Peppermint Aromatherapy May Ease Gagging: A Careful Study

Greg Howard
28th January, 2024

Peppermint Aromatherapy May Ease Gagging: A Careful Study

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

A sensitive gag reflex can make dental appointments a challenge for some patients, making it difficult to undergo necessary dental procedures. To address this problem, researchers investigated whether aromatherapy might help ease gag reflexes during oral cavity stimulation. In this study, the gag reflexes of 24 healthy individuals were tested. Researchers wanted to see how far a standard saliva ejector could be inserted down a person's throat without triggering the gag reflex. This maximum tolerance level was measured to quantify the gag reflex. Participants, consisting of both females and males with an average age of around 34, underwent two sessions. One involved aromatherapy using peppermint essential oil, and the other used distilled water as a placebo for comparison. The gag reflex was measured before and after each session. Additionally, they used nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation, commonly known as laughing gas, as a positive control to see whether it had any effect on the gag reflex. The results were quite telling. They found that the gag reflex actually increased after using peppermint essential oil and the placebo, compared to the initial measurements taken before the sessions began. Nitrous oxide/oxygen also caused an increase in the gag reflex. However, the rate of increase in the gag reflex was not significantly different between the laughing gas and the aromatherapy sessions. Interestingly, the increase was significantly less after the placebo session. Despite the increase in gag reflex after using peppermint essential oil, the results suggest aromatherapy could have potential as a means to help reduce the gag reflex during dental procedures. This outcome could pave the way for further research and potentially new practices in dental treatments for those with a sensitive gag reflex. This research was documented in the University hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry and has been given an identifier for authenticity and reference. This research adds valuable knowledge to the ongoing pursuit of more comfortable and patient-friendly dental care methods.

MedicineHealthPlant Science


Main Study

1) Effect of aromatherapy with peppermint essential oil on the gag reflex: a randomized, placebo-controlled, single-blind, crossover study.

Published 27th January, 2024

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