If you’ve experienced congestion, and we all have, you know it’s not only a miserable feeling, but it also, mechanically, can be difficult to breathe. Regular lung cleansing may just be the answer to many respiratory ailments. We’re always breathing so, unlike some conditions, which may be easy to temporarily ignore, clogged sinuses and lung congestion are a constant and literal in-your-face malady that can make every second miserable. When congestion or upper respiratory irritation happens, most of us long for days prior when easy breathing wasn’t even a thought. Fortunately, menthol crystals can help provide that relief as studies have demonstrated that menthol reduces bronchoconstriction and airway hyper responsiveness.
Often found in mouthwashes, toothpaste, balms, and a host of other products, menthol is the primary active ingredient in essential oil of peppermint that provides the familiar cooling sensation and minty odor and taste. Menthol crystals are produced by rapidly cooling the essential oil of peppermint. Menthol crystals are very concentrated and beneficial if added to a lung cleansing formula in small amounts.
Menthol Crystals for Cough and Congestion Support
Lung cleansing products that contain menthol crystals can provide tremendous relief for symptoms of congestion, upper respiratory problems, sore throat and coughs. In fact, most lozenges, cough drops, and respiratory balms will list menthol as the chief ingredient. It’s no surprise, if you’re congested and start inhaling the scent of menthol crystals, you can almost feel the menthol vapors attacking and breaking up lung congestion. The cooling and soothing sensation can be very relieving.
Although many ready-to-use lung cleansing products such as Allertrex® contain menthol crystals, they’re also easy to use in several at-home remedies. Adding menthol crystals to hot water and inhaling the vapors can begin to soothe congestion and irritated nasal or throat passages. Before getting in the shower, try dissolving some menthol crystals in a little water and add a few drops to the shower walls. The steam will release the menthol and provide you with an invigorating shower that provides aroma therapeutic benefits.
Research Supports the Efficacy of Menthol
An article in Professional Care of Mother and Child noted that menthol can be extremely effective for blocked nasal passages. Furthermore, when used to relieve cough symptoms, menthol, unlike other cough suppressant formulas, does not contain antihistamines, which often result in drowsiness.  A separate article in the same publication cited menthol as an effective remedy for nasal congestion. 
A study by the Department of Respiratory Medicine at the Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan found that menthol was very beneficial for respiratory symptoms because of its ability to inhibit airway smooth muscle contraction. 
In a related vein, research conducted by the Monell Chemical Senses Center and published in Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics found that inhaling menthol vapors significantly decreases coughing. The tendency of menthol to reduce the cough reflex explains why menthol alone is an active ingredient in many respiratory therapeutic products and may be almost as effective as pharmaceutical products with drugs added. Unfortunately, the reduction in airway sensitivity may also explain the questionable practice of some cigarette manufacturers to add menthol to their products. 
The Common Cold and Nasal Research Centre in the United Kingdom published an article in the May, 2003 edition of Current Allergy and Asthma Reports that said, “With the recent discovery of a menthol receptor on the sensory nerves that modulate the cool sensation, menthol has graduated from the realms of herbal medicine into the field of molecular pharmacology.” 
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- Silverstone T. Coughs and colds: advising on what to take. Prof Care Mother Child. 1997;7(1):13-6.
- Sinclair A. Remedies for common family ailments: 10. Nasal decongestants. Prof Care Mother Child. 1996;6(1):9-11.
- Ito S, Kume H, Shiraki A, Kondo M, Makino Y, Kamiya K, Hasegawa Y. Inhibition by the cold receptor agonists menthol and icilin of airway smooth muscle contraction. Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Oct;21(5):812-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pupt.2008.07.001. Epub 2008 Jul 5.
- Wise PM, Breslin PA, Dalton P. Sweet taste and menthol increase cough reflex thresholds. Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2012 Jun;25(3):236-41. doi: 10.1016/j.pupt.2012.03.005. Epub 2012 Mar 23.
- Eccles R. Menthol: effects on nasal sensation of airflow and the drive to breathe. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2003 May;3(3):210-4. Review.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.