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Peppermint Tea Helps Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Unproven for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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Q. My daughter has severe ulcerated colitis and her doctor suggested she take Humira. She's afraid of the long-term side effects.

She read an article about the pros of peppermint tea for her condition and now is drinking it twice a day. She has gone into remission and has stopped bleeding for two weeks.

A. Ulcerative colitis is a very serious condition that requires careful medical supervision. We could find no research supporting the use of peppermint for colitis.

Peppermint oil has, however, been studied for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A recent meta-analysis concluded, "Peppermint oil is a safe and effective short-term treatment for IBS" (Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, online, Oct. 4, 2013).

We have written previously about the value of enteric-coated peppermint oil for IBS. Bob suggested in response: 

"I had IBS for over 20 years. It ended when I retired. This suggests that chronic stress was the major cause. However acute stress like loss of my job, and my wife having major surgery did not correlate with my IBS symptoms. My main symptom was debilitating abdominal pain that would last for hours.

"Some things that could initiate or aggravate my symptoms include:
* Eating or drinking cold things (sherbet, ice cream, ice water, etc.
* Eating large meals.
* Stimulants (caffeine or pseudoephedrine).

"Some things that helped are:
* Amitriptyline
* Citrucel (regular kind, the sugar-free kind made me sick)
* Heat applied to abdomen
* Self hypnosis (time consuming and not easy to do)
* Peppermint capsules
* Peppermint tea
* Hyocyamine (brand name Levsin)
* Drinking hot liquid that contained no stimulant and almost zero calories, i.e., chicken broth"


There is more information on home remedies for IBS, including peppermint, in our book, The People's Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

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For UC, the most helpful things I have found are taking L-Glutamine powder (at least 9 gms/day total, take half 2x/day at 30 min before a meal) and adding more sweet potatoes and whole grain brown rice to the diet. I also do best when I avoid ALL of the following items:

dairy, wheat, cold drinks, fruit juice, processed foods, refined flour, pastry, pasta, breads, cold raw foods, refined sugar and sugar substitutes, coffee, alcohol, deep fried foods, peanuts and peanut butter, bananas, avocado

A visit to a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor taught me many important factors that the "specialists" never told me--they only recommended removing my entire colon because it was "too far gone" nearly 15 years ago. So glad I didn't take their advice because it works just fine, thank you.

I have been to 4 Gastro doctors and none can seem to help me. I have slow motility in my intestines, took 6 1/2 hrs for the barium to reach my colon when I had an Upper GI. I have taken Regland, AmItiza,Murilax,Kristalose and nothing works. When I get really constipated I end up getting sick to my stomach. Now I can't eat garlic, spegatti sauce, barbecue sauce and some veggies like cucumbers and peppers. Get horrible indigestion and sometime vomit. The docs think it is all connected but no one has come up with a fix.
Does anyone have any suggestions? This has been going on for a long time.

This article may be of interest- I would hope your problems are not this serious, but the info may help
http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/11/some_people_wont_eat_a_bit_of.html

I have had UC for approx. 30 years. I am allergic to almost all the meds. I started the Atkins diet and with in 7 days the UC was gone. It's been gone for almost 2 years. Getting the sugar and high carbs out of my diet was the best thing I have done. It worked for me it just might work for you.

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