Side effects of menthol


Everything You Need to Know About Menthol

Can menthol be consumed?

Yes, but only in measured amounts and usually in over the counter products. When taken orally, menthol can improve digestion, leading to the prevention or treatment of intestinal gas and bloating. Menthol helps to relax the muscles in the intestine, preventing spasms and lessening the likelihood of cramping. As a result, menthol can be useful for individuals experiencing irritable bowel syndrome.

Manufacturers of cough drops, cough syrup, and throat sprays include menthol in their products because it has anesthetic and cough suppressant qualities. It can help sooth the throat irritation that can lead to persistent, painful coughing. Small traces of menthol are also found in chewing gum to improve freshness and flavor.

How can I use menthol at home?

Menthol has an expectorant action, which enables it to thin and loosen the mucus that builds up in the respiratory tract. Accordingly, inhalations of menthol can improve congestion in the nose and throat linked to colds. By placing hot water in a bowl at home you can recreate the effects of a steam room using the vapor from the water to do inhalations of the menthol or apply a few drops into your bath instead, Menthol cannot be applied directly to the skin without being diluted as it can sensitize the skin. Alternatively, menthol rubs can be applied to the chest and back.

Products containing menthol should be used in accordance with the manufacturers’ guidance. The low levels of menthol found in over-the-counter products are generally well tolerated by most people.

By Viviane Callier

The menthol in menthol cigarettes could be making people more addicted to nicotine

(Image: Getty)

It’s a fresh problem. People who smoke menthol cigarettes often smoke more frequently and can be less likely to quit – and it could be because fresh-tasting menthol is changing their brains to more sensitive to nicotine.

How menthol enhances nicotine addiction has been something of a mystery. Now, Brandon Henderson at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and his colleagues have shown that exposing mice to menthol alone causes them to develop more nicotinic receptors, the parts of the brain that are targeted by nicotine.

Menthol can be used medically to relieve minor throat irritations, and menthol-flavoured cigarettes were first introduced in the 1920s. But smokers of menthol cigarettes can be less likely to quit. In one study of giving up smoking, 50 per cent of unflavoured-cigarette smokers were able to quit, while menthol smokers showed quitting rates as low as 23 per cent, depending on ethnicity.

Over time, smokers of both menthol and unflavoured cigarettes acquire more receptors for nicotine, particularly in neurons involved in the body’s neural pathways for reward and motivation. And research last year showed that smokers of menthol cigarettes develop even more of these receptors than smokers of unflavoured cigarettes.

More than a flavour

To understand how menthol may be altering the brain, Henderson’s team exposed mice to either menthol with nicotine, or menthol alone. They found that, even without nicotine, menthol increased the numbers of brain nicotinic receptors. They saw a 78 per cent increase in one particular brain region – the ventral tegmental area – which is involved in the dopamine signalling pathway that mediates in addiction.

“This data shows that menthol is not merely a flavour additive as many of us have believed in the past,” said Henderson, when he presented his findings at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington DC, last month.

If the effect is the same in humans, this would help explain why menthol smokers have a harder time quitting than those who smoke non-menthol cigarettes.

“We had no idea whether people who chose menthol cigarettes had a higher likelihood of tobacco addiction, or whether menthol had specific effects on the brain,” says Marina Picciotto at the Yale University School of Medicine. She says these findings suggest that menthol enhances the addictive properties of the nicotine.

Menthol-flavour cigarettes are due to be banned in the EU from 2022, and the US Food and Drug Administration is considering taking similar measures .

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Fisherman’s Friend

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Fisherman’s friend®?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of Fisherman’s friend® or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Sore throat warning: Severe or persistent sore throat or sore throat that occurs with high fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting may be serious. Ask a doctor right away. Do not use more than 2 days or give to children under 2 years of age unless directed by a doctor.

Ask a doctor before use if you have:

  • Cough that occurs with too much phlegm (mucus)
  • A persistent or chronic cough that lasts such as occurs with smoking, asthma, or emphysema

When using this product do not use more than directed. Stop use and ask a doctor if:

  • Cough lasts more than 7 days, comes back, or occurs with fever, rash, or headache that lasts. These could be signs of a serious condition.
  • Sore throat is severe, lasts more than 2 days, is accompanied or followed by fever, headache, rash, swelling, nausea, or vomiting

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There isn’t enough information about the safety of using Fisherman’s friend® during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Fisherman’s friend®.

Original Extra Strong All Natural Fishermans Friend Menthol Cough Suppressant

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VapoDrops Menthol (oral mucous membrane)

Generic Name: menthol topical (oral mucous membrane) (MEN thol TOP ik al (OR al MYOO kus MEM brane))
Brand Name: Cepacol Sore Throat Max Numb, Halls Mentho-Lyptus Drops, Koldets Cough Drops, Luden’s Honey Lemon Throat Drops, Medikoff, N Ice, Robitussin Cough Drop Almond Honey, VapoDrops Menthol

Medically reviewed by on Apr 19, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

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What is VapoDrops Menthol?

Menthol is either manmade or made from the extracts of mint oil. Menthol provides a cooling sensation when applied to the skin or other tissues (such as the tongue, gums, or inside the cheeks).

VapoDrops Menthol (for use inside the mouth) is used to treat minor sore throat pain, or mouth irritation caused by a canker sore.

VapoDrops Menthol may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use VapoDrops Menthol if you are allergic to menthol.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use this medicine if you have other medical conditions, especially:

  • cough with mucus;

  • cough caused by smoking, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis;

  • a sore throat with fever, headache, swelling, skin rash, or nausea and vomiting; or

  • if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

A menthol lozenge may contain glucose (sugar) or phenylalanine. Talk to your doctor before using this medicine if you have diabetes or phenylketonuria (PKU).

Do not give this medicine to a baby or young child without a doctor’s advice.

How should I use VapoDrops Menthol?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.

Do not swallow the menthol lozenge whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing.

Use a new lozenge every 2 hours or as needed.

Call your doctor if your sore throat is severe or continues for longer than 2 days, especially if you also have a fever, headache, skin rash, swelling, or nausea and vomiting. Stop using and call your doctor if you have a cough that does not improve after 7 days of treatment.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since VapoDrops Menthol is when needed, you are not likely to miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking VapoDrops Menthol?

Follow your doctor’s instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

VapoDrops Menthol side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Less serious side effects are more likely, and you may have none at all.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect VapoDrops Menthol?

VapoDrops Menthol used in the mouth is not likely to be affected by other drugs you use. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.09.

Medical Disclaimer

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Peppermint and menthol

Mentha piperita, better known as peppermint, is used worldwide in many ways. Its use for culinary and medical purposes dates back to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Peppermint is used in numerous forms (i.e., oil, leaf, leaf extract, and leaf water), with the oil as the most versatile (Dermatitis 2010;21:327-9). Peppermint has long been known for its beneficial gastrointestinal effects, and it has a well-established record of antimicrobial, antifungal, and analgesic activity (Mills S., Bone K. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. ; J. Environ. Biol. 2011;32:23-9).

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Vsolymossy/Creative Commons License

Peppermint oil has long been known for its beneficial gastrointestinal effects, and it has a well-established record of antimicrobial, antifungal, and analgesic activity.

Menthol (C10H20O) is a naturally occurring monocyclic terpene alcohol derived from Mentha piperita as well as other mint oils (Skin Therapy Lett. 2010;15:5-9), and has been associated with several health benefits. Recently, anticancer properties have been ascribed to menthol (Biochim. Biophys. Acta 2009;1792:33-8). This column will discuss recent findings regarding the actual or potential cutaneous benefits of peppermint and menthol.

In 2010, Baliga and Rao showed that M. piperita and M. arvensis (wild mint) protected mice against gamma-radiation–induced morbidity and mortality. Specifically, M. piperita protected murine testes as well as gastrointestinal and hemopoietic systems (J. Cancer Res. Ther. 2010;6:255-62).

Anticancer activity

Investigations by Jain et al. into the molecular mechanisms supporting the anticarcinogenic potential of M. piperita leaf extracts on six human cancer cell lines (HeLa, MCF-7, Jurkat, T24, HT-29, MIAPaCa-2) in 2011 revealed that chloroform and ethyl acetate extracts dose- and time-dependently displayed anticarcinogenic activity leading to G1 cell cycle arrest and mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis among the cascade of effects. The investigators identified their findings as the first evidence of direct anticarcinogenic activity of Mentha leaf extracts and suggested that future work might focus on isolating active constituents as a foundation for mechanistic and translational studies leading to new anticancer drugs, alone or in combination, to prevent and treat human cancers (Int. J. Toxicol. 2011;30:225-36).

Topical benefits of menthol

In a recent examination of the antibacterial and antifungal properties, as well as speculated anti-inflammatory activity of menthol as a topical treatment for diaper dermatitis, investigators conducted a pilot clinical trial in a hospital setting. The study involved 84 neonates with diagnosed candidal diaper dermatitis who required no critical care or systemic antifungal and anti-inflammatory medications. The menthol group (n = 42) received topical clotrimazole and topically applied menthol drops and the control group (n = 42) received topical clotrimazole and a placebo. Thirty-five infants in each group completed the study. The researchers found that complete healing was shorter in the menthol group, with significant relief of erythema and pustules observed in this group. They concluded that topically-applied menthol may be an effective agent in the treatment of candidal diaper dermatitis (World J. Pediatr. 2011;7:167-70).

In 2011, Qiu et al. showed, through various assays, that menthol, in low concentrations, could significantly suppress the expression of alpha-hemolysin, enterotoxins A and B, and toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 in Staphylococcus aureus. The investigators concluded that menthol may warrant inclusion in the armamentarium against S. aureus when combined with beta-lactam antibiotics, which, at subinhibitory concentrations, can actually augment S. aureus toxin secretion. They added that menthol may also have possible uses in novel anti-virulence drugs (Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2011;90:705-12). It should be noted that menthol is considered safe and effective, with concentrations up to 16% approved in OTC external products by the Food and Drug Administration (J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 2007;57:873-8).

Pruritus, TRPM8, and melanoma

Topically applied menthol, in concentrations of 1%-3%, is often used to treat pruritus, particularly in the elderly (Skin Therapy Lett. 2010;15:5-9). In addition, recent evidence suggests that the presence of menthol can facilitate penetration of other agents in topical products (Int. J. Toxicol. 2001;20 Suppl 3:61-73; J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 2007;57:873-8). Patel and Yosipovitch suggest that elderly patients who report diminished pruritus with cooling may stand to benefit from menthol-containing topical therapies (J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 2007;57:873-8; Skin Therapy Lett. 2010;15:5-9). Interestingly, menthol, via the transient receptor potential melastatin subfamily 8 (TRPM8) receptor, a member of a family of excitatory ion channels, engenders the same cooling sensation as low temperature, though menthol is not linked to a reduction in skin temperature (J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 2007;57:873-8; Skin Therapy Lett. 2010;15:5-9).

25 Healing Benefits of Peppermint Oil

The popularity of Peppermint and its medicinal and healing properties dates back to the ancient times. Aside from being one of the oldest medicinal herbs used in Europe, it was also used for Chinese and Japanese folk medicine. And would you believe that it is also cited in Greek mythology?

Definitely, there’s more to peppermint than just a breath freshener. However, for you to appreciate it further, you should learn about its healing properties and how it can be used as an essential part of your beauty regimen.

To help you, we’ve sourced the web to compile the most important information that you need to know about Peppermint oil and its healing benefits.

The Basic Facts that You Must Know

  • Scientific Name: Mentha piperita
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Other Names: Pudina Patte (Hindi), Milakukkirai vittu (Tamil)
  • Characteristics: It has a distinct aroma and cool flavour. The actual plant has lance-shaped leaves that are greenish-purple in colour, while the peppermint oil has a pale yellow shade.
  • Components: Vitamins A and C, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese and copper.
  • Properties: Because it contains menthol, peppermint has anesthetic properties. It also comes with antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and carminative properties.
  • Common Uses: for the relief of headache, stomach ache and digestive problems, breath freshener, energy booster, respiratory tract relief, ease muscle tension, mental focus.

Aside from the basic information, you also have to know the wonders of its byproduct–its essential oil. Peppermint oil has gained worldwide acclaim not only because of its healing properties but as an effective ingredient in cosmetics and beauty products that are used to combat skin and hair problems.

Curious about how peppermint oil can improve your health, as well as your beauty routine? Discussed below are the many benefits of peppermint oil.

The Healing Benefits Of Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil has soothing and cooling abilities that freshen the skin. It also has properties that facilitate oil secretion, making it an effective component against acne. Read on to further understand how it can change the way you deal with your skin care.

#1. Brighten Dull Skin

With its cooling effect, using skincare products with peppermint oil is preferred for achieving healthy and radiant skin. Find facial masks, toners and cleansers that use peppermint oil as an ingredient to achieve a youthful and glowing skin.

#2. Control Excess Oil

Even a small pimple is hard to conceal and can spoil your mood. Take care of these annoying skin concerns by treating the root cause of the problem. Peppermint oil is known to control the secretion of excess oil, making it the best choice for oily and combination skin as it prevents clogged pores. With this wonder oil, you can say goodbye to problems with acne outbreak.

#3. Revive Your Youthful Glow

Peppermint oil creates a sensation that can make you feel energised and active–the same effects that it leave on your skin. By promoting better circulation, it stimulates the skin and gives it the youthful glow that you’ve always wanted.

#4. Skin Irritations

Find relief from the discomforts caused by skin irritations with peppermint oil. Burns, skin rashes and dry skin can be relieved with the cooling and soothing effects of peppermint. Just be careful in diluting this essential oil with a carrier oil to avoid untoward effects. With the right mixture, you can restore skin moisture and soothe the pain caused by burns.

Peppermint Oil for Hair Care

As much as you care for your skin, you should also give the right amount of attention to your hair. Hair health has an impact on your overall look. Aside from using Argan oil for the hair, peppermint oil is another ingredient that you should check in the hair care products that you buy because of its amazing benefits.

#5. Say Goodbye to Hair Fall

Are you starting to worry about hair fall? If the number of strands that you lose each time you brush increases with time, you have to act on it or face the risk of going bald. As peppermint oil penetrates beyond the scalp’s surface, it is able to stimulate the hair follicles and facilitate blood circulation to promote the growth of stronger and healthier hair.

#6. Facilitate Hair Growth

With the stimulating properties of peppermint oil, oxygenation is enhanced. This results in having stronger hair roots and healthy hair. So if you are dealing with hair loss or hair damage caused by a chemical treatment, start using products with peppermint oil to facilitate hair growth and restore the ideal condition of your hair and scalp.

#7. Achieve Ideal pH Level

To have a healthy hair, your scalp should be in its best condition–but this won’t be possible without maintaining the ideal pH, which is 4.5 to 5.5. Due to factors like extreme weather conditions, stress, and exposure to harmful ingredients, the pH balance of the scalp is easily lost. But with peppermint oil, the ideal pH level of your scalp is kept at the ideal level, leaving it balanced to ensure its health and keep it free from fungi and bacteria.

#8. Get Freshly-Scented Tresses

Another reason why peppermint oil is preferred for hair care products is its scent that keeps the tresses smelling fresh longer. If you want a nice and refreshing scent for your hair that will also be appreciated by anyone, you have the best choice for products that use this ingredient.

#9. Maintain a Healthy Scalp

Want to improve the condition of your scalp? The antiseptic and antimicrobial properties found in peppermint oil will help to cool the scalp and get rid of dandruff and lice. But not only that, using peppermint oil increases blood circulation to the scalp, whether massaged into the hair or through the use of shampoo or conditioner containing this oil.

Peppermint Oil for Overall Wellness

Aside from being used as an effective skin and hair care ingredient, peppermint oil also offers other advantages that can greatly improve your overall wellness. Below you will discover more reasons to use peppermint oil to harness its healing effects.

#10. Clear Your Respiration

With the menthol in peppermint oil, your respiratory tract can be free from obstructions, which made it a suitable expectorant that offers instant relief for cold, cough, sinusitis and other respiratory related conditions.

#11. Cure Indigestion

Suffering from indigestion? Let peppermint oil take care of that. Did you know that you can use it as a flavouring agent? Add a few drops to a glass of warm water after every meal to find relief from flatulence and stomach upset.

#12. Find a Remedy for Headache…and even Migraine

If you are looking to get a remedy for a headache, a few drops of oil on your handkerchief or wrist can ease the pain and discomfort. Apply it topically and its anti-inflammatory properties, cooling effect and soothing aroma can ease the nagging pain when a tension headache or even migraine strikes, freeing you from the feeling of tightness or pressure around the forehead and back of the head.

#13. Overcome Stress

Do you often feel stressed and worn out especially after a tiring day? A few drops of peppermint oil can make you feel better. All you’ll need to do is apply a few drops of peppermint oil on your body and take a bath to feel energised and benefit from its refreshing properties.

#14. Use it as an Antiviral Agent

Contagious diseases caused by viruses can seriously affect a person. Get added protection against the most common viruses like flu and colds by using peppermint oil, as it can reduce the onset of infections and possible outbreaks.

#15. Take Care of Your Nails

Give your nails the care they deserve. As mentioned above, peppermint oil has antifungal properties. Apply it topically to prevent and reduce fungal nail infection.

#16. Nausea

Nausea brings feelings of discomfort and will make you feel sick. Find relief from peppermint oil. You can dilute it before applying on the forehead or simply inhale it to be relieved from the symptoms of nausea.

#17. Relieve Spasm

Because of its antispasmodic properties, spasm of involuntary muscle can be relieved. Using peppermint oil for topical application brings good results especially in suppressing abdominal pain and stomach cramps.

#18. Improve Oral Health

One of the most common uses of peppermint oil is for oral health. It has a refreshing mint flavour that makes breath smell fresh. This is the reason why toothpaste and other oral hygiene products come with a peppermint flavour.

#19. Enhance Blood Circulation

The aroma that peppermint oil creates a stimulating effect once it touches the nerve, which in turn enhances blood circulation. This results in improvement in one’s metabolism, maintenance of ideal glucose levels and prevention of other body imbalances.

#20. Insect Repellent

Insects can cause problems and if you want to effectively get rid of them, peppermint oil can help. Use it along with other oils like hazel, citronella, lemongrass and tea tree to create your own insect repellent. Also, a drop of peppermint oil applied to your skin or clothes can drive away mosquitoes and fleas.

#21. Ease Joint Pain

Peppermint oil has menthol and limonene which are ingredients that naturally have healing powers. People suffering from joint pain or for rheumatoid arthritis can find relief from pain and stiffness because of the analgesic, anaesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties found in this oil. Use a few drops with a carrier oil and then massage to an area to find quick relief from joint pains.

#22. Relieve Muscle Pain

Does your muscle feel sore or strained? Find temporary relief for your overworked muscles with peppermint oil. Combined with a carrier oil, you can massage it directly to your tired muscles to be relieved from pain.

#23. Diffuse it for Aromatherapy

Peppermint oil’s refreshing and stimulating scent makes it a wonderful diffuser. Use it to give your room a cool and refreshing scent, especially during hot and humid days. It is also great for aromatherapy as it is capable of setting a festive mood and in boosting mental alertness and focus.

#24. Harness Antibacterial Protection

Due to its antibacterial properties, peppermint oil can be used in the reduction of symptoms, as well as the frequency of diseases acquired through bacterial infection, including UTI or Urinary Tract Infections.

#25. Relax Tired Feet

Get the soothing effects of peppermint oil by using it to treat sore and tired feet. Just a few drops of this relaxing oil added to warm water can be used as a foot soak and after just 10 minutes, you will experience great relief from this treatment.

Tips for the Safe Use of Peppermint Oil

With all the healing benefits and remarkable uses of peppermint oil, it is still important to know some words of caution to avoid the untoward side effects caused by its wrong use.

  • Peppermint oil should be used sparingly, especially among people who tend to experience allergic reactions to avoid skin itching and redness.
  • Pure peppermint oil is highly concentrated. Therefore, it should be used with a carrier oil before applying to skin.
  • People with sensitivity should be cautious in using peppermint oil to avoid untoward reactions.
  • There are lots of peppermint enriched beauty products that you can use to be assured that you will get its benefits without dealing with the risks. Find natural and high-quality skin and hair care products that meet your needs.

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