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.