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DaVinci Coders
April 23rd, 2010 at 10:36 am

Why Does Mint Make Your Mouth Feel Cold?

mint_lump_candy 3412
Mint is a chilling herb and flavor
When you chew a piece of mint gum and then take a drink, the drink seems colder than it would otherwise. It’s not colder, that’s an illusion from your brain and a protein called TRPM8.

TRPM8 doesn’t just respond to cold temperatures, though. It also activates in the presence of menthol, a waxy, crystalline organic compound found in peppermint and other mint oils. (It responds to other “cooling agents,” too, like eucalyptol and icilin. Why, exactly, is unknown; menthol just happens to fit the cellular “lock.”)

 

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TRP-V1, another ion channel on the sensory neurons, displays a similar quirk. TRP-V1 is activated by hotter temperature, but also responds to capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the spiciness of hot peppers. This can cause even ice cold drinks to feel hot.So what would happen if you ate a chili pepper that’s been in the freezer, or a warmed up mint? Or ate a hot pepper and a cool mint at the same time? Would the hot and cold perceptions cancel each other out? To be honest, we’re not sure. Has anyone ever tried this at home?

 

Read about how this works at mental_floss. Link

via Neatorama

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