Antispasmodic effect of Mentha piperita essential oil on tracheal smooth muscle of rats

J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Jul 20;130(2):433-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.05.012. Epub 2010 May 19.


Aim of the study: Mentha piperita is a plant popularly known in Brazil as "hortelã-pimenta" whose essential oil is used in folk medicine for its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, expectorant actions and anti-congestive. Here, it was investigated the effect of Mentha piperita essential oil (peppermint oil) in rat tracheal rings along with its mechanism of action.

Materials and methods: Tracheal tissue from male Wistar rats (250-300 g) were used. Peppermint oil was added in cumulative concentrations [1-300 microg/ml] to the tissue basal tonus or pre-contracted by carbachol [10 microM] at 10 min intervals, incubated or not with indomethacin [10 microM], L-N-metyl-nitro-arginine [100 microM], hexamethonium [500 microM], or tetraethylammonium [5 mM].

Results: Peppermint oil [100 and 300 microg/ml] inhibited the contractions induced by carbachol, which was reversed by indomethacin, L-N-metyl-nitro-arginine and hexamethonium, but not by tetraethylammonium. These data suggest the participation of prostaglandin E(2), nitric oxide and autonomic ganglions in the peppermint oil relaxant effect and may be correlated with its popular use in respiratory diseases.

Conclusions: Peppermint oil exhibited antispasmodic activity on rat trachea involving prostaglandins and nitric oxide synthase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Ganglia, Autonomic / drug effects
  • Ganglionic Blockers / pharmacology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Mentha piperita*
  • Muscle Relaxation / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Smooth / innervation
  • Muscle, Smooth / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
  • Parasympatholytics / pharmacology*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Trachea / drug effects*
  • Trachea / innervation
  • Trachea / metabolism


  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Ganglionic Blockers
  • Parasympatholytics
  • Plant Oils
  • Nitric Oxide
  • peppermint oil
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Dinoprostone