Pharmacology and preclinical pharmacokinetics of peppermint oil.

Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology (2005-08-27)
H G Grigoleit, P Grigoleit

The principal pharmacodynamic effect of peppermint oil relevant to the gastrointestinal tract is a dose-related antispasmodic effect on the smooth musculature due to the interference of menthol with the movement of calcium across the cell membrane. The choleretic and antifoaming effects of peppermint oil may play an additional role in medicinal use. Peppermint oil is relatively rapidly absorbed after oral administration and eliminated mainly via the bile. The major biliary metabolite is menthol glucuronide, which undergoes enterohepatic circulation. The urinary metabolites result from hydroxylation at the C-7 methyl group at C-8 and C-9 of the isopropyl moiety, forming a series of mono- and dihydroxymenthols and carboxylic acids, some of which are excreted in part as glucuronic acid conjugates. Studies with tritiated I-menthol in rats indicated about equal excretion in feces and urine. The main metabolite indentified was menthol-glucuronide. Additional metabolites are mono- or di-hydroxylated menthol derivatives.

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