uses JavaScript to provide the best possible experience for our content, but your browser has it disabled. Learn how to enable it here.


Man applying menthol cream


Menthol, a compound in peppermint that gives peppermint its distinct flavor and cooling sensation, is commonly used in topical creams and gels for pain relief from muscle tenderness and soreness, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and painful diabetic neuropathy. When applied to the skin as a cream or gel, such as Biofreeze, Dermacool, Tiger Balm, or Vicks VapoRub, menthol creates a cooling effect by activating and then desensitizing receptors in the skin that sense cold, which is believed to temporarily distract a person from underlying pain (Pergolizzi Jr., J Clin Pharm Ther 2018). However, most placebo-controlled studies have cast doubt on benefits found in smaller studies.

Sign in as a member for details about the effectiveness and possible side effects of topical menthol products, as well as those that include capsaicin.

Join today to unlock all member benefits including full access to all CL Answers and over 1,400 reviews.

Join Now

Join now at

Loading Comments…