36–38 °C (311 K), racemic
42–45 °C (318 K), (−)-form (α)
35-33−31 °C, (−)-isomer
Menthol is an organic compound made synthetically or obtained from cornmint, peppermint or other mint oils. It is a waxy, crystalline substance, clear or white in color, which is solid at room temperature and melts slightly above. The main form of menthol occurring in nature is (−)-menthol, which is assigned the (1R,2S,5R) configuration. Menthol has local anesthetic and counterirritant qualities, and it is widely used to relieve minor throat irritation. Menthol also acts as a weak kappa opioid receptor agonist.
Natural menthol exists as one pure stereoisomer, nearly always the (1R,2S,5R) form (bottom left corner of the diagram below). The eight possible stereoisomers are: