Mint contains menthol, which can chemically trigger the receptors responsible for feeling cold in the skin (the [TRPM8](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRPM8) receptors). It’s similar to how capsaicin, a chemical in hot chile peppers, triggers the receptors that feel heat without actually being hot.
Some sensory neurons are specialized in detecting thermal sensation. This is done through a family of molecular receptors called Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) cation channels which start a neural signal when activated. There are different TRP subsets which are activated at different temperatures. One of the “cold sensing” TRPs is called TRPM8 which activates at around 8-28°C. Some substances like Menthol or Eucalyptol (which plants like peppermint produce) trick TRPM8 into activating thus eliciting a “cold” sensation.
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