Dr Stuart Brierley says while peppermint has been commonly prescribed by naturopaths for many years, there has been no clinical evidence until now to demonstrate why it is so effective in relieving pain.
“Our research shows that peppermint acts through a specific anti-pain channel called TRPM8 to reduce pain sensing fibers, particularly those activated by mustard and chili. This is potentially the first step in determining a new type of mainstream clinical treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS),” Brierley says.
IBS a Serious Health Issue
IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder, causing abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects about 20% of worldwide population and costs billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, work absenteeism and health care throughout the world.
There is no cure for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and it often comes and goes over a person’s lifetime.
Apart from gastroenteritis and food intolerance, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be brought on by food poisoning, stress, a reaction to antibiotics, and in some cases is genetic.
“Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a debilitating condition and affects many people on a daily basis, particularly women who are twice as likely to experience Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS),” Dr. Brierley says.
“Some people find their Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms appear after consuming fatty and spicy foods, coffee and alcohol, but it is more complex than that. There appears to be a definite link between Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and a former bout of gastroenteritis, which leaves nerve pain fibers in a heightened state, altering mechanisms in the gut wall and resulting in ongoing pain.”
Dr. Brierley says the recent floods in Queensland and Victoria could result in a spike of gastroenteritis cases in Australia due to the contamination of some water supplies in affected regions.
Dr. Brierley said case studies in Europe and Canada showed that many people who contracted gastroenteritis from contaminated water supplies went on to experience Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms that persisted for at least eight years.
Dr.Brierley is one of 25 researchers who work at the University of Adelaide’s Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory, hoping to find cures and treatments for a range of intestinal diseases.