What are menthol crystals?

Written by robert alley
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What are menthol crystals?
Menthol crystals are used in shaving creams. (NA/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Originally known as Japanese Mint, the menthe herb arvensis was exported from Japan to India. Now grown in northern India, this garden herb's leaves contain 70 per cent menthol. White menthol crystals emit a pleasant and powerful aroma of mint. The crystals offer numerous applications that take advantage of the smell of mint.

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Description

Menthol crystals are a natural product, cool and refreshing and smelling of mint. Menthol is a compound derived from the extraction of oil from mint and was formerly known as peppermint camphor. Menthol crystals work well in any product needing a strong flavour and the ability to relieve pain and soothe the body.

Home Use

When using menthol crystals at home to prepare various products like a salve or frangrance, always wear a mask. Avoid placing your head directly over the bowl or other container containing the crystals. The smell of 100 per cent menthol crystals is very powerful. Menthol crystals are soluble in alcohol and oils like olive oil but not in water. They melt between 40.6 and 43.9 degrees Celsius. Ratios of 5 to 20 per cent menthol are common but for home use start with a low percentage until you develop a feel for the potency of the crystals and your tolerance.

Analgesic

Use menthol crystals externally as an analgesic. Make sure they are diluted within another substance. Rub the crystals over the area of the skin that is painful. The first sensation felt is cold then followed by numbness and partial incapacity. Menthol crystals stimulate the nerves in the skin, producing the sensation of cold. The crystals then effectively paralyse the nerve endings, causing numbness.

Uses

Menthol's crystals are used in cosmetics, lip balms, creams, toothpaste, mouth freshners, cough drops and shampoos. Menthol crystals relieve muscle pains, working as an analgesic. Menthol can clear up coughing and breathing problems. Place a few drops in steaming-hot water and inhale the vapours to clear your sinuses. Spread some on the shower walls and the steam will release menthol while you shower. The combination of the heat and menthol opens up the sinuses, numbs any pain and soothes the throat. Menthol crystals' ability to dissolve in alcohol and oil and their strong smell make them a desirable product for home fragrances and perfumes.

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