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Why does holding a life saver peppermint candy to my tongue hurt? Does it have something to do with the chemical makeup of the candy?

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Erm...I can't say I'm familiar with the chemical makeup of lifesavers...sugar, flavoring, and coloring? –  mike Jul 24 '13 at 4:03

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

"Menthol, [is] the cooling natural product of peppermint...Menthol induces the sensation of cooling by activating TRPM8, an ion channel in cold-sensitive peripheral sensory neurons. Recent studies identified additional targets of menthol, including the irritant receptor, TRPA1, voltage-gated ion channels and neurotransmitter receptors. It remains unclear which of these targets contribute to menthol-induced analgesia, or to the irritating side effects associated with menthol therapy." (citation)

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