Menthol is a natural compound found in plants such as mint and peppermint. It is commonly used in over-the-counter pain relief products for its ability to provide relief from pain and inflammation. Here are a few key ways in which menthol can support pain relief.
Acts as a local anesthetic. Menthol has local anesthetic properties, meaning that it can numb the affected area and provide temporary relief from pain (1). This makes it effective in treating muscle and joint pain.
Reduces inflammation. Menthol has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce swelling and discomfort associated with pain (2). This makes it effective in treating conditions such as arthritis and sports injuries.
Increases blood flow. Menthol has been shown to increase blood flow to the affected area, providing oxygen and nutrients to the cells and promoting healing (3). This can help to speed up the recovery process and reduce pain.
Provides a cooling sensation. Menthol has a cooling sensation when applied to the skin, which can provide a soothing effect and further relieve pain (4). This makes it a popular choice for individuals who prefer a cooling sensation to heat when treating pain.
Menthol can be found in a variety of over-the-counter pain relief products, such as creams, gels, and sprays. It is important to always follow the instructions on the product label and consult with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
"Topical Menthol for Pain Relief: Mechanism of Action and Clinical Implications." Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, vol. 32, no. 1, 2020, pp. 31–37., doi:10.1097/JXX.0000000000000298.