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  • Topic: Mentha, Peppermint, Irritable bowel syndrome
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  • Published : August 26, 2011
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Peppermint was first described in 1753 by Carolus Linnaeus from specimens that had been collected in England; he treated it as a species,5 but it is now universally agreed to be a hybrid. It is a herbaceous rhizomatous perennial plant growing to 30–90 cm (12–35 in) tall, with smooth stems, square in cross section. The rhizomes are wide-spreading, fleshy, and bare fibrous roots. The leaves are from 4–9 cm (1.6–3.5 in) long and 1.5–4 cm (0.59–1.6 in) cm broad, dark green with reddish veins, and with an acute apex and coarsely toothed margins. The leaves and stems are usually slightly hairy. The flowers are purple, 6–8 mm (0.24–0.31 in) long, with a four-lobed corolla about 5 mm (0.20 in) diameter; they are produced in whorls around the stem, forming thick, blunt spikes. Flowering is from mid to late summer. The chromosome number is variable, with 2n counts of 66, 72, 84, and 120 recorded. Peppermint has a long tradition of medicinal use, with archaeological evidence placing its use at least as far back as ten thousand years ago.

Peppermint has a high menthol content, and is often used as tea and for flavoring ice cream, confectionery, chewing gum, and toothpaste. Peppermint (Mentha × piperita, also known as M. balsamea Willd, is a hybrid mint, a cross between the watermint (Mentha aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha spicata) .The plant, indigenous to Europe, is now widespread in cultivation throughout all regions of the world. It is found wild occasionally with its parent species.Peppermint can also be found in some shampoos and soaps, which give the hair a minty scent and produce a cooling sensation on the skin. A number of studies have shown that enteric-coated peppermint capsules can help treat symptoms of IBS, such as pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. (Enteric-coated capsules keep peppermint oil from being released in the stomach, which can cause heartburn and indigestion.) However, a few studies have shown no effect. One study examined 57 people with...
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