We 'Huggers with our aspiring clean, fiber-rich diets probably aren't as likely to experience the daily (yikes!) Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) that some millions of Americans do, according to The New York Times.
But who hasn't had the occasional aggravation from one too many cups of coffee, or that seemingly healthy dish you ordered out that left you feeling abdominal pain, bloated and bathroom-bound. So much for that sexy date night. I've been there and I can't say that it was fun. What's a greenie to do other than endure the discomfort and/or embarrassment -- or haul-ass (literally) to the Rx counter? Add peppermint to our herb gardens! Then make a tincture or tea.
I can thank mom -- and now science -- for turning the spotlight on the minty-fresh green as a legitimate alternative home remedy. Mom always kept organic peppermint tea bags stocked in the pantry for post-dinner digestion and menstrual cramps relief. We both viscerally agree: it's always worked for us.
The NYT recently blogged about scientific studies outlining the efficiency of peppermint's oil in combating IBS symptoms, deeming it a "remedy." They reference,
In a report financed by the American College of Gastroenterology and published in the journal BMJ in 2008, scientists conducted an analysis of previous studies comparing peppermint oil with placebo in about 400 patients. Ultimately, they found that only 26 percent of patients treated with peppermint oil -- typically administered twice daily in capsule form, for a period of one to three months -- continued to show symptoms of I.B.S. after treatment, compared with 65 percent of those who were given placebo.
Now that Western medicine is beginning to confirm what complementary medicine has stated all along about peppermint's ability to palliate stomach discomfort, the real question is: does it work for you?
Someone dealing with IBS may now have a wonderful new, natural home remedy to consider (fresh out of the herb garden -- no packaging waste, wahoo!). But it's important to remember these complimentary treatments are just that: complimentary. If they work for us, we can use them in tandem with our ever-evolving lifestyle shifts we make in the way of regular exercise, diet, etc. to feel like a healthier, stronger (OK, and less gassy) being. ;)
Oh, and just in case there are any reckless peppermint-lovers out there: Whenever trying out something new, it's best to research and talk to your doctor.