The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Peppermint oil as an antispasmodic in the small intestine

    This is a bit technical, but I think it’s important because it documents the ability of peppermint to act as an antispasmodic agent in the small intestine.

    Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a procedure where an endoscope is used to examine the gallbladder and close-by tissues. It’s important to inhibit intestinal motility during the procedure, and hyoscine-N-butylbromide (Buscopan) or glucagon is usually used.

    A study published in the September issue of the Journal of Gastrointestinal Hepatology suggests that peppermint oil might also be used to inhibit intestinal motility during ERCP.

    In 40 patients, peppermint oil administered through the endoscope calmed the small intestine. Movement was none or mild in 69% of patients, and the ERCP was performed successfully with peppermint alone in 91% of patients.

    The researchers noted that the inhibitory effect of peppermint appeared to be identical to that of glucagon and “is useful as an antispasmodic agent for ERCP.”

    Postscript. Administration of peppermint oil via an endoscope (intraluminal) has been a safe and useful antispasmodic for gastroscopy, colonoscopy, and double-contrast barium enema. In one study, taking peppermint oil by mouth was successful for double-contrast barium meal examination without other antispasmodics.

    Photo: Healin’ Hollers

    8/30/06 21:54 JR

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