Peppermint oil is extracted by steam distillation from the dried herb of Mentha piperita. The plant is native to Europe but is now cultivated in many parts of the world. The largest producers are America, China and India, with India producing around 600-700MT per annum (2014/15).
It grows in the traditional 'Mint Regions' of India, which are the north and north west areas of the country.
India's piperita exports in 2014 were approximately 400MT with Europe seen as the biggest buyer (France and UK totalling 43%) whilst the USA took 30% of India's exports.
Peppermint has a wide variety of uses across many sectors but is most commonly seen in products such as teas, candy, chocolate, aromatherapy, oral care, chewing gums and insect repellents.
Peppermint is also known for its health benefits including the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive complaints.
The first harvest of the season is completed and the second one is just beginning. At 590 MT this season’s crop output is somewhat lower than last year’s crop of 750 MT. India holds second position (after the USA) among the M. piperita mint producing countries with an annual production of 500-750 MT. The claims on Indian peppermint oil seem to be rather weak as there is little demand from the US markets. However, requirements from Europe, China and other key markets are coming in and demand from these quarters seems to be encouraging.
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