What Is Menthol?

What Is Menthol?

This is part of our ongoing series helping consumers better understand chemicals, chemistry, and product formulations. We translate the science, bust the myths, and give you an honest assessment, so you can make informed choices for your family!



What it is:

Menthol can be synthetically made or derived from some form of mint oil. Ours is naturally derived from Mentha arvensis (wild mint) and Mentha x piperita (peppermint) leaves. Essential oil is extracted from the leaves using steam distillation, then it’s frozen to convert it to ice crystals, and then dried to produce menthol crystals.

What it does:

Menthol has been used by people since ancient times, but only recently did scientists uncover how it works (1). It naturally triggers cold-sensitive receptors in the skin to create a cooling, refreshing sensation whether it’s applied to the skin, eaten, or inhaled (1-5).

Why we use it:

We love to source ingredients directly from nature that take relatively little processing to create a raw material for commercial purposes. Menthol’s natural cooling and refreshing properties make it a perfect addition to our Mouthwash and Organic Shave Oil.


  1. Patel, T., Ishiuji, Y., & Yosipovitch, G. (2007). Menthol: a refreshing look at this ancient compound. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 57(5), 873-878.
  2. Bautista, D. M., Siemens, J., Glazer, J. M., Tsuruda, P. R., Basbaum, A. I., Stucky, C. L., ... & Julius, D. (2007). The menthol receptor TRPM8 is the principal detector of environmental cold. Nature, 448(7150), 204-208.
  3. Yosipovitch, Gil, et al. "Effect of topically applied menthol on thermal, pain and itch sensations and biophysical properties of the skin." Archives of dermatological research 288.5-6 (1996): 245-248.
  4. Lindemann, J., Tsakiropoulou, E., Scheithauer, M. O., Konstantinidis, I., & Wiesmiller, K. M. (2008). Impact of menthol inhalation on nasal mucosal temperature and nasal patency. American journal of rhinology, 22(4), 402-405.
  5. Green, B. G. (1985). Menthol modulates oral sensations of warmth and cold.Physiology & behavior, 35(3), 427-434.

This post was revised as of 11/25/2015.

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.