Peppermint Oil for IBS: Worth Considering?

Published on: 05/28/2023

There are several alternative treatments that promise to help improve IBS symptoms and gut health. I see numerous patients who have spent a LOT of money on various supplements and herbal remedies. But, are peppermint oil capsules worth your hard-earned cash?

Peppermint is probably one of the most well-known herbs thought to help soothe the gut. However, are these claims true? 

Peppermint contains L-menthol which helps relax smooth muscle in the gut providing a natural antispasmodic effect. A reduction in muscle contractions/ spasms is thought to lead to a reduction in pain and overall IBS symptoms and their severity (1,2,3). 

Peppermint oil capsules

The effect of peppermint oil capsules on IBS symptoms has been examine in a few studies including randomised control trials and meta-analyses. 

Are IBS symptoms improved by peppermint oil capsules? 

Yes, studies have shown taking peppermint oil capsules; such as Mintec and Colpermin, helps improve abdominal pain and overall gut symptoms (1,2,4). 

How should peppermint oil capsules be taken?

One enteric coated peppermint oil capsule should be taken three times daily, 15-30 minutes before meals.

Side effects

As muscles in the gut relax, this can cause the muscles which keep the opening of the stomach (the gastro-oesophageal junction) closed, to open as a result. This can lead to acid reflux and heartburn. Reflux, dyspepsia and wind were common side effects experienced by participants in studies (1,2,4).  

So if acid reflux is already an issue for you, your symptoms may worsen upon taking peppermint oil. 


Not suitable for those with peanut/soy allergies.

In Summary

Peppermint oil tablets are overall safe and effective to use as an IBS treatment in the short term. All studies were carried over a period of a maximum of 12 weeks, therefore more studies are needed to assess their safety to use in the long-term (1,2).  

Due to this it would be recommended to use in the short term perhaps whilst symptoms are particularly bad, but should not be taken for longer than 2-3 months.

Do seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist should you decide to start taking this supplement.

Peppermint tea

Unfortunately, there have been no good studies looking at the effects of peppermint tea in IBS. Clients with IBS usually report that they find having peppermint tea helpful and it helps ease their symptoms. So if you do enjoy peppermint tea and find it helps reduce your symptoms then continue taking it. Be mindful that like peppermint oil capsules, this could also cause reflux.

Peppermint tea is low FODMAP therefore can be used whilst undertaking the low FODMAP diet. 


  1. Khanna, R, MacDonald, J.K, Levesque, B.G. (2014). Peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Gastroenterol, 48(6):505-12 
  2. Alammar et al., (2019). The impact of peppermint oil on the irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis of the pooled clinical data. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 19:21
  3. Shams, R, Oldfield, E.C, Copare, J, Johnson, D,A (2015). Peppermint Oil: Clinical Uses in the Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disease. JSM Gastroenterol Hepatol, 3(1): 1035
  4. Ingrosso M., et al. (2022). Systematic Review and meta-analysis: efficacy of peppermint oil in irritable bowel syndrome. Aliment Pharmacol Ther, 56: 932-941.


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Daniela is a dietitian passionate in helping those with gut issues. 

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