Why Does Mint Make Water Cold? Explained

why does mint make water cold

Have you ever wondered why mint makes water cold? What you should know is as follows.

You were sucking on a couple of breath mints when you felt thirsty and grabbed a glass of water. The water is cool and refreshing. Is there a chemical in the water or the mint that’s causing this?

Actually, the water’s temperature doesn’t change. The menthol substance in mint activates a receptor in the mouth called Transient Receptor Potential Cation Channel Subfamily M Member 8 (TRPM8), tricking the brain into thinking the water temperature has dropped.

Here, we’ll go into a little more detail.

Why Does Mint Make Water Cold?

You’re chewing some gum when you reach for your water glass, take a sip, and — whoa. Why does the water taste so cold?

We can confidently inform you that it is not magic, though. It’s actually kind of cool, and the science behind it is real.

A protein known as transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily M member 8 is at the center of the effect. TRPM8 is a shorter name for it if you can’t remember that.

It’s found in our cold-sensing nerve cells, and it’s responsible for moving ions across cell membranes. The brain is informed that the temperature has dropped when it activates, but only in colder climates.

When it gets colder, it does this by letting in sodium and calcium ions. This sends a current from the membrane of the nerve cell, and hey presto – the brain knows it’s cold.

However, TRPM8 is not solely activated by temperature. TRPM8 can also be activated by menthol, an organic chemical present in mint and peppermint oils. We don’t quite know how it does this but, well, it does.

As a result, when you consume a menthol-containing mint, TRPM8 is tricked into opening its doors and letting sodium and calcium ions in. Your brain then receives an incorrect signal indicating that the temperature has decreased.

why does mint make water cold

It’s not just when it is ingested, too. Your skin becomes icy and numb when you apply menthol to it, such as in a shower gel. Here, the same result is occurring, which can also aid in reducing inflammation.

With hot objects, an analogous principle applies. Ever wondered why chili peppers make you feel hot? Capsaicinoids, which bind to receptors in your brain that cause it to react to heat-induced pain, are to blame for that. They also cause other symptoms like watery eyes and a runny nose. You may experience a high as a result of this.

Do Mint Leaves in Water Have a Cooling Effect?

Lemon water is given a distinctive flavor and aroma when mint leaves are added, and it also has many health advantages. It tastes sweet and leaves a chilly aftertaste. Last but not least, it improves bile flow through the stomach, which helps digestion. It has anti-inflammatory properties and a lot of antioxidants.

Other Natural Compounds With Mint-Like Cooling Effect?

Eucalyptol has a similar impact to mint. It is derived from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus spp). This compound is also found in tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil, wormwood (Artemisia spp), and also in Cannabis sativa.

Similar to how mint is used as a flavor enhancer in mouthwash and toothpaste, eucalyptus has cooling and antibacterial properties.

Does Menthol Have Harmful Side Effects?

Large doses of pure menthol can have serious side effects, including coma and seizures, even though the sensation of coolness you experience is just a sensation and not a reflection of reality.

After cleaning a sizable menthol tank at his place of employment, a man reportedly experienced acute menthol poisoning symptoms.

Menthol is generally not unpleasant, however, a recent study found that pure menthol can cause cold pain at higher temperatures and aggravate pain at colder temperatures. Pure menthol will cause a burning sensation on the skin, this is why it is in diluted form in many products.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.