Peppermint’s cool and refreshing taste provides a welcome relief on warm days. The pleasant, cooling sensation associated with mojitos, mint tea and mentos is not simply imagination, but an intriguing illusion which plays on the mechanics of the brain.
Temperature is detected by nerve endings in our skin, which projects the information to specialised warmth receptors in the brain. The temperature we feel is determined by which receptors are activated. However, these receptors can be tricked. Menthol, a chemical found in mint leaves, stimulates cold receptors, creating a feeling of coolness.
As a result, the brain responds as if you’re stepping into the shade every time you take a sip of mint tea.