Eli5: Why does water amplify the taste of mint?



Eli5: Why does water amplify the taste of mint?

In: Biology

I think it’s less the TASTE and more the cooling sensation that mint causes. Mint has a lot of menthol in it. Menthol reacts with the nerves in your mouth and tricks them into sending a fake “cold” signal to your brain, which is why mint feels so refreshing. When you drink water, the menthol is spread around your mouth and triggers even more nerves to send a cold signal, so the refreshing sensation is amplified.

This is actually very similar to why water also amplifies spicy things. Spicy foods have capsaicin, which reacts with your mouth the same way that menthol does, expect it causes a fake hot signal to your brain instead of cold. Water spreads that signal around your mouth, and makes everything feel like it’s burning.

One thing I know is that water will intensify the effect of any essential oil. While oil will dilute it.