Peppermint (mentha piperita), is a very versatile plant which is native to Mediterranean countries and can now be found all over the world and in most domestic gardens. It is a natural cross between water mint and spearmint and has been used as a natural remedy for a variety of conditions for thousands of years.
Peppermint is available in a variety of forms to support healthy digestion; it can be ingested as a tea from dry or fresh leaves, or as an oil encased in enteric coated capsules made to specifically target the small intestine. Peppermint has been linked to eliminating digestive discomfort as well as helping to maintain normal intestinal transit in persons with sensitive bowels.
Digestion is an important natural process that allows our bodies to break down the food we eat into smaller substances that the body can use. The lower end of the digestive system or gastrointestinal tract (also known as the gut) is responsible for processing food into essential nutrients such carbohydrates, vitamins, fats and amino acids for cell repair, energy and growth. Busy modern lifestyles often result in stress, irregular sleeping patterns and bad eating habits, such as eating an abundance of oily and spicy foods, plus those rich in dairy, which can take a toll on our general health and contribute to the increase of digestive problems. Most of the time the digestive system works incredibly well and tirelessly to maintain the body’s equilibrium and needs.
A digestive problem is a change or abnormality in the functioning of the natural digestion process. Common factors, such as stress, can slow down digestion and cause a range of gastrointestinal problems including loss of appetite, bloating, cramping, trapped wind and inflammation. People who suffer from digestive problems will know that any meal choice could induce painful symptoms and potential embarrassment. Sometimes these symptoms can settle on their own and are often harmless; at other times they will linger causing further discomfort.
Around 4 in 10 people in the UK have at least one symptom of a digestive problem at any given time. The most common digestive problems include:
Heartburn and acid reflux – can feel like a burning sensation in the chest. This is caused by stomach acid travelling up to the throat.
Indigestion – a feeling of being full, nauseated and an uncomfortable burning sensation.
Bloating – when your tummy is full, stretched, feeling inflated and uncomfortable. Often after a large meal or drinking carbonated drinks.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – affects the large intestine. It causes symptoms like constipation stomach cramps, bloating and diarrhoea
Small steps and changes in lifestyle and eating habits can often help ease or even prevent many digestive problems. Try making the below changes for better digestion
Eat Slower, Chew for longer
Eating meals quickly causes you to swallow more air which can get trapped and build up pockets of air in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Chewing doesn’t just break down food, it also sends signals to your salivary glands, stomach and small intestine to start releasing digestive enzymes
Taking a walk outside for 20 – 30 minutes a few times a week could reduce stress. Creating some distance mentally and physically from stress causing factors can have a positive effect. Yoga and other forms of exercise can help too.
Alcohol increases the amount of acid that the stomach produces. The stomach can become a little more sensitive and tender with more acid being produced creating a higher risk of acid reflux and indigestion.
To avoid heartburn and promote healthy digestion, gastro resistant/ enteric coated peppermint oil capsules taken 3 times a day before meals are recommended to ensure that the peppermint passes through the stomach intact and finally gets released in the small intestine where digestion occurs, and it is needed the most.
This feature was brought to you by Greenliving Pharma
 NHS UK, Common digestive problems – and how to treat them, viewed 10 December 2019, https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/common-digestive-problems-and-how-to-treat-them/