Mentha is an aromatic herb, which also goes by the name Japanese pudina in India. Steam distillation and filtration of dried Mentha arvensis leaves produces mentha oil, which can be processed to yield menthol and other derivatives. Mentha oil and its derivatives are extensively used in food, pharmaceutical, perfumery, and flavouring industry.
Mentha arvensis was first introduced in India between 1958 and 1964 by the Regional Research Laboratory, Jammu Tawi. In the 1980s, new strains were introduced by the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) that gave improved oil yields. By 1996, India was producing 6000 tonnes of mentha oil and surpassed 45,000 tonnes in 2013, according to trade sources. Much of the increase in mentha oil production, particularly its exports, came in after 2004, after the introduction of futures contracts based on mentha oil as the underlying. India is the largest producer and exporter of mentha oil and its derivatives.