Generic placeholder image

Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 1389-5575
ISSN (Online): 1875-5607

Menthol – Pharmacology of an Important Naturally Medicinal “Cool”

Author(s): Joseph A. Farco and Oliver Grundmann

Volume 13 , Issue 1 , 2013

Page: [124 - 131] Pages: 8

DOI: 10.2174/1389557511307010124

Price: $65


Menthol, a natural product of the peppermint plant Mentha x piperita (Lamiaceae), is a monoterpene which is widely used as a natural product in cosmetics, a flavoring agent, and as an intermediate in the production of other compounds. Various extracts from peppermint contain menthol as a major active constituent and have been used for centuries as traditional medicines for a number of ailments including infections, insomnia, and irritable bowel syndrome as well as an insect repellent. Menthol’s characteristic cooling sensation is due, in part, to the activation of sensory neurons generally termed transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, in particular transient receptor potential melastatin family member 8 (TRPM8) and transient receptor potential subfamily A, member 1 (TRPA1). Menthol acts upon TRPM8 receptors by rapidly increasing intracellular calcium and mobilizing calcium flux through the channels to induce cold response signals at the application site. Aside from its cold-inducing sensation capabilities, menthol exhibits cytotoxic effects in cancer cells, induces reduction in malignant cell growth, and engages in synergistic excitation of GABA receptors and sodium ion channels resulting in analgesia. Notwithstanding its plethora of benefits, menthol’s coldsensitivity response mechanism has been shown to inhibit mucosal recognition of nicotine and cigarette toxins common in mentholated cigarette brands thus potentially leading to toxic effects. Menthol may prove a valuable lead structure for the synthesis of drugs that target multiple receptors involved with a number of pharmacological effects.

Keywords: CMR1, Menthol, Mentha x piperita, nicotine, TRPA1, TRPM8

Rights & Permissions Print Export Cite as
© 2022 Bentham Science Publishers | Privacy Policy