What is menthol?
Menthol is an organic compound extracted from the oils of Mentha, a type of plant in the mint family. It can be synthesized and is used as a flavoring or fragrance in various products.
Known for its cooling and healing properties, menthol is popular in toothpastes, mouthwashes, cough drops, cold medicines, lip balms, body lotions and more. It is used to treat plaque or bacteria in the mouth, coughs, sore throats and minor aches and pains. It also has many other uses and effects, which we also use with Us.
How does menthol work?
Menthol produces a cooling effect that “creates a pleasant respite from pain or other irritation.”
Although menthol does not actually lower body temperature, it stimulates the body’s thermoreceptors. This sends a signal to the brain that the body is cooling down.
Menthol is often combined with other active ingredients in cough suppressants, skin protectants and other products. Because it helps refresh and revitalize, menthol can be used in a variety of ways – as a cooling patch for headaches or as a soothing skin lotion to treat overexposure to the sun, itching and inflammation.
Along with its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, menthol acts as a windbreaker. It helps relax intestinal muscles and treat gastrointestinal complaints.
It can be ingested, inhaled or applied topically to the skin. Topically, it is used for pain and inflammation. For more information on topical dosage, you can read specific guidelines here.
To help with digestive problems, you can take menthol orally in peppermint tea, capsule or tincture.
Health benefits of menthol
Soothes indigestion and relieves IBS symptoms
One of the main ingredients in peppermint oil is menthol. Studies show that people digest food faster when they take menthol with meals, which is especially helpful for people with gastrointestinal disorders.
Menthol is also beneficial in relieving IBS symptoms. According to one study, 75% of patients who took peppermint oil for one month had fewer IBS symptoms than in the placebo group, where only 38% saw improvement.
Improves brain function
Taking menthol has been scientifically proven to improve memory. Researchers found that participants who used menthol for five minutes before the study had better memory compared to those who did not.
According to another study, sniffing menthol while driving increases alertness and reduced frustration and fatigue.
Fights cold symptoms
Menthol helps relieve cold and flu symptoms by improving breathing through the nose. It also has antimicrobial properties that can help treat cold symptoms, particularly infected mucus receptors in the sinuses. Menthol also helps to open the airways and remove mucus.
The use of menthol in particular taken through the respiratory tract has been proven to help with headaches. Menthol relaxes muscles and relieves pain.
If you want to feel more energized during the day, menthol can get the job done. One study found that menthol can help fight fatigue and improve exercise performance.
Along with menthol helping to “relax bronchial smooth muscle,” there was also an “increase in ventilation and oxygen concentration in the brain and a decrease in blood lactate levels,” which contributed to increased energy.
One of menthol’s greatest benefits is its antimicrobial properties. Numerous studies have shown its effectiveness against bacteria.
Menthol is FDA-approved and safe when used according to the label. If you have any specific questions about the product, consult your doctor.