Early effects of peppermint oil on gastric emptying: a crossover study using a continuous real-time 13C breath test (BreathID system)

J Gastroenterol. 2007 Jul;42(7):539-42. doi: 10.1007/s00535-007-2067-3. Epub 2007 Jul 25.


Background: The aim of this study was to determine whether there was a correlation between peppermint oil and gastric emptying by using a novel noninvasive technique for measuring gastric emptying with a continuous real-time (13)C breath test (BreathID system, Oridion, Israel).

Methods: Ten healthy male volunteers participated in this randomized, two-way crossover study. The subjects were randomly assigned to receive a test meal (200 kcal per 200 ml) containing 0.64 ml of peppermint oil or the test meal alone, after fasting overnight. A (13)C-acetic acid breath test was continuously performed with the BreathID system, which monitors gastric emptying, for 4 h after the administration of the test meal. Using Oridion Research Software (beta version), the time for emptying of 50% of the labeled meals (T 1/2), the analog to the scintigraphy lag time for 10% emptying of the labeled meal (T lag), the gastric emptying coefficient (GEC), and the regression-estimated constants (beta and kappa) were calculated. The parameters between two occasions were compared using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

Results: After peppermint oil intake, the T lag and beta constant were significantly decreased. No significant differences in T 1/2, GEC, or kappa were observed between the two occasions.

Conclusions: The decrease in the T lag and beta constant suggests acceleration of gastric emptying during the early phase. This study showed that peppermint oil enhances gastric emptying, suggesting the potential use of peppermint oil in clinical settings for patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid*
  • Adult
  • Breath Tests / methods
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Gastric Emptying / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mentha piperita
  • Parasympatholytics / pharmacology*
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Radionuclide Imaging


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Parasympatholytics
  • Plant Oils
  • peppermint oil
  • Acetic Acid