Menthol


Introduction


Even if you aren’t familiar with essential oils, you are probably familiar with menthol and use products containing it on a regular basis. One of the most widely-known and used terpene compounds, menthol is a monoterpene alcohol that is found in high concentrations in several varieties of mint, especially corn mint and peppermint. Although it is primarily known for its skin-cooling and respiratory-supporting benefits, its surface-cleansing, body system-supporting, and pest-repellant properties have also been extensively investigated.*


History


Menthol is one of the oldest known terpene compounds. There is some evidence suggesting that it was identified in Japan in the first century A.D., and it has a long history of use in traditional herbal preparations. In the Western world, it was first isolated in Germany in the late 18th century. Today, because of its multitude of benefits and uses, it is one of the most commonly isolated and synthetically manufactured terpene compounds. With a demand that far exceeds the natural supply, over 3,000 tons of menthol are synthetically produced for use commercially annually. Menthol is an active ingredient in countless products, ranging from aftershave to topically applied muscle cooling lotions. It is also used extensively as a flavoring agent in confections, gum, and oral hygiene products, and in perfumery it is commonly used to emphasize floral notes.


Uses


Clinical and experimental research shows that menthol applied topically has a soothing and cooling effect on the skin.1,2 The mechanism behind this effect is menthol’s unique ability to trigger specific receptors (TRPM8) in the skin that are cold-sensitive. This property is why Peppermint is one of the primary ingredients in the doTERRA Deep Blue® line. If you’re running low on Deep Blue Soothing Blend or Deep Blue Rub, dilute 1-2 drops of Peppermint in lotion and apply to muscles and joints after a workout, or use this mixture as a complement to a soothing massage. If overheated, add several drops of Peppermint to a cold water compress or foot bath to cool off. The cooling sensation is also great when applied to the scalp: add 1-2 drops of Peppermint oil to your shampoo or conditioner.


The skin-supporting benefits of menthol are not limited to its cooling effects. Clinical and experimental research also suggest that menthol has cleansing properties that may help to reduce the appearance of blemishes.3,4 Add a drop or two of Peppermint oil to your favorite moisturizer and apply daily for healthy, glowing skin.


Peppermint is often referred to as an “energizing” essential oil, and by examining the research, it is easy to understand why. Clinical and experimental research suggests that aromatic use of menthol may yield a sensation of soothing and cooling to the respiratory tract, which promotes feelings of clear breathing.5-7 One of the most popular ways to experience Peppermint oil is right before doing something active. Put a few drops in your palms, rub them together, and directly inhale for an energizing pick-me-up and to support feelings of clear breathing.


Not only is menthol cleansing to the skin, but it can also boost the power of your household cleaners. Experimental research suggests that menthol has cleansing properties that may support its use as a surface cleaner.8,9 If you are tired of the same old citrus-based DIY cleaner (although limonene is a powerful cleanser itself), try adding 10-15 drops of Peppermint to a glass spray bottle of water and white vinegar the next time you attack the grime on your kitchen counters.


Menthol is used extensively as a flavoring agent in candy and even toothpaste, but its internal benefits far exceed its powerful minty taste. Experimental research suggests that menthol taken internally may support the digestive system.*10 Experimental research also suggests that menthol may promote healthy cellular function when taken internally.*11,12 For digestive support, take 2-3 Peppermint Beadlets before a large meal or as needed, or take one to two drops in a Veggie Cap to alleviate occasional stomach upset.* Similarly, try adding 1-2 drops of Peppermint essential oil to your chocolate Slim & Sassy® TrimShake each morning for your daily cellular support.*


Its use in mouthwash and toothpaste isn’t strictly for taste, clinical research suggests that menthol may help to maintain a clean, fresh-smelling, and healthy mouth when used as part of a regular hygiene routine.13 Add a single drop of Peppermint oil to your toothpaste as you brush your teeth each morning and night, or place a single drop in your mouth whenever you need a quick breath freshener.


One of the lesser known applications of Peppermint oil is as a natural bug repellant. Experimental research suggests menthol may act as an insect repellent when used aromatically or applied topically.14 In the summer, spritz Peppermint around windows and doors, or dilute and apply topically to arms and legs before a day hike to repel bugs naturally.
 

Conclusion


One of the earliest identified monoterpenes, menthol is also one of the most researched. Whether in need of skin-soothing, respiratory or digestive support, skin or surface cleansing, repellant, or simply a quick breath freshener, take advantage of the benefits of menthol with CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® Peppermint essential oil.*


Bibliography


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