The main difference between mint and menthol is that mint is a herb plant whose leaves, seeds, and flowers are mainly used to flavor food whereas menthol is an aromatic organic compound responsible for the sweet and spicy flavor of mint. Furthermore, peppermint is a type of hybrid mint with a higher concentration of menthol. Menthol, on the other hand, is used in medicine and to produce cosmetics, dyes, perfumes, etc.
Mint and menthol are two types of terms related to the mint flavor of food, medicine, and other applications. This article discusses the difference between mint and menthol.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Mint
– Definition, Types, Importance
2. What is Menthol
– Definition, Chemistry, Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between Mint and Menthol
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Mint and Menthol
– Comparison of Key Differences
Essential Oil, Flavor, Menthol, Mint, Peppermint, Spearmint
What is Mint
Mint is a herb plant that belongs to the genus Mentha. It belongs to the family Lamiaceae. Around 13 to 18 species of mint has been identified so far. Moreover, the hybridization between mint species may occur naturally. Mint is a perennial herb. It produces widespread stolons underground and overground. Also, it stems are erect and square-branched. The arrangements of leaves occur in opposite pairs. The color of leaves can vary from blue, purple, gray-green to pale yellow. Additionally, the flowers of mint can range from white to purple in color while the fruit in the form of a nutlet contains one to four seeds.
Furthermore, the main feature of mint is the production of menthol, which has cooling properties. The two main species of mint are peppermint (Mentha x piperita) and spearmint (Mentha spicata). While peppermint contains 40% menthol, spearmint contains only 0.5% menthol. Therefore, peppermint is mainly used in hygienic products as well as for medicinal purposes. On the other hand, spearmint is used as an ingredient in food and beverage.
What is Menthol
Menthol is an aromatic organic compound mainly found in mint. Generally, it is cyclic monoterpene alcohol used to produce essential oil from the mint. It is a waxy, crystalline substance, which is clear or white in color. Additionally, it is solid at room temperature. However, the main form of menthol occurring in nature is (−)-menthol, with the (1R,2S,5R) configuration.
Furthermore, menthol is an ingredient of many medicines and cosmetics. It has local anesthetic and counterirritant qualities; therefore, it is useful in relieving minor throat irritation. Menthol also acts as a weak kappa opioid receptor agonist.
Similarities Between Mint and Menthol
- Mint and menthol are two terms related to the mint flavor.
- They are important in the food industry, medicine, cosmetics, etc.
Difference Between Mint and Menthol
Mint refers to an aromatic plant native to temperate regions of the Old World, several kinds of which are used as culinary herbs, while menthol refers to crystalline alcohol with a minty taste and odor, found in peppermint and other natural oils.
The main difference between mint and menthol is that mint is the herb plant that produces menthol while menthol is the aromatic organic compound responsible for the sweet and spicy flavor of mint.
Peppermint is the type of mint with a higher concentration of menthol while menthol is used as a flavor in food and medicine. Hence, this is another difference between mint and menthol.
Mint is an herb plant which produces menthol. Peppermint produces high concentrations of menthol while spearmint produces menthol in lower concentrations. In contrast, menthol is an aromatic organic compound used as an essential oil. It gives a sweet and spicy flavor to food. Also, it is used in medicine and cosmetics. This is the main difference between mint and menthol.
1. Boyles, Margaret. “Benefits of Mint Plants: Medicinal, Culinary, and More.” Old Farmer’s Almanac, 29 Jan. 2019, Available Here.