Peppermint relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia, have carried out a study showing how peppermint helps relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which affects up to 20% of the Australian population. The researchers from the University’s Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory have shown how peppermint reduces pain-sensing fibres, particularly those activated by chilli and mustard. Peppermint has been commonly prescribed for pain by naturopaths for years, and now it has been shown that peppermint acts through specific anti-pain channel called TRPM8.

IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder which causes abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation, and it appears to be linked to having had a former bout of gastroenteritis which leaves nerve pain fibres in a heightened state, changing the way the gut works, and causing pain. Women are twice as likely to be affected by IBS, and the recent floods in Queensland and Victoria may result in an increase in cases because of contaminated water supplies. Case studies in Europe and Canada have shown that people who got gastroenteritis from contaminated water supplies went on to experience IBS symptoms for as long as eight years afterwards.

There is no cure for IBS, and it can be brought on by gastroenteritis, food intolerance, food poisoning, stress, reaction to antibiotics and it can be genetic. The results of this study could potentially go towards determining a new type of treatment for IBS.

Source: University of Adelaide


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