Peppermint oil, ethanol extracts and flavonoids isolated from the leaf have all been shown to have antispasmodic (spasmolytic) effects in vitro (ESCOP 1997) with the effect mediated via smooth muscle calcium channels (Hills & Aaronson 1991).

In healthy volunteers, intragastric administration of a dose equivalent to 180 mg peppermint oil reduced intraoesophageal pressure within 1-7 minutes of infusion (Kingham 1995), while in nine human studies involving 269 subjects peppermint oil produced substantial spasmolytic effects on the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract when used topically (intraluminal) or orally in doses of 0.1-0.24 ml_ (Grigoleit & Grigoleit 2005b). Enteroplant, an enteric-coated capsule containing 90 mg peppermint and 50 mg caraway oil, has also been shown to act locally in the stomach and duodenum to produce smooth muscle relaxation (Micklefield et al

2003). Peppermint oil has also been shown to have similar anti-spasmodic activity on the colon to the Chinese herbal medicine Shakuyaku-kanzo-to (TJ-68), as observed by direct observation during colonoscopy (Ai et al 2005).

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