Is peppermint tea good for constipation?

Yes, there is moderate evidence that peppermint may be helpful for constipation. It may be especially beneficial for functional constipation, that is constipation caused due to unexplained reasons, or due to a combination of neurological, psychological, and psychosomatic reasons. 1 2

Peppermint is also useful in reducing stress, relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, has a positive impact on mood.

What is constipation?

Constipation is the infrequent passing of stool. One can be said to be suffering from constipation if the passing of stool is less than three times a week. It is estimated that around 1% of the population suffers from constipation. 3

What are the common causes of constipation?

There are innumerable causes of constipation thus no treatment would work for all, frequent causes are: 4

  • Slow bowel movement
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Low fiber diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Medications (anticholinergics, antispasmodics, diuretics, narcotics)
  • Gastrointestinal problems like inflammation, tumor and so on.
  • Functional GI disorders

How does peppermint tea help relieve constipation?

There are several ways by which peppermint tea may have a beneficial effect on constipation.

  • It improves the overall physical and emotional health due to antioxidants, vitamins, micronutrients, carotenoids, polyphenolic compounds, which are useful in many disease conditions. 5
  • Volatile oils in peppermint stimulate the functioning of the gallbladder, improve digestion, relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Peppermint tea has a general detoxifying effect and is suitable for liver health.
  • Peppermint has been demonstrated to reduce spasm, relax smooth muscles, and thus improve various digestive functions. 6 7
  • Not to mention that frequent intake of peppermint tea helps in the passage of food, and it helps a person to keep hydrated.

Other benefits of regularly consuming peppermint tea are:

  • Carminative action 8
  • Antispasmodic- relieves spasm 9 10
  • Alleviate problems like bloating, stomach gas and flatulence 11
  • Headaches and even helps in migraine1
  • Reduces stress and improves mood 12
  • Fights Sinus Problems
  • Soothes stomach upsets 13
  • Improve brain function and concentration
  • Soothe menstrual cramps due to relaxation of smooth muscles
  • Antibacterial, and antiseptic properties 14
  • Relieves pain
  • Ease colic in young ones
  • Reduce bad breath – due to aromatic oils
  • Boosts immune system
  • Helps in travel sickness

How to prepare peppermint tea?

There are various ways to prepare peppermint tea, of course, the easiest of the methods is using the peppermint tea bags. However, tea made from fresh leaves may have additional benefits.

For making tea from fresh leaves, pluck 7-8 leaves (for a glass of tea), crush them a bit before adding to a cup, pour boiling water, and then add honey or lemon, and enjoy your drink.

What is the best time to consume peppermint tea?

Peppermint tea can be consumed any time of the day, depending on the reasons and mood. However, if you are taking it for digestive issues, then it is best consumed half an hour before the food. Drinking it before going to bed may help to improve the quality of sleep.

What is the recommended dosage of peppermint tea?

Peppermint is well tolerated and usually one or two cups a day would be enough for health benefits. It is also a good idea to take a one week break in a month.

What are the side effects of consuming peppermint tea?

Peppermint is a highly beneficial herb if used in moderation. However, there could be few harms if it is consumed in excess.

  • Peppermint tea may decrease the absorption of dietary iron;
  • it may interact with certain medications;
  • it is also known to reduce testosterone if consumed in very high quantities. 15

Who cannot take peppermint tea?

There are a specific group of people who should not consume much of peppermint tea;

  • it is not shown to be safe in pregnancy, though it is neither contraindicated.
  • It should not be given to very young children.
  • It must also be avoided in severe cardiac condition, ulcers, and problems of heartburn.

  1. Malone M, Tsai G. The evidence for herbal and botanical remedies, Part 1. J Fam Pract. 2018;67(1):10-16. Accessed April 2, 2018.

  2. Somi MH, Bagheri M, Ghojazadeh M. Efficacy of an Iranian herbal preparation (Lax-Asab) in treating functional constipation: A randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Tradit Complement Med. 2015;5(3):153-156. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2014.07.001

  3. Hinton JM, Lennard-Jones JE. Constipation: definition and classification. Postgrad Med J. 1968;44(515):720-723.

  4. Symptoms & Causes of Constipation National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Accessed March 29, 2018.

  5. Piljac-Žegarac J, Šamec D, Piljac A. Chapter 11 – Herbal Teas: A Focus on Antioxidant Properties. In: Preedy VR, ed. Tea in Health and Disease Prevention. [Academic Press;] 2013:129-140. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-384937-3.00011-2

  6. Abuirmeileh A, Abdulrahman A. Peppermint Aqueous Extract Counteracts Smooth Muscle Contraction in Rat Ileum. Jordan J Pharm Sci. 2014;7(1):88-96.

  7. Yarnell E, Abascal K. Spasmolytic Botanicals: Relaxing Smooth Muscle with Herbs. Altern Complement Ther. 2011;17(3):169-174. doi:10.1089/act.2011.17305

  8. Harries N, C. James K, K. Pugh W. Antifoaming and carminative actions of volatile oils. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2008;2:171-177. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2710.1977.tb00087.x

  9. Yarnell E, Abascal K. Spasmolytic Botanicals: Relaxing Smooth Muscle with Herbs. Altern Complement Ther. 2011;17(3):169-174. doi:10.1089/act.2011.17305

  10. Hills JM, Aaronson PI. The mechanism of action of peppermint oil on gastrointestinal smooth muscle. An analysis using patch clamp electrophysiology and isolated tissue pharmacology in rabbit and guinea pig. Gastroenterology. 1991;101(1):55-65.

  11. Harries N, C. James K, K. Pugh W. Antifoaming and carminative actions of volatile oils. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2008;2:171-177. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2710.1977.tb00087.x

  12. Clarke S. Chapter 7 – Composition of essential oils and other materials. In: Essential Chemistry for Aromatherapy (Second Edition). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 2008:123-229. doi:10.1016/B978-0-443-10403-9.00007-8

  13. Abuirmeileh A, Abdulrahman A. Peppermint Aqueous Extract Counteracts Smooth Muscle Contraction in Rat Ileum. Jordan J Pharm Sci. 2014;7(1):88-96.

  14. McKay DL, Blumberg JB. A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.). Phytother Res PTR. 2006;20(8):619-633. doi:10.1002/ptr.1936

  15. Akdogan M, Ozguner M, Kocak A, Oncu M, Cicek E. Effects of peppermint teas on plasma testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone levels and testicular tissue in rats. Urology. 2004;64(2):394-398. doi:10.1016/j.urology.2004.03.046

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