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Terpene Profile: Menthone

Menthone is an aromatic compound produced by many plants and best identified for the minty overtones it provides to various essential oils. As a minor compound, menthone is rarely the primary constituent in any essential oil.

This very fact has caused menthone to be one of the few chemicals synthesized artificially, in 1881, before it was discovered as a compound in many essential oils 10 years later. Methone has a structure closely related to menthol, and both compounds are abundant in herbs like peppermint ( Mentha piperita ) and pennyroyal tea ( Mentha pulegium ).

In ancient Rome, these two herbs were used extensively to support the health of growing cities and legionnaires sent to the far corners of the empire. Additionally, records show that pennyroyal essential oils were used as the standard cure for flea infestation. There is reason to believe that the dynamic duo of menthol and menthone are responsible for these benefits.

Today, Menthone is valued for its pleasant and stimulating aroma that has seen much application in the field of cosmetics and perfumes. Herbs rich in menthone are also found in the best culinary academies of the world, where they flavor ice creams and other delicacies.

Benefits of Menthone Menthone

Provides Respiratory Relief

The peppermint plant, one of the most common sources of menthol and menthone, has been a staple of Ayurvedic medicine and herbal remedies in a range of cultures. Herbal tea is one of the most common ways of ingesting these healthy substances, which provide antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits to the lungs and airways stressed from infection or viral attacks.

Clinical studies have demonstrated that aromatic use of peppermint essential oil can improve a wide range of respiratory conditions and improve respiratory function overall. 1

Acts as an Appetite Suppressant

According to an article posted in the Chicago Tribune, peppermint essential oils may be the perfect support to weight loss efforts. The study cited, suggests that peppermint essential oil, which is high in the aromatic compounds menthol and menthone, can effectively distract the mind from hunger cravings and allow focus to return to tasks and projects at hand. 2

Improves Athletic Performance

The pursuit of excellence is a great motivator for many athletes, and the search for something that will improve performance and maximize energy efficiency is an important part of the life of any athlete. Mint is, and has been, one of the most effective performance enhancers in history. It can be used to soothe tired muscles and reduce swelling or inflammation that may come from athletic competitions.

Though most applications of mint in the sports world are topical, recently, mint essential oils have started being increasingly used in aromatherapy. The menthone and menthol in mint essential oils have been found to increase physical capacity during regular exercise routines.

One study studying the effects of peppermint essential oil on athletic performance found that peppermint essential oils not only increased ventilation through relaxation of the bronchial tubes but also improved brain oxygenation levels. This culminated in exercise routines supported by improved spirometry parameters (respiratory rates) and blood pressure. 3

For use in aromatherapy, try diffusing peppermint oil in a room diffuser before heading off to your workout.

Improves Digestion

When the digestive system is under distress, the entire body is affected. Choleretics, like menthone, have a special way of balancing the digestive system increases the amount of bile produced. This has a number of beneficial effects including soothing a nauseous stomach and restoring appetite. Nowhere have these effects been more evident than in the Dan Shu Capsule.

The Dan Shu Capsule (DSC) is a digestive treatment which includes compounds like menthone, menthol, and limonene. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the DSC is the standard treatment for cholecystitis or an inflammation of the gallbladder. By stimulating the production and regulating the acidity of bile, the DSC has been found to reduce cholesterol and increase appetite for healthy foods. 4

menthone infographic

Safety and Precautions

Herbs containing menthone have the capacity to be toxic if consumed in high quantities. Additionally, peppermint essential oil and pennyroyal tea should only be used after consultation with a medical professional if an individual is pregnant, nursing, or very young.

The chemical formula for Menthone: C10H18O

Molar mass: 154.25 g/mol

Melting point: -6°C (21 °F; 267 K)

Boiling point: 207 °C (405 °F; 480 K)

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