A recent study suggests that a spoonful of mint can be a solution for indigestion or chest pains caused by a heavy meal.
A team of researchers from Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Digestive Diseases & Sciences found that eating a spoonful of peppermint can ease the process of swallowing food after a heavy meal in patients facing health issues associated with the esophagus. Lead author and research fellow of esophageal disorders at the MUSC Health Digestive Disease Center, Dr. Mohamed Khalaf explains that peppermint oil is already established as an agent in treating irritable bowel syndrome.
Dr. Khalaf continues, "In this study, patients who had experienced difficulty swallowing took two pieces of a commercially available peppermint right before meals. Those with chest pain took the peppermint tablets as needed."
The researchers examined the effect of peppermint on patients with esophageal disorders and the findings showed that peppermint has the ability to relax the smooth muscle in the lower esophagus, which in turn eases non-cardiac chest pains. Patients who had consumed peppermint oil tablets before a meal experienced positive symptoms compared to those who did not. Moreover, 73% of the patients with chest pain and difficulty swallowing reported that they felt better after swallowing the peppermint tablets. "Given the safety profile, low cost, and widespread availability, there are no risks from empirical use of peppermint oil," Dr. Khalaf says.
The authors, however, advise patients to consult a healthcare professional in order to determine whether the chest pain is non-cardiac beforehand. It is also worth noting that the exact dosage of peppermint administered to participants is unknown as the dose was in the form of candy sold commercially. Another drawback was that symptoms were self-reported by patients. The authors acknowledge that more research is required to strengthen their findings.
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