Menthol, one of nature’s most effective all-natural pain relievers, might already be present in products throughout your medicine cabinet, purse, and in some cases your pocket. Totally, 3,000 tons of menthol is manufactured yearly for products like mouthwash, toothpaste, breath-mints, gum, lip balms and the list goes one. Yet menthol realistically shines when utilized in pain relief lotions.
Menthol has a holistic analgesic (pain reliever) characteristic when used in lotion, gel, or cream form. As the lotion, gel, or cream is applied, molecules referred to as ligands affix themselves to receptors within your cell triggering a change. The menthol ligand attaches to the kappa Opioid receptor that causes an anesthetizing result as you might be familiar with.
Menthol is a derivative of the oil found in peppermint or other mint oils. It is derived primarily from the Mentha arvensis species in the mint family, which is grown mostly in the Uttar Pradesh region of India. It can also be made synthetically. Menthol is solid at room temperature and becomes liquid just above room temperature. Japan is known to have used menthol for over 2,000 years though it was not introduced into the Western world until 1771.
Menthol helps to relieve pain, stress, and bacteria. When menthol is used topically, its analgesic properties can be used for muscle cramps, sprains, and headaches. In its syrup form, it is absorbed into a sugar cube and then taken internally to alleviate nausea and motion sickness. Traditional Chinese medicine uses menthol for sore throat, diarrhea, and colds. When applied as a topical ointment, menthol stimulates hot and cold receptors on the skin without making the body cold. Menthol can be found in common products such as toothpaste and sunburn relief gels. It is available in a crystal form that can be dissolved and melted upon administration.
Menthol, one of the main constituent parts of peppermint oil, is responsible for clearing and decongesting nasal passages and the respiratory tract. Menthol can provide temporary, but highly effective, relief from nasal congestion, sinusitis, cough and cold, asthma and bronchitis. Peppermint is often added to sauna and steam rooms so if you are struggling with respiratory problems get down to your local health club and take advantage of the cooling and uplifting scent of peppermint. Alternatively, apply a peppermint rub on your chest or add a few drops to a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam.