If you’re like me, you’ve suffered from stomach bloating, excess wind and flatulence for as long as you can remember. The symptoms are unpleasant: you feel sluggish, uncomfortable and unattractive, and it happens seemingly at random. One minute you feel great, the next minute you feel completely full of wind, with your stomach bloated to two or three times its normal size.
There are many plausible causes for it and any number of recommended bloating remedies too.
What if told you about one such remedy? A natural essential oil, totally harmless, with no side-effects. What if I said that this remedy has been used medicinally for centuries across the world and is readily and cheaply available?
What if I also said that this bloating remedy would likely wave goodbye to your flatulence, markedly ease your uncomfortable bloating, without any of the side-effects associated with antacids (such as acid reflux or increased risk of kidney stones)?
This wonder remedy is peppermint oil.
What is peppermint oil?
Peppermint oil is simply the fragrant oil from the peppermint plant. It is used widely in all kinds of everyday products such as chewing gum and toothpaste. This wonderful natural remedy naturally tones the stomach, liver and intestines. It is also used to successfully treat ulcers, nausea, headaches, the symptoms of asthma, cystitis. It even has significant anti-viral properties too, used in the treatment of herpes.
How does it hep with bloating?
Bloating can be caused by a whole range of reasons. There are 2 main causes of bloating for which peppermint oil has a significant effect:
1. IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), believed to be caused by spasms in the colon and lower intestines. Peppermint oil has an ‘antispasmodic’ action which relieves and calms these spasms. This not only relieves bloating but also other common symptoms of IBS such as flatulence, stomach pains and diarrhea.
2. Undigested food which reaches the lower intestine and stays there. This can occur for all sorts of reasons: poor diet, eating too quickly or drinking too much fluid while eating, for example. The undigested food then ferments, producing excess gas which results in wind and bloating.
Peppermint oil naturally contains thymol and eugenol, both of which balance intestinal flora (the ‘good’ bacteria which is an important factor in healthy digestion) and reduce the fermentation of undigested food.
How do I take peppermint oil?
It is important to take the ‘essential oil’, as it is believed to be 70 times more potent than just the plant itself.
For the purposes of reducing bloating, you have 2 options: buy the oil in capsules which you swallow, or drink it as peppermint tea.
1. Peppermint tea simply comes as tea bags, made in much the same way as you would make a normal cup of tea (but without the milk). I find it best to drink peppermint tea after meals for best effect.
2. Peppermint oil capsules can be bought from health-food stores, in pharmacies and also can be prescribed by your doctor. They come in 2 basic varieties: either soft gelatine coated or enteric coated. My advice would be to try to find the enteric-coated variety if you can. Enteric coating isn’t digested easily so the capsules only start to be broken down by your body once they’ve reached the lower intestine, where they’re needed. The gelatine-coated capsules tend to break up in your stomach, which I find doesn’t work as well and causes an unpleasant after taste.
Just take a couple of capsules after eating or when feeling discomfort, with a glass of water.
Abdominal bloating can be caused by a variety of reasons, and it’s important to locate the actual cause so as to avoid it in the first place. However, if you feel bloated and are in need of a remedy, I can heartily recommend giving peppermint oil a try.