The leaves and tops of Mentha piperita Smith (nat. ord. Labiata.

Habitat Wild in Asia, Europe, and North America; cultivated.

Characters Leaves about 5 cm. long, petiolate, ovate-lanceolate, acute, sharply serrate, glandular, nearly smooth, the few hairs containing crystals of Menthol in one or more thin cells; branches quadrangular, often purplish; flowers in terminal, conical spikes, with a tubular, five-toothed, often purplish, calyx, a purplish, four-lobed corolla, and four short stamens; odor aromatic; taste pungent and cooling.

Composition Its chief constituents are – (1) A volatile oil, (see below); (2) A liquid, and (3) a crystalline Menthol.

Preparation 1. Spiritus Menthae Piperita. – Spirit of Peppermint. Synonym. – Essence of Peppermint. Oil of Peppermint, 100; Peppermint, 10. By maceration and percolation with Alcohol to 1000.

Spirit of Peppermint is contained in Mistura Rhei et Sodae.

Dose, 5 to 15 m.; .30 to 1.00 c.c.

Oleum Menthae Piperita. Oil Of Peppermint

A volatile oil distilled from Peppermint.

Characters A colorless, or yellowish, or greenish-yellow liquid, becoming darker and thicker by age and exposure to the air, having the characteristic, strong odor of Peppermint, and a strongly aromatic, pungent taste, followed by a sensation of cold when air is drawn into the mouth. Sp. gr., 0.900 to 0.920.

Composition The chief constituents are – (1) Menthene, C10H18, the liquid Terpene obtained by distillation. (2) Menthol, the solid Stearopten (q. v.), 50 to 65 per cent.

Oil of Peppermint is contained in Pilulae Rhei Compositae.

Dose, 1 to 5 m.; .06 to .30 c.c.

Preparations 1. Aqua Menthae Piperitae. – Peppermint water. Oil of Peppermint, 2. By trituration with precipitated Calcium Phosphate, and filtration with distilled water to 1000.

Dose, 1/2 to 2 fl. oz.; 15. to 60. c.c.

2. Spiritus Menthae Piperitae. – See above.

3. Trochisci Menthae Piperitae. – Troches of Peppermint. Oil of Peppermint, I; Sugar, 80 gm.; Mucilage of Tragacanth to make 100 troches.

Dose, Freely.

Action And Therapeutics Of Peppermint

External The action of oil of peppermint is the same as that of volatile oils generally, but the cool, numb feeling often produced by volatile oils after the sensation has passed off is especially well marked with oil of peppermint; and this effect, which is due to the menthol in it, has caused it to be applied externally in neuralgia. Like many other volatile oils it is a powerful antiseptic. It is in common use as the “ peppermint test“ for defective plumbing.

Internal It is often used as a powerful stomachic and carminative, and also as a flavoring agent.