Menthol – what it is, how it works and health benefits

We associate menthol with a fresh scent and refreshing taste. However, did you know that it has many medicinal properties? Check out this article and see how menthol works!

What is menthol?

Menthol is an organic compound from the group of alcohols. It is classified as a terpene. It is a substance of natural origin, found in plants of the genus mint (Mentha L.). The most common varieties are peppermint (Mentha × piperita L.) or field mint (Mentha arvensis L.). Menthol can be used as a flavoring or fragrance in a variety of products.

Where is menthol most commonly found? First of all, it can be found in toothpastes, mouthwashes, cough medicines, cosmetics or in flavor cards.

How does menthol work?

Menthol is characterized by a pleasant cooling effect. Although it does not lower the body’s temperature, it brings relief from pain. This is due to the stimulation of thermoreceptors. When menthol is used, a signal is sent to the brain to cool the body.

Most commonly, menthol is used in cough remedies or skin care products. The ingredient provides relief from headaches (in the form of cooling patches) or burns from excessive sun exposure (in the form of lotions).

Menthol is also a great wind-blocker. Its action has a positive effect on intestinal muscles and gastrointestinal complaints. It can be ingested, inhaled or applied topically to the skin.

Health benefits of menthol

Soothes indigestion – many mint oils contain menthol. According to research, this ingredient helps speed up digestion of food, especially when taken while eating. This is a great help for people with digestive problems.

It affects the brain – scientists have proven that people who take menthol regularly have a much better memory. During one study, people were divided into two groups. One took menthol 5 minutes before the test, and the other did not. People in the first group showed significantly better memory.

Fights cold symptoms – menthol is used in many nasal medications. The ingredient helps improve nasal breathing comfort, as well as opens the airways and removes mucus.

Adds energy – menthol relaxes the smooth muscles of the bronchi, allowing more oxygen to reach the brain. This action contributes to increased energy and the fight against fatigue.

Menthol is also great for combating headache problems and fighting bacteria, thanks to its antimicrobial properties. It’s worth noting that this ingredient is FDA-approved. Menthol can only help your health and well-being if you use it as directed.