What can I do with a pound of menthol crystals?
June 30, 2014 1:16 PM   Subscribe

I purchased menthol crystals online, with no specify purpose outside of trying to see if I could use it as a flavoring. That was a bust [more inside,] but now I have a pound of very strong crystals that I have no idea what to do with. I'm looking for creative applications, and I'm out of ideas- and I'm not interested in using these with a vaporizer, which seems to be what the internet recommends.

This all started based on a dream I had several years back where I was running a coffee shop, selling mentholated coffee, and it was delicious as well as sinus clearing in my dream. This dream wasn't worth following - It was definitely not anywhere near as good in real life, although it did a good job of re-formatting my sinuses. It seems like using this as a flavoring is "not recommended," but I'm still curious if there is an application here.

I've also tried making a menthol/rubbing alcohol/witch-hazel rub, which seems to work great as an itch remedy, if you don't mind not being able to feel anything for the next few hours.

I've additionally heard that mites hate it - I presently have 54 chigger bites, so this is of immediate appeal, but I have no idea how to apply it in this manner.

Ultimately, I love menthol -- I love the cooling effect of it (think mint soap in the summer) and what it does for my sinuses, but I have NO IDEA how to use what is basically a industrial grade chemical. Does anyone have any experience with this? I'm open to literally ANY ideas outside of the vaping realm.
posted by MysticMCJ to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Would it be possible to use them in homemade bath salts? Add some to some epsom salt with some essential oils for pretty smells!
posted by foxfirefey at 1:21 PM on June 30, 2014

I checked Google and seemed to find a lot of "menthol crystals can be used for [foo] and [baz]" advice but only this page seemed to have a recipe. That may be a place to start - it discusses making a salve type of application.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:22 PM on June 30, 2014

I like the bath salts idea - I'm a bit worried about strength of the solution, but I can likely start weak.

Google seems to have a lot of - well, less than useful advice here, and I see a lot of contradictory posts and few official sources other than sites listing potential hazards of menthol crystals.
posted by MysticMCJ at 1:26 PM on June 30, 2014

I went and found a specific recipe for bath products and salves using menthol crystals. They also give some really handy advice for concentration.
posted by foxfirefey at 1:28 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

You can grow very large and pretty menthol crystals (especially when viewed through polarized light), but I seem to remember they sublimate at low temperature. They're kind of nasty to handle, too.
posted by scruss at 1:49 PM on June 30, 2014

Also salve and soap.

I don't know how to phrase this delicately, but if you make your own salve, soap or bath salts using industrial menthol, and you are not possessed of female genitalia, please be exceedingly, excessively careful before sharing it with anyone. There is refreshing, and then there is the horrifying sensation of Holymarymotherofgodsweetdivinejesus COLD MINT FIRE caused by the most innocuous products.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:51 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ferran Adria has a recipe in this book that calls for menthol candies to be used as a garnish for watermelon. It's quite nice.

I would delve into other 'modernist cuisine' applications, they're probably used in other places.
posted by furnace.heart at 2:01 PM on June 30, 2014

Use to repel mice and insrcts.
posted by bad grammar at 2:14 PM on June 30, 2014

There are many recipes for DIY tiger balm that call for menthol, but you'd need to acquire the other essential oils too.
posted by homodachi at 3:48 PM on June 30, 2014

If you're looking, at least in part, to get rid of them, you might be able to sell the crystals in 30 or 50g packets on Etsy--looks like they go for about $3-$5/oz.
posted by MeghanC at 6:04 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

DarlingBri: I have encountered that as a male to some extent between both Dr. Bronners Peppermint Soap, and accidental contact with Biofreeze. I can't even imagine how that would feel.

MeghanC: I don't know if I'm ready to become a crystal menth dealer just yet, but that's not a bad idea. I was just hoping to be able to do more with it that I just didn't know I could yet.

Thanks to everyone for the answers so far... I've been secretly hoping that someone would come along who had a subscribe-and-save for menthol crystals and tons of uses for them. Having been here for some time, I've come to expect that at this point.
posted by MysticMCJ at 10:29 AM on July 1, 2014

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