Peppermints can be pain-relievers, decorations, ornaments, candies, presents, toothpastes, soaps, and gum all in one. They are harmless and has a soothing yet refreshing taste. Although peppermint is a candy, it is not just any kind of candy. All of them contain some sort of peppermint flavoring because the flavoring gives off an invigorating scent and also cures a few medical issues. Basic facts about peppermint, health related details, where it is grown, and its history are important when identifying why peppermint has the effect that it does.
Peppermints are made from mint plants which contain menthol. Menthol is a white substance that smells like mint, and provides a cooling sensation (Feigl, 2013, para. 1). It is a common ingredient in many other substances as well. The plant has tiny, purple flowers and grows extremely well in moist soil that contains a high percentage of decomposed plant matter (Craker, 2013, para. 2-3). The process in which the oil that contains the menthol is "extracted" from the plant's leaves is called steam distillation. Menthol is used in many common products, like cough medicines, perfumes, and cigarettes. (Craker, 2013, para. 5). Mentha Piperita, more commonly known as peppermint, is widely considered the "King of all mints" because the taste of the menthol is very strong and refreshing (“Mentha Peperita: The plant and its uses”, n.d., para. 2) (Feigl, 2013, para. 1).
Most peppermints are healthy because they are reliably fat-free and cholesterol-free (Gargulinski, 2011, para. 1). The cooling sensation in the mouth results in the activation of sensory receptors on cells, which are the same receptors that tell animals to cool their body temperature. Also, there is a single cell-surface protein that allows sensory nerves to interact with the menthol (Travis, 2002, para. 7). Peppermint is very useful for many different health related things as well. One example of this is reducing a patient’s nausea after a recent surgery (“Peppermint”, 2008, para. 4). The other main active ingredient in peppermints is methane. The mint plant was first “cultivated” in Europe, but it is now grown in many different places. The oil from the leaves of each peppermint plant is used in many different things, like herbal remedies. (Peppermint, 2008, para. 3).The only allergy problem with peppermint would be pulegone, a factor in peppermint oil. If a person does not have this allergy, peppermint is a perfectly safe ingredient to use in products (Khattab, Hadra, & Trudeau, n.d., p. 29).
Everything comes from a starting point, and the first peppermints date back to circa 1500 B.C. The peppermint plant is in the Lamiaceae family. The Lamiaceae is “the mint family of flowering plants” and most of them have square stems and simple leaves. The most utilized parts of the plant are the peppermint's oily leaves (Lamiaceae, n.d., para. 1) (“Mentha Peperita: The plant and its uses”, n.d., para. 3). Peppermint is grown in many European countries, Asia,...