Q&A with the Jakemans Mentholologist, Steve Pearce
When was menthol first used?
The properties of peppermint oil and consequently menthol are believed to have been recognised for some time with reports of use in Japan about 2,000 years ago, although first recorded use in Europe only occurs around 1771.
How is menthol made?
Menthol can be produced naturally from mint but can also be synthetically produced, most commonly from citronella oil. When produced naturally fresh mint is air-dried to create mint oil which is filtered to remove any solid particles and impurities.
The mint oil then cooled to -40°c to cause the menthol in the oil to form flakes and separate from it. The solid flakes are then collected and heated to 50°c which creates a liquid solution of menthol which is then cooled to room temperature resulting in crystallisation.
Once crystallation is complete it is poured into decanting trays where the large clumps of crystals are broken down and form smaller crystals, fine needles and powder.
How much menthol is made?
The current annual world production is estimated to be in excess of 32,000 metric tons.
Why is Menthol so good at easing coughs and sore throats?
- Menthol is unique for the cooling sensations it imparts to the skin, stuffy noses and sore throats. It works very cleverly to create a cooling sensation which numbs nerve sensations creating the soothing effect found in Jakemans menthol confectionary. The science that generates this effect is a result of the molecule interacting with specific receptor sites in cell membranes
- Menthol helps ease runny noses and it stimulates bronchial opening making breathing easier
- Menthol has powerful anti-bacterial properties so can naturally kill off micro-organisms that may lead to a throat infection
What else is menthol used for?
Menthol is included in many products for a variety of reasons. Here is a list of just a fraction of them:
- Lip balms
- Products to reduce itching
- Gels and creams that reduce minor aches and pains like muscle cramps, sprains and headaches
- In sunburn treatments
- In toothpastes and mouthwash products as well as chewing gum
- As a pesticide to protect bees against mites
- By perfumers to enhance floral notes like rose
- In treatments for indigestion
- In first aid products to produce a cooling affect in place of ice
- and of course menthol is a very important ingredient in Jakemans!
Jakemans range of traditional cough and throat sweets is available in six flavours, Throat & Chest, Honey & Lemon Menthol, Cherry Menthol, Menthol & Eucalyptus, Blueberry Menthol and the NEW Blackcurrant Menthol.
Jakemans are available from a number of retailers including major supermarkets (Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco), key health retailers (Boots, Superdrug) the convenience sector and many independent stores.
For more information, please visit www.jakemans.com
With all this cold weather and sore throats that are going around, Jakeman’s thought it would be lovely for a lucky reader to win a jar of Blackcurrant Menthol Sweets; all you have to do is complete the following in the Rafflecopter entry list. (*Please Note, making a comment on this post is a requirement for the competition.) If the Rafflecopter box isnt working for you then please leave a comment on this post telling me that it is not working and also how much menthol is produced annually across the globe?The competition is open to UK residents only and is open for the period of 1 week, so you have plenty of time to add up those entry points.