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I've looked all around online for an answer to this. Some sites say menthol causes blood vessels in the nose to constrict, some sites say it causes blood vessels to expand. Many sites simply say it's a remedy, but with no explanation.

And if it does cause the constriction or expansion of blood vessels, what's that got to do with making the stuffiness go away?

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Menthol is stimulating action potential at cells which are inducing thermoception. As far as I have found out it does not have any effect beyond that. The patients only feel like they can breath better while it could not be proven that they actual do.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/18702906/

The blood vessel thing : In general "cold" is a cause for vasoconstriction - that might lead to the conclusion that menthol is doing the same. I have no experental background on that but - after online research :-D- it seems like that menthol causes vasodilatation.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for the correct answer. Fyi: If menthol caused vasodilation, there would be an increase in stuffiness, which is not the case. One can decrease nasal stuffiness with vasoconstrictors, like phenylephrine hcl. The reverse holds as well. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Apr 1 '18 at 0:27

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