Menthol is a ubiquitous cooling agent used in a wide variety of products. But it turns out that nutmeg packs a punch 30 times stronger, making it the most powerful natural cooling agent known. Tomohiro Shirai and colleagues at Kao Corporation in Tochigi, Japan, identified a neolignan compound (a class of compounds that bind to a cold-sensitive ion channel in the body to trigger a cooling sensation) in nutmeg that binds at a different molecular site than menthol, suggesting that the two might be usefully combined. Used in mouthwash for a 30 second rinse, the new compound took five minutes to kick in as strongly as menthol, but then gave a cooling sensation lasting 30 minutes instead of menthol’s 10 minutes.