Peppermint helps people with non-cardiac chest pain; difficulty swallowing

Updated:3 weeks, 3 days ago IST

New Delhi, Apr 28 (ANI): Peppermint could help treat difficulty in swallowing food and non-cardiac chest pain, as per a study. "Peppermint oil is an established agent in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. We tried to examine its effect on patients with swallowing and chest pain issues with no apparent cause," said Mohamed Khalaf, first author of the study. The research was published in Digestive Diseases & Sciences. Of the 38 patients enrolled in the pilot study, overall 63 per cent reported improvement of the symptoms. Patients were recruited from the Oesophageal Disorders Clinic. "Our findings suggest that peppermint may help prevent these symptoms by relaxing the smooth muscle in the lower oesophagus," said Donald O. Castell, senior author of the study. Peppermint oil has been known to have therapeutic effects in multiple disorders due to its muscle-relaxing properties. However, only two previous studies have investigated its role in the upper digestive tract. The study found that patients who took peppermint oil tablets before eating felt better after meals than those who did not. Those with both non-cardiac chest pain and unobstructed difficulty swallowing saw the most benefits: 73 per cent of them reported feeling better. Of patients with just one of the symptoms, those with non-cardiac chest pain had a more positive response from the peppermint oil (63 per cent) than those with difficulty swallowing (53 per cent). Peppermint offers an attractive first line of defence for these patients, who experience intermittent symptoms because they can take it freely as symptoms occur. The study highlights the effects of the so-called Charleston Approach, which advocates a "start low and go slow" treatment strategy. The Charleston Approach differs from the current standard of care in that it uses peppermint oil as a first attempt to relieve symptoms. In the meantime, however, patients who have been diagnosed as having spastic disorders of the oesophagus and who have no heart disease or obstruction can try using peppermint to see if it relieves their symptoms.

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