Made from either the oils of corn mint as an organic compound or made synthetically from peppermint, menthol is a waxy, crystalline substance, clear or white in colour, which is solid and firm at room temperature and melts just slightly above. Menthol has long been known as a local anaesthetic and for its counter-irritant qualities. As such, it is widely used to relieve minor throat irritation.
Menthol is included in many products, and for a variety of reasons. One is probably most familiar with menthol in such products as a decongestant for chest and sinuses such as in the form of a cream, patch or nose inhaler. Popular product names like Vicks VapoRub etc come to mind.
Menthol is found in cough medicines and lip balms. Its application is for the short-term relief of minor sore throat and minor mouth or throat irritation.
It is used to relieve minor aches and pains as a topical analgesic to lessen minor aches and pains such as headaches, muscle cramps, sprains and other similar conditions. It can be used alone or combined with chemicals such as eucalyptus oil, camphor or capsaicin. In other parts of the world it is used as a gel or a cream, while in the U.S. it is more commonly used as a body sleeve or patch. Examples of such products are Icy Hot patches or Tiger Balm.
Other applications for menthol are used to treat sunburns as a cooling relief. In a product such as this, it would be combined with aloe. Menthol is also found in men’s aftershave products to alleviate razor burn.
And for those who smoke, menthol is found ubiquitously in a few cigarette brands, as a flavour additive, and to reduce throat and sinus irritation caused by smoking. Menthol also increases nicotine receptor density, increasing the addictive potential of tobacco products. Hence making cigarettes so highly addictive.
Use of Term
Using that menthol really helped clear my throat.