Instant effects of peppermint essential oil on the physiological parameters and exercise performance

Avicenna J Phytomed. 2014 Jan;4(1):72-8.


Objective: Effect of peppermint on exercise performance was previously investigated but equivocal findings exist. This study aimed to investigate the effects of peppermint ingestion on the physiological parameters and exercise performance after 5 min and 1 h.

Materials and methods: Thirty healthy male university students were randomly divided into experimental (n=15) and control (n=15) groups. Maximum isometric grip force, vertical and long jumps, spirometric parameters, visual and audio reaction times, blood pressure, heart rate, and breath rate were recorded three times: before, five minutes, and one hour after single dose oral administration of peppermint essential oil (50 µl). Data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA.

Results: Our results revealed significant improvement in all of the variables after oral administration of peppermint essential oil. Experimental group compared with control group showed an incremental and a significant increase in the grip force (36.1%), standing vertical jump (7.0%), and standing long jump (6.4%). Data obtained from the experimental group after five minutes exhibited a significant increase in the forced vital capacity in first second (FVC1)(35.1%), peak inspiratory flow rate (PIF) (66.4%), and peak expiratory flow rate (PEF) (65.1%), whereas after one hour, only PIF shown a significant increase as compare with the baseline and control group. At both times, visual and audio reaction times were significantly decreased. Physiological parameters were also significantly improved after five minutes. A considerable enhancement in the grip force, spiromery, and other parameters were the important findings of this study. Conclusion : An improvement in the spirometric measurements (FVC1, PEF, and PIF) might be due to the peppermint effects on the bronchial smooth muscle tonicity with or without affecting the lung surfactant. Yet, no scientific evidence exists regarding isometric force enhancement in this novel study.

Keywords: Isometric force; Peppermint; Reaction time; Spirometry.