Mentha. Mentha piperita.
- Volatile oil, resin, tannin, gum.
- Aqua Menthae Piperitae, Peppermint Water. Dose, ad libitum.
- Oleum Menthae Piperitae, Oil of Peppermint. This is a volatile oil prepared from the fresh herb by distillation with steam—a greenish-yellow liquid, having a pungent odor and taste. Dose, from one to fifteen minims.
Physiological Action—Peppermint is a powerful diffusible stimulant, carminative, antispasmodic, stomachic, and in the form of the volatile oil a local anesthetic.
Specific Symptomatology—Flatulent colic, gastrodynia, nausea, vomiting, spasmodic pain in the bowels, hiccough, palpitation from indigestion, griping, cholera morbus, cholera infantum, spasmodic cholera, irritability of the stomach, diarrhea with abdominal pain, nervous headache, painful gonorrhea.
Therapy—In fevers of an inflammatory character caused by exposure to cold and damp, with nausea and vomiting, a warm infusion of peppermint may be given to produce perspiration and promote a cure, as it is a very efficient diaphoretic.
The oil of peppermint, on account of the menthol present in it, is a local anesthetics, and may be employed to relieve local pain, as in the inflamed joints of rheumatism, as a spray in painful inflammation of the throat and fauces, and in any painful condition where a direct application of the anesthetic can be made.
Where the food tends to ferment in the stomach and bowels, it may be given in doses of three to five minims in capsules, as an antiseptic to prevent fermentation and promote digestion.
When a local application of the oil of peppermint is made, the parts, where practicable, should be covered with oiled silk or rubber cloth to prevent evaporation.
A spray of oil of peppermint may be inhaled with relief of many of the distressing symptoms incident to asthma and chronic bronchitis of the aged.
Oil of peppermint applied to carious teeth will promptly relieve the pain of toothache. The cavity should be dried and a pledget of cotton saturated with the oil placed in it.
In the extreme irritability of the stomach in cholera morbus and in painful stasis of the stomach and bowels, the spirit of peppermint may be given at frequent intervals in hot, sweetened water, while hot fomentations should be applied to the abdomen at the same time.
In the pain of acute indigestion, and in painful diarrhea and dysentery, while peppermint will prove a valuable analgesic it is more important to the safety of the patient to empty the stomach with an emetic of the compound powder of lobelia, or move the bowels with a cathartic of sulphate of soda; when the cause is removed the pain and danger will pass away.
In burns and scalds peppermint is both soothing and curative, the parts being kept wet with it. It is a stimulating dressing, but is not objectionable on this account.
In rectal pruritus, and in painful papillary growths at the orifice of the female urethra, either the oil of peppermint or menthol may be employed as a local anesthetic to relieve the itching and pain.
In painful bowel complaints with inflammation—pain on pressure, tongue dry, with reddened tip and edges, peppermint should not be given. In any case if the remedy does not afford relief in a reasonable time it should be discontinued.
The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.