examining the effects of peppermint oil on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms have been conducted. However, human studies of peppermint leaf are limited and clinical trials of peppermint tea are absent. Adverse reactions to peppermint tea have not been reported, although caution has been urged for peppermint oil therapy in patients with GI reflux, hiatal hernia or kidney stones.
11. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2006 Feb;41(2):155-60.
A combination of peppermint oil and caraway oil attenuates the post-inflammatory visceral hyperalgesia in a rat model.
Adam B, Liebregts T, Best J, Bechmann L, Lackner C, Neumann J, Koehler S, Holtmann G.
Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and General Medicine, University of Adelaide, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
Visceral hyperalgesia plays a pivotal role in manifestation of symptoms in patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders. In clinical studies combined treatment of peppermint- and caraway oil significantly reduced symptoms. Thus, the aim of this study was to characterize the effects of peppermint- and caraway oil, individually and in combination, on visceral nociception in a rat model of post-inflammatory visceral hyperalgesia.
On day 28, male Lewis rats (n=80) were randomized to treatment with a rectal administration of trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid (TNBS)/ethanol or physiological saline solution. To quantify the visceromotor response to a standardized colorectal distension, bipolar electrodes were implanted into the external oblique musculature, just superior to the inguinal ligament for electromyographic recordings on day 3. On day 0, baseline measurement was performed. Thereafter, oral treatment with peppermint- or caraway oil or combination treatment was started and continued for 14 consecutive days. After 7 and 14 days of treatment a colorectal distension was performed. Colonic tissue samples were obtained on days 0, 7 and 14 to assess histological alterations due to the different treatment groups and the influence of different compounds.
After a single instillation of TNBS/ethanol persistent elevation of the visceromotor response at all different time-points was observed, although colonic mucosa was completely normal. After 14 days of combined treatment with peppermint- and caraway oil, a reduced visceromotor response of up to 50% compared to placebo was detected in TNBS/ethanol pretreated animals. In contrast, neither peppermint- nor caraway oil had a significant effect on post-inflammatory visceral hyperalgesia. In saline-treated controls there was no significant difference in the visceromotor response.
These data show that combined treatment with peppermint- and caraway oil modulates post-inflammatory visceral hyperalgesia synergistically. The exact mechanisms have to be further investigated.

12. Pharmazie. 2005 Jul;60(7):498-502.
A novel colorimetric broth microdilution method to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of antibiotics and essential oils against Helicobacter pylori.
Weseler A, Geiss HK, Saller R, Reichling J. Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Department of Biology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.
Helicobacter pylori infections have been associated with the pathogenesis of a number of stomach and gastroduodenal diseases. In order to find alternative drugs for their treatment the search is increasingly focused on new antimicrobial products. However, no standardized methods are available to test the anti-Helicobacter pylori activity in particular of natural substances. Therefore we developed a broth microdilution assay to investigate the susceptibility of this fastidious slow growing bacterium against 15 essential oils widely used to treat disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. The MIC values were determined colorimetrically using p-iodonitrophenyltetrazolium violet (INT) as an indicator for bacterial cell viability. The test sytem was evaluated with three common antibiotics: amoxicillin, ampicillin and levofloxacin. The antibiotic MICs were controlled by Etest. The Helicobacter reference strain was remarkably susceptible to both the antibiotics (amoxicillin MIC: 0.02 microg/ml, ampicillin MIC: 0.064 microg/ml, levofloxacin MIC: 0.39 microg/ml) and the essential oils. Most of their MICs ranged from 0.015 to 0.064% (v/v) and about 140.0 to 280.0 microg/ml, respectively. Interestingly, chamomile oil, orange flower oil and ginger oil inhibited the bacterial growth in extraordinarily low concentrations of 0.0075% (v/v) and about 65 microg/ml, respectively. The bactericidal concentrations were generally one to two dilution steps higher. In conclusion, we could develop an innovative assay for the MIC determination of essential oils and antibiotics against Helicobacter pylori, which is simple to handle, accurate, reproducible and not as time- and material-consuming as traditional agar dilution techniques.

13. Arzneimittelforschung. 2004;54(7):389-95.
Comparison of the inhibition of myeloperoxidase-catalyzed hypochlorite formation in vitro and in whole blood by different plant extracts contained in a phytopharmacon treating functional dyspepsia.
Schempp H, Hippeli S, Weiser D, Kelber O, Elstner EF.
Institute of Phytopathology, Laboratory of Applied Biochemistry, Life and Food Science Center, Technical University of Munich, Germany.
Ethanolic extracts from nine medicinal plants are combined in Iberogast (IG). This phytomedicine is successfully used in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Functional gastrointestinal diseases such as non-ulcerous dyspepsia (NUD) are in many cases initiated by, or correlated to, inflammatory processes, where reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a crucial role. In this respect one prominent source of ROS are myeloperoxidase (MPO)-driven oxidation and chlorination reactions, assumed to be mainly responsible for tissue damage. In this study the contribution of the nine extracts to the overall performance of IG was compared with emphasis on MPO produced ROS. Concerning the influence on MPO-dependent chlorination reactions, it turned out that of the nine IG-components Iberis amara extract (IAE) exerted the highest activity. Furthermore, this can impressively be reproduced in an ex vivo experiment with whole blood, where neutrophilic leukocytes are activated by zymosan. Moreover, along with the extract of chamomile flowers, IAE counteracts the pro-oxidative properties of caraway, peppermint and celandine. As a consequence. IG was also efficiently inhibiting MPO-catalysed chlorinations. As shown by the addition of catalase, the pro-oxidative effects of caraway, peppermint and celandine are due to their content of hydrogen peroxide. The latter is probably an autoxidation product of certain monoterpenes in the essential oil part of these extracts. If one of the component extracts of IG is omitted, the antioxidant acitivity is reduced. Thus we conclude that all the single extracts combined in IG are of importance for the therapeutical effect, working in concert.

14. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2001 Oct;8(5):263-73.
[Dyspeptic pain and phytotherapy–a review of traditional and modern herbal drugs].

Saller R, Iten F, Reichling J.
Abteilung Naturheilkunde, Departement Innere Medizin, Universitätsspital Zürich, Schweiz.
Gastrointestinal complaints rank among the most frequently reasons why people asking for medical advice. About 15-30% of the adult patients suffer from different various functional dyspeptic conditions. The therapy of functional gastrointestinal disorders is one of the domains of phytotherapeutic treatments. From ancient times on, bitter herbal drugs played a very important role in the therapy of patients with dyspeptic symptoms. The mechanisms of action of the bitters are not completely understood. But there are indications that they sensorially stimulate at even very small concentrations sensorially the secretion of the stomach as well as the digestive glands and strengthen the smooth musculature of the digestive tract (via the gustatory system, N. vagus and the enteric nervous system). Across the enteral nervous system the strengthened digestive tract seems to stimulate the CNS, leading to a general tonification. At higher dosages bitters probably directly affect the mucous membranes of the stomach and the bowel. Bitters often are combined with essential oils (some volatile oils as aromatic bitters, drug combinations of a volatile oil with a bitter). Essential oils act primarily as spasmolytics, carminatives and local anesthetics. In the last years several controlled studies were carried out with phytotherapeutic combinations (e.g. with Iberis amara, caraway oil, peppermint oil, curcuma extract, ginger extract) in which the herbal drugs proved to be superior compared to placebo and were as effective as prokinetics (studies according to evidence-based medicine). The traditional phytotherapeutic approach is based upon the illness- as well as the patient-related investigations referring to the effectiveness of bitter, acrid- and essential-oil drugs. Such a treatment is supported by a rich amount of various of kinds of individual empirical experience (experience-based phytotherapy). Important traditional medical systems like the Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Ayurvedic Medicine as well as the European ‘Humoral Medicine’ consider different aspects of the sick human being, like the constitution of the patient (holistic approach), and take qualities of herbal drugs, vegetarian food, and spices into account for therapeutic purposes.
Copyright 2001 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg

15. Pharmazie. 1999 Mar;54(3):210-5.
[Peppermint oil-caraway oil fixed combination in non-ulcer dyspepsia–comparison of the effects of enteric preparations].
Freise J, Köhler S. Evangelisches Krankenhaus, Mühlheim/Ruhr, Germany.
223 patients with non-ulcer dyspepsia (dysmotility type dyspepsia or essential/idiopathic dyspepsia, also in combination with irritable bowel syndrome) were included in a prospective, randomised, reference- and double-blind controlled multicentre trial to compare two different preparations of a fixed combination of peppermint oil and caraway oil. The aim of the trial was to evaluate the equivalence of the efficacy and tolerability of these two preparations. The test formulation consisted of the drug combination in an enteric coated capsule containing 90 mg peppermint oil and 50 mg caraway oil, while an enteric soluble formulation containing 36 mg peppermint oil and 20 mg caraway oil was used as the reference. The main target item defined was the “difference in pain intensity between the beginning and the end of therapy”, measured by the patient on a visual analogue scale (0 = no pain, 10 = extremely strong pain). In 213 patients (n = 108 on the test preparation, n = 105 on the reference preparation) with mean pain intensity baseline measurements of 6.1 points in the test preparation group and 5.9 points in the reference group a statistically significant decline in pain intensity was observed in the two groups (-3.6 resP. -3.3 points; p < 0.001; two-sided one-sample t-test). Equivalent efficacy of both preparations was demonstrated (p < 0.001; one-sided t-test for equivalence). With respect to concomitant variables, the results in both groups were also similar. Regarding “pain frequency”, the efficacy of the test preparation was significantly better (p = 0.04; two-sided t-test for difference). Both preparations were well tolerated. Despite the higher dose, the adverse event “eructation with peppermint taste” was less frequent in the group treated with the test formulation, due to the enteric coated capsule preparation.

16. Am J Gastroenterol. 1998 Jul;93(7):1131-5.
Peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome: a critical review and metaanalysis.
Pittler MH, Ernst E. Department of Complementary Medicine, Postgraduate Medical School, University of Exeter, United Kingdom.
Peppermint oil is the major constituent of several over-the-counter remedies for symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). As the etiology of IBS is not known and treatment is symptomatic, there is a ready market for such products. However, evidence to support their use is sparse. The aim of this study was to review the clinical trials of extracts of peppermint (Mentha X piperita L.) as a symptomatic treatment for IBS.
Computerized literature searches were performed to identify all randomized controlled trials of peppermint oil for IBS. Databases included Medline, Embase, Biosis, CISCOM, and the Cochrane Library. There were no restrictions on the language of publication. Data were extracted in a standardized, predefined fashion, independently by both authors. Five double blind, randomized, controlled trials were entered into a metaanalysis.
Eight randomized, controlled trials were located. Collectively they indicate that peppermint oil could be efficacious for symptom relief in IBS. A metaanalysis of five placebo-controlled, double blind trials seems to support this notion. In view of the methodological flaws associated with most studies, no definitive judgment about efficacy can be given.
The role of peppermint oil in the symptomatic treatment of IBS has so far not been established beyond reasonable doubt. Well designed and carefully executed studies are needed to clarify the issue.

17.Gastroenterology. 1991 Jul;101(1):55-65.
The mechanism of action of peppermint oil on gastrointestinal smooth muscle. An analysis using patch clamp electrophysiology and isolated tissue pharmacology in rabbit and guinea pig.
Hills JM, Aaronson PI. Smith Kline Beecham Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Welwyn, Herts, England.
An investigation of the mechanism of peppermint oil action was performed using isolated pharmacological preparations from guinea pig large intestine and patch clamp electrophysiology techniques on rabbit jejunum. Peppermint oil relaxed carbachol-contracted guinea pig taenia coli (IC50, 22.1 micrograms/mL) and inhibited spontaneous activity in the guinea pig colon (IC50, 25.9 micrograms/mL) and rabbit jejunum (IC50, 15.2 micrograms/mL). Peppermint oil markedly attenuated contractile responses in the guinea pig taenia coli to acetylcholine, histamine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, and substance P. Peppermint oil reduced contractions evoked by potassium depolarization and calcium contractions evoked in depolarizing Krebs solutions in taenia coli. Potential-dependent calcium currents recorded using the whole cell clamp configuration in rabbit jejunum smooth muscle cells were inhibited by peppermint oil in a concentration-dependent manner. Peppermint oil both reduced peak current amplitude and increased the rate of current decay. The effect of peppermint oil resembled that of the dihydropyridine calcium antagonists. It is concluded that peppermint oil relaxes gastrointestinal smooth muscle by reducing calcium influx.

PMID: 1646142 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


Digest Zen a doTERRA essential oils blend containing some of those spices.

James Geiger MD

the oilMD

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