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

Document Type: Original Research Article


Department of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, I. R. Iran


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.  


Main Subjects

Nair B. 2001. Final report on the safety assessment of Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf, and Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Water, Int J Toxicol, 20: 61-73.

McKay DL, Blumberg JB. 2006. A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.). Phytother Res, 20: 619.

Duke JA, Bogenschutz-Godwin MJ, duCellier J and Duke PAK. 2002. Handbook of medicinal herbs In. CRC Press. 562-564, Boca Raton.

Grigoleit HG, Grigoleit P. 2005. Pharmacology and preclinical pharmacokinetics of peppermint oil. Phytomedicine, 12: 612-616.

Zoladz P, Raudenbush B, Lilley S. 2004 Cinnamon perks performance,April 21-25 Proceedings of Annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences, Sarasota, FL, USA.

Meamarbashi A, Rajabi A. 2013. The effects of peppermint on exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 10: 15-21.

Raudenbush B, Koon J, Meyer B, Flower N. 2002 Effects of ambient odor on pain threshold, pain tolerance, mood,workload, and anxiety Proceedings of Second Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research, Washington DC.

Raudenbush B, Zoladz P. 2003 The effects of peppermint odor administration on lung capacity and inhalation ability Technical Report for HealthCare International (Seattle, Washington).

Tamaoki J, Chiyotani A, Sakai A, Takemura H, Konno K. 1995. Effect of menthol vapour on airway hyperresponsiveness in patients with mild asthma. Respir Med, 89: 503-504.

Raudenbush B, Corley N, Eppich W. 2001. Enhancing athletic performance through the administration of peppermint odor. J Sport Exerc Psychol, 23:156-160.

Pournemati P, Azarbayjani MA, Rezaee MB, Ziaee V. 2009. The effect of inhaling peppermint odor and ethanol in women athletes. Bratisl Med J, 10: 782-787.

Zänker KS, Tölle W, Blümel G,  Probst J. 1980. Evaluation of surfactant-like effects of commonly used remedies for colds. Respiration, 39: 150-157.

Norris SR, Petersen SR, Jones RL. 1996. The effect of salbutamol on performance in endurance cyclists. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol, 73: 364-368.

Umezu T, Sakata A, Ito H. 2001. Ambulation-promoting effect of peppermint oil and identification of its active constituents. Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 69: 383-339.

Kosinski RJ. 2012. A Literature Review on Reaction Time (South Carolina,USA, Clemson University).

Kobal G, Hummel C. 1988. Cerebral chemosensory evoked potentials elicited by chemical stimulation of the human olfactory and respiratory nasal mucosa. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol, 71: 241-250.

Lorig TS, Schwartz GE. 1988. Brain and odor I. Alteration of human EEG by odor administration. Psychobiol, 16: 281-284.

Raudenbush B, Grayhem R, Sears T and Wilson I. 2009. Effects of peppermint and cinnamon odor administration on simulated driving alertness, mood and workload. N Am J Psychol, 11: 245-256.