Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can cause a range of physical and psychological symptoms, like mood swings, breast tenderness, or bloating, that may start up to two weeks before the actual period. It is estimated that 75% of women suffer from PMS during their reproductive years with up to 40% experiencing symptoms that affect their daily functioning.1
Although various herbal remedies, such as those containing peppermint, have been traditionally used around the world to relieve PMS symptoms, only a small portion had their medicinal actions validated by science. As such, this study aimed to take a closer look at the safety and effectiveness of using peppermint oil for PMS symptoms relief.
This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted in Babol, Iran. Researchers have selected 50 high school students (between the ages of 15 and 20) diagnosed with moderate to severe PMS, whom they randomly assigned to two groups: the first group was given capsules containing 187 mg of peppermint oil and the placebo group received similarly colored and shaped capsules containing wheat flour. The capsules were taken twice a day for 10 days from the 15th day of a menstrual cycle to the 1st day of the next period.
Participants filled out a PMS symptoms assessment checklist before the beginning of the study and after treatment administration for two menstrual cycles.
Researchers found that the severity of reported emotional, behavioral, and physical PMS symptoms decreased in the peppermint oil group. Although there was also a small decrease in the severity of symptoms in the placebo group, it is most likely due psychological effects of the placebo.
What Does this Mean?
The results of this clinical trial validate the safety and effectiveness of traditional uses of peppermint for PMS. These effects can be attributed to the herb's menthol content, which has pain-relieving and muscle-relaxing properties that can lessen the severity of PMS symptoms.
The discovery of peppermint's benefits for PMS is important because it gives women a safe and natural option for dealing with their menstrual symptoms in their childbearing years, without having to depend on pharmacological options that usually come with unwanted side effects.
- Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, Effect of Peppermint Oil on Premenstrual Syndrome: A randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study, 2019
- Healthy Women. (2019). Premenstrual Syndrome. Retrieved October 30, 2019 from https://www.healthywomen.org/condition/premenstrual-syndrome