HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Where can I buy menthol?

Hi I've been looking all over the place to buy menthol. (The closest thing I found were menthol crystals for saunas and it says "for external use only".) I would like to make menthol sorbet or menthol chocolate chip ice cream. To be clear, it's definitely pure menthol and it looks like it's not available on a retail basis.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Menthol? Why not simply use peppermint oil?

    1. Do you mean mint?? When I hear menthol I think of cigarettes and vick's vapo-rub.
      If you have a recipe, please share it and maybe we can come up with an alternative for you.

      1 Reply
      1. re: iluvcookies

        I'm wondering if menthol is a UK way of saying peppermint/mint? Just a wild guess but I don't think there's much difference between menthol and peppermint.

      2. From dictionary.com:
        Also called hexahydrothymol, peppermint camphor. Chemistry, Pharmacology. a colorless, crystalline, slightly water-soluble alcohol, C10H20O, obtained from peppermint oil or synthesized: used chiefly in perfumes, confections, cigarettes, and liqueurs and in medicine for colds and nasal disorders for its cooling effect on mucous membranes.

        1. I've heard of (or rather seen) references to menthol's use in some Indian sweets, but - unhelpfully, I know - I've never seen even a hint of anyone finding it outside of India.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MikeG

            When I visited Thailand last year I was really surprised to find they ate menthol flavored candies. It was kind of like a sweeter version of a Hall's cough drop. Menthol sorbet would be interesting to say the least, I'd definitely try it.

          2. My mother is an amateur perfumer and I make soap. We order our essential oils from Liberty Natural, and I know I have seen Menthol crystals in their catalog. Whether they are food safe or not, I don't know. But I wouldn't doubt it, as I know LN sells food grade essential oils.

            1. Thanks for all the replies. Just to clarify, it's the stuff that you find in cough drops, cigarettes, and Vick's Vapo-Rub. I've cooked and made a lot of things with fresh mint, including peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, apple mint, etc. (Chocolate mint and apple mint are recent discoveries- plants that I can only find in summer at farmer's markets here in Chicago--moreover, chocolate mint leaves really seem to have that deep coolness with a bit of a chocolate tate ). Of course there's mint extract , creme de menthe, and peppermint oil, to which one person alluded. I can try peppermint oil--hopefully it will have that cool taste of a Halls Cough Drop, or (and I can only imagine) a puff of a Salem on top of an Alpine Mountain on a crisp winter morning, but for some reason was thinking maybe menthol has that deep coolness and would be really refreshing in making ice cream.

              1. I think I found the answer, thanks in part to Fuller. I did a search on menthol oil (instead of simply menthol) and found menthol-eucalyptus oil at AmericanSpice.com. Ideally, just eucalyptus, but I will order some and try a menthol sorbet. (For now I'll work on a brown sugar/carmel/ginger ice cream). Thanks again to everyone who replied.

                In the meantime enjoy this commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCxff1...

                2 Replies
                1. re: zieglerbrian

                  Eucalyptus oil is toxic to humans when ingested, isn't it? **confused**

                  1. re: WhatThePho

                    Yup, eucalyptus is extremely toxic if ingested. Those crazy koala cubbies got strong stomachs.

                2. I was shopping at the fantastic NYC spice shop Kalustyan's and just happened upon a package of menthol crystals there. Most of the packages are pretty helpful at Kalustyan's, telling you how to use the ingredient, but this package had nothing on it. Still, it's proof that you can buy menthol in a food store.

                  Here's a link where you can buy them online: http://kalustyans.com/catalog.asp?men...

                  They should show at the very bottom of the list. The description might leave you a little queasy though: "Relieve Symptoms Of Bronchitis & Sinuses. Not FDA Evaluated."