3DChem.com - Chemistry, Structures & 3D Molecules a visual and interactive website showcasing the beautiful world of chemistry

Menthol (Molecule of the Month for January 2005)

Menthomenthol, peppermint camphor

Menthol is a covalent organic compound made synthetically or obtained from peppermint or other mint oils. It is a waxy, crystalline substance, clear or white in color, which is solid at room temperature and melts slightly above. The main form of menthol occurring in nature is (-)-menthol, which is assigned the (1R,2S,5R) configuration. Menthol has local anesthetic and counterirritant qualities, and it is widely used to relieve minor throat irritation.

Menthol is contained in non-prescription products for short-term relief of minor sore throat and minor mouth or throat irritation, for example in lip balms and cough medicines. It is classed as an antipruritic, which reduces itching. Menthol is also contained in combination products used for relief of muscle aches, sprains, and similar conditions, as well as in decongestants. In addition, it is used as an additive in certain cigarette brands, both for flavor and to reduce the throat and sinus irritation caused by smoking. Menthol is a common ingredient in mouthwash.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)



Picture of Menthol 3D model

click on the picture of  Menthol above to interact
with the 3D model of the
Menthol structure
(this will open a new browser window)

Picture of Menthol


Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for January 2005 )

Stacks Image 34 All the images on this web site are are made available with a Creative Commons Attribution license and so can be used as long as the attribution © Karl Harrison 3DChem.com is written with the image. High resolution images and illustrations are available on request.