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.
In an unprecedented high, the Indian price for Mentha piperita oil surpassed the North American oil rates. The reasons behind this are the emergent demand for Indian oil. The inventory of Mentha piperita oil before the start of crop harvest is very poor. Certain quantities are being held up by the farmers themselves in anticipation of a price rise.
However, these reasons are neither good nor sustainable to determine price. The Indian harvest is in June/July, andmonitoring the weather is a critical factor for yields and overall volumes.
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