Peppermint or mentha piperta is a common herb that is grown in Europe and north America. The oil of pepermint has been used for various purposes since time imemoriable, to treat headache, common cold, neuralgia etc.
Pepper mint is used in making oral dentifrices as it can provide over all freshness in breath and also keep away bad breath.
More studies are being done as to whether or not it directly contributes to preventing caries and plaque, however it is confirmed that it does create an un-favorable environment for bacteria.
Peppermint is used for treatment of non-obstructive dyspepsia without any known side effects. It improves the gastric emptying rate. There is a significant antiemetic effect of peppermint in reducing postoperative nausea for patients with very sensitive gag reflexes.
Some studies have suggested that peppermint is a central nervous system stimulant. Studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of aromas on cognitive performance, perceived physical workload, and pain responses were conducted based on possible changes in the brain activity.
Certain researches have proved that there was a statistically significant increase in the secreation of endocrine hormones. In one study there was a noted segmental maturation arrest in the seminiferous tubules however, the effects of M.spicata extended from maturation arrest to diffuse germ cell aplasia in relation to the dose. Other than this there are not many significantly known effects on the human endocrine system.
EFFECT ON SKIN AND MUCOUS MEMBRANE :
Peppermint is said to be a good analgesic to be applied topically and also a coolant for the skin. Peppermint oil stimulates cold receptors on the skin and dilates blood vessels, causing a sensation of coldness and an analgesic effect .
Menthol is a topical vasodilator that enhances the absorption of other topical skin medications. It is said that menthol enhances the absorption of cortisone, mannitol, indomethacin, morphine hydrochloride, and propranolol .
Menthol moderates oral sensations of warmth and coldness In low concentrations, topical application of menthol causes a cooling sensation, while in high concentrations it causes irritation and local anesthesia.
It also increases cutaneous blood flow, muscle temperature, and skin temperature after topical application of the oil. Some studies have claimed that menthol has reduced histamine induced irritation and itching.
IMMUNE MODULATION :
Menthol has anti-inflammatory effects when applied topically. In one study it was claimed that it could suppress antigen induced allergies. Menthol also has a property of inhibiting cutaneous anaphylaxis that’s mediated by IgE antibody.
Menthol is virucidal against Influenza, Herpes and other viruses in vitro. Aqueous extracts of peppermint . Peppermint oil and menthol have mild antibacterial effects against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria .
Peppermint extracts are bacteriostatic against Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus.
Menthol is bactericidal against strains like Staphylococcus pyogenes, Menthol and peppermint oil are fungicidal against Candida albicans, Aspergillus albus and dermatophytic fungi.