Inhaled peppermint oil for postop nausea in patients undergoing cardiac surgery

Nursing. 2016 Jul;46(7):61-7. doi: 10.1097/01.NURSE.0000482882.38607.5c.


Background: Postoperative nausea is a common occurrence that is very uncomfortable for patients and may result in complications including pain, strain at the surgical site, aspiration, and possible dehiscence. Antiemetics used to manage the nausea cause many adverse reactions, such as dysrhythmias and/or drowsiness resulting in an unwillingness to ambulate or perform deep-breathing exercises.

Literature review: Previous studies have reported a decrease in nausea following the use of peppermint oil.

Study methodology: Researchers obtained informed consent from 123 patients for this study; 34 (28%) of them experienced nausea and were offered a nasal inhaler that contained peppermint oil.

Results: The average nausea rating before the use of peppermint oil was 3.29 (SD, 1.0) on a scale of 0 to 5, with 5 being the greatest nausea. Two minutes later, the average nausea rating was 1.44 (SD, 1.3). Using paired t-tests, these differences were found to be statistically significant (P = 0.000).

Discussion: The researchers concluded that peppermint oil inhalation is a viable first-line treatment for nausea in postoperative cardiac surgery patients.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antiemetics / administration & dosage*
  • Aromatherapy*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Clinical Nursing Research
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mentha piperita
  • Middle Aged
  • Perioperative Nursing
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiemetics
  • Plant Oils
  • peppermint oil