Peppermint oil in irritable bowel syndrome: Systematic evaluation of 1634 cases with meta-analysis

Nirmal S Mann, Karan S. Sandhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: Peppermint oil (MO) has been used in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) but the reports about its efficacy are conflicting. IBS occurs in 9-25% of adult population. IBS is associated with intestinal dysmotility and visceral hypersensitivity. We reviewed the information on 1634 cases of IBS and performed qualitative meta-analysis (QMA) regarding the use of MO in IBS. Methods: PubMed information about MO in IBS was obtained without any time or language barrier. More articles were added to the list from review of the references and citations on key papers. For QMA summary sheets of articles were prepared. QMA was performed using the well-established methods of Qualitative Research e.g. Diagramming, Theme repetition Without Serious Contradiction, Theme Saturation and Investigator Reflexivity. Quantitative data can be used to perform QMA. Results: The PubMed search yielded 1634 cases of IBS where MO was tried. MO is a smooth muscle relaxant which acts by blocking calcium channels. MO can be given orally in capsules in a dose of 0.1 ml to 0.24 ml three times daily. In 1634 cases information about gender was available in 46.3% of the cases; out of these, 56.3% were women. Information about age was available in 19.6% of the cases. The mean age was 34.4 (range 8-70) years. MO relieved abdominal pain in 79% and abdominal distention in 83%. It reduced bowel frequency and flatulence in 73% cases. Adverse events were seen in 20% (range 2.8-36). The main side effects were heartburn, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting perianal burning and renal stones. Conclusions: MO seems to relieve the symptoms of IBS in a majority of patients with few side effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-6
Number of pages2
JournalInternational Medical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Efficacy
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Meta-analysis
  • Peppermint oil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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