Aromatherapy, Bone Health, Pain management

Peppermint for Arthritis Pain

Peppermint essential oil

There are several different forms of arthritis, but the two that have been proven to benefit the most from peppermint treatment are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.

In this article, we will be discussing the modern research that has proven the effectiveness of peppermint herb for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. These forms of arthritis are distinctly different yet both have been proven to benefit from peppermint.

The Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is defined as the degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation of joints. What these conditions share in common are the symptoms inflammation and joint pain; based on the research, peppermint can effectively treat both symptoms.

Peppermint Arthritis Research

Peppermint contains the compound menthol, which is used in a variety of over-the-counter pain relief products. Menthol is cooling and this may be why topical application of peppermint essential oil (diluted, of course) eases tension and pain. Peppermint oil can also reduce menstrual cramping and other forms of uterine pain, not just those experienced in organs close to the skin’s surface – muscle and bone.

“One 2016 study suggested that topical peppermint oil can help alleviate pain and relax muscles. … [Another 2016 study] investigated the effectiveness of peppermint oil in 127 young women with dysmenorrhea. According to the results of the study, peppermint oil capsules were as effective at relieving menstrual pain as mefenamic acid, which is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.”1

Used in aromatherapy, peppermint oil has been shown to significantly improve the physical and emotional suffering of those with arthritis. However, there was no reported change in overall life satisfaction among the patients who were studied.

“The result of this study clearly shows that aromatherapy has major effects on decreasing pain and depression levels. Based on our experiment’s findings, we suggest that aromatherapy can be a useful nursing intervention for arthritis patients.”2

Also, because peppermint is a proven anti-inflammatory herb, it makes a great addition to the holistic health regimen of anyone suffering due to inflammation.

“Peppermint is an essential oil with many health benefits including its ability to help reduce inflammation. Peppermint naturally contains several ingredients including menthol and limonene which are used for healing. … Specifically for RA peppermint oils have natural analgesic, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties which help alleviate joint pain and stiffness. Peppermint can be added to water or brewed to make tea. Peppermint oil skin preparations can also be applied directly over the affected joint. … Peppermint may cause side effects such as heartburn or nausea and may interact with certain medications. Caution should be used in pregnancy and postpartum as its effects during pregnancy and lactation are unknown.”3

It’s not just peppermint’s menthol component that eases arthritis pain; the compound rosmarinic acid has also been proven very useful for arthritis.

Rosmarinic Acid

Several studies have proven that a constituent of peppermint leaves called Rosmarinic Acid is able to ease the pain of osteoarthritis. Rosmarinic acid (RosA) is a slightly water-soluble polyphenol found in many plants, not just peppermint.

“Recently, the role of inflammation in OA has been recognized. … Previous studies have shown that RosA possesses various biological properties, including anti‐oxidative, anti‐inflammatory and anticancer properties. … [The study’s authors] reported that daily consumption of the RosA improved stiffness and physical disability scores in adults with knee OA. However, the mechanism of RosA in OA is still unknown.”4

Another study, on Wistar rats, also proved that rosmarinic acid was capable of managing both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis “and related inflammatory complications with negligible side effects.”5

So, peppermint herb is effective for OA, RA, and other conditions strongly influenced by inflammation and cramping in the body. As a tea and essential oil, peppermint is of great benefit to arthritis sufferers, particularly those suffering from the pain and discomfort of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

If you have used peppermint tea or essential oil to treat your own arthritis pain, share your experience in the comment section below or tweet me on Twitter.

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1Fletcher, Jenna. “Health Benefits of Peppermint Tea.” Medical News Today, May 21, 2019. Web. September 2019

2MJ Kim, ES Nam, and SI Paik. “The Effects of Aromatherapy on Pain, Depression, and Life Satisfaction of Arthritis Patients.” Synapse/KoreaMed, February 2005. Web. September 2019

3Jennifer Freeman, MD. “RA Essential Oils: What Essential Oils are Anti-inflammatory?” RheumatoidArthritis.Org, October 27, 2018. Web. September 2019

4We-Ping Chen, Guo-Jun Jin, et al. “Rosmarinic acid down-regulates NO and PGE2 expression via MAPK pathway in rat chondrocytes”. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, January 2018. Web. September 2019

5Gautam RK, Gupta G, Sharma S, et al. “Rosmarinic acid attenuates inflammation in experimentally induced arthritis in Wistar rats, using Freund’s complete adjuvant.” Int. J Rheum Dis, July 2019. Web. September 2019

Freeman, Jennifer, MD. “RA Essential Oils: What Essential Oils are Anti-inflammatory?” RheumatoidArthritis.Org, October 27, 2018. Web. September 2019

AE Connelly, AJ Tucker, and AJ Wright. “High-Rosmarinic Acid Spearmint Tea in the Management of Knee Osteoarthritis Symptoms”. Journal of Medicinal Food, December 1, 2014. Web. September 2019

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