Peppermint Safety Info

Posted on December 23, 2013 0

Peppermint

 NAHA Safety Note for Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) Essential Oil

- Avoid use on children under 30 months of age. The nasal mucosa is an autonomic reflexogen organ, which has a distance action to the heart, lungs and circulation and may lead to sudden apnoea and glottal constriction.

- Direct application of peppermint oil to the nasal area or chest to infants should be avoided because of the risk of apnea, laryngeal and bronchial spasms, acute respiratory distress with cyanosis and respiratory arrest. (The Longwood Herbal Task Force)

- Do not apply undiluted peppermint essential oils to the feet, particularly on infants and children under the age of 12.

- Inhalation of larges doses of menthol may lead to dizziness, confusion, muscle weakness, nausea and double vision. (Natural Standard Research Collaboration, Peppermint oil. Evidence based monograph 2005; Medlineplus)

The information below has been taken from the European Medicines Agency: ASSESSMENT REPORT ON MENTHA X PIPERITA L., AETHEROLEUM

- When used orally, it may cause heartburn, perianal burning, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting. Heartburn is related with the release of the oil in the upper GI tract, which relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter, facilitating the reflux. The same occurs in the cases of hiatal hernia. This particular undesirable effect is minimized by an appropriate pharmaceutical formulation.  **Peppermint essential oil should always be in an enteric-coated tablet or capsule for internal use although even with enteric-coated capsules, anal burning, rashes, headache, muscle tremors, diarrhea, and ataxia have been reported. (AHPA Botanical Safety Handbook)

- People with gallbladder disease, severe liver damage, gallstones and chronic heartburn should avoid the intake of peppermint oil.

- Menthol and peppermint oil caused burning mouth syndrome, recurrent oral ulceration or a lichenoid reaction, by contact sensitivity in the intra-oral mucosa, in sensitive patients.

- When applied on the skin, it may cause allergic reactions, as skin rashes, contact dermatitis and eye irritation.

- Use in infants or children is not recommended, when inhaled, taken by mouth or if applied on open skin areas, on the face or chest, due to the potential toxicity of the product.

- Peppermint oil should be used with caution. Doses of menthol over 1 g/Kg b.w. may be deadly.

Potential Drug Interactions

- Peppermint leaf essential oil has been shown to slow intestinal transit, which may slow the absorption rate or increase the total absorption of coadministered drugs. (Goerg, K.J. and Spilker)

- Peppermint essential oil in large doses internally may inhibit the drug-metabilizing isoenzyme CYP3A4, leading to increased plasma levels of drugs metabolized by that isoenzyme.

- Coadministration of peppermint leaf essential oil (600mg) and felodipine (a calcium antagonist drug used to control hypertension) moderately increased the plasma concentration of felodipine, possibly through inhibition of the drug-metabilizing isoenzyme CYP3A4. (AHPA Botanical Safety Handbook)

- Peppermint oil, menthol, menthyl acetate, and ascorbyl palmitate were moderately potent reversible inhibitors of in vitro CYP3A4 activity. Grapefruit juice increased the oral bioavailability of felodipine by inhibition of CYP3A4-mediated presystemic drug metabolism. Peppermint oil may also have acted by this mechanism. However, this requires further investigation. Ascorbyl palmitate did not inhibit CYP3A4 activity in vivo.


For further research articles see:

A near fatal case of high dose peppermint oil ingestion- Lessons learnt

Acute allergic contact dermatitis of the lips from peppermint oil in a lip balm.

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