Few drops of peppermint oil on your tongue increases muscle strength
If you put a few drops of peppermint oil on your tongue before training, an hour later your muscles will generate more power. You'll also be able to jump higher and further, and your reaction time will be faster. Iranian sports scientist Abbas Meamarbashi reported these remarkable results in Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine.
Meamarbashi divided 30 male students into a control group and an experimental group. He put drops of mineral water on the tongues of the participants in the control group, but gave the participants in the experimental group 50 microlitres of peppermint oil. That's 1-5 drops. Meamarbashi tested the participants 15 minutes and one hour after administering the drops.
The peppermint plant is a cross between spearmint [Mentha spicata] and water mint [Mentha aquatica]. Peppermint oil contains menthol, menthon and menthylacetate.
The peppermint oil increased the strength with which the participants could squeeze a dynamometer [a spring], resulted in the participants jumping higher and further from a stationary position, and increased their reaction time.
Meamarbashi measured reaction time by doing a test in which the participants had to press a button when they saw a figure appear on a screen [Visual reaction time] or when they heard a sound [Audio reaction time].
The researcher presents several theories that might explain the effects. "Current findings might be due to the relaxing effect of peppermint on the airway and bronchial smooth muscle tonicity with or without effect on the lung surfactant," is one theory. "Current results support the theory of stimulating effect of peppermint on the brain," is the other.
But in the end Maar admits that he just doesn't know. "The mechanism underlying the effectiveness of peppermint observed in the current study needs further investigation."
Avicenna J Phytomed. 2014 Jan;4(1):72-8.
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