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Mentha Oil is the main by-product of the plant Mentha. The main products derived from Mentha Oil are Mint and Menthol.
Although the origin of Mentha is unknown, Europe is said to have started its cultivation. Commercially, Japan is said to have started the Mentha production in the 1870s.
India started Mentha cultivation in 1960s. During those days India was the importer of Menthol, which prompted farmers to start Mentha cultivation.
Mentha which is a rabi crop is usually sown in winter season. Sandy soil with high water content is most suitable for growing the plant.
The plant is harvested, when it reaches the flowering stage. At the flowering stage, the oil content in Mentha is very high.
The harvested crop is left to dry in the sun; after 2 to 4 days, the crop weight gets reduced to one-third of its original weight. The harvesting of Mentha is done twice in the season.
Mentha is an important crop in India due to its consumption pattern. The oil extracted from the Mentha is used in balms, cough drops, inhaler, toothpaste, mouthwashes etc.
When Mentha Oil is processed, menthol of about 40 to 50 percent and dementholized oil of about 60 percent is attained. Dementholised oil is used in sweets and peppermint oil.
The global consumption of Mentha Oil is increasing year on year, and India tops the list of Mentha Oil consuming countries.
Major Mentha Oil producing countries are India, China, Brazil, United States and Japan.
Mentha Oil producing states in India are Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
India is the leading producer and exporter of Mentha Oil in the world.
The major Mentha Oil importing countries are Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom and United States of America.
Local trading markets for Mentha Oil in India are:
Uttar Pradesh (Sambhal, Barabanki, Rampur, Chandausi, Badaun, Bareilly)
Mentha Oil is traded in the commodity futures market at Multi Commodity Exchange of India ltd (MCX).