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.
Indian peppermint oil prices from June 2017 to May 2018 receded to levels just slightly below the North American oil. The main factors for this are the somewhat confusing GST tax regime and new currency changes in 2017-2018. The Indian rupee continues to weaken against the US dollar. Prices should remain around the levels of today but are positioned to firm up. Overall the rates are similar to last year with a modest firming due to many factors.
The crop is predicted to be delayed this year due to the late harvesting of potato which has impacted the usual crop cycle. Another significant factor is the 30% reduction in crop acreage. Despite these initial hurdles, the crop is progressing well. With extremely low carryover, it is going to be a tough road ahead this year, but distillation time promises to bring some respite with easing of prices, though this might be a temporary phase. Hope is pinned on a good demand, which will nudge the price of the pure Indian peppermint variety upwards.
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