How Wintergreen Essential Oil Can Benefit the Body
Gaultheria Procumbens, better known as wintergreen is a low-growing shrub, typically reaching 10–15 centimetres in height. Gaultheria Procumbens often grows in China and Canada. Its flowers produce fiery red berries between October and March. The leaves of the Gaultheria Procumbens are used in medical treatments to relieve fever or rheumatism.
Wintergreen essential oil is obtained by steam distilling the leaves of the plant. Nowadays, it is used for massages or in gels; the wintergreen has a strong “minty” odor and flavor.
It is one of the few essential oils that contains only one molecule. The oil contains up to 99% methyl salicylate and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. The other 1% includes traces of monoterpenes, monoterpenol, alcohol, aldehydes, and ketones.
How does wintergreen essential oil benefit the body?
The other species of wintergreen is known as Gaultheria Fragrantissima, which comes from Nepal in the Himalayas, and has similar characteristics to Gaultheria Procumbens. The only difference is that Gaultheria Fragrantissima has less methyl salicylate. Acetylsalicylic acid, better known as aspirin, is a derivative from methyl salicylate. This fact explains why Gaultheria Procumbens oil is more commonly used in inflammatory-related treatments.
Furthermore, when wintergreen oil is rubbed directly on the skin, it’s able to clear up affected areas immediately. The oil absorbs through the skin and brings warmth to the area which reduces muscle pain, relieves tension and increases blood circulation. Gaultheria Procumbens oil is, therefore, paramount in cases when treating rheumatism, osteoarthritis, muscle cramps, achy joints, sore muscles, lower back pain, tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), cystitis, and kidney stones.
In addition to its remarkable anti-inflammatory properties, wintergreen essential oil has antispasmodics, hypotensive, slightly vasodilator, and analgesic properties. It is used to remedy headaches, hypertension, menstrual cramps, and coronary artery disease – all which are considered inflammatory.
However, wintergreen essential oil is commonly associated with pain relief and therefore needed for massages to improve poor blood circulation. Another way to use this oil is inhaling straight from the bottle which can help in cases of hypertension.
When to avoid using wintergreen oil
Wintergreen essential oil should not be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. It can only be used by children over the age of 6 as it can cause skin flare-ups and reactions. For this reason, we recommend diluting wintergreen oil with vegetable oil before applying to skin.
Additionally, because this oil mainly contains methyl salicylate, people with aspirin-related allergies should avoid using this oil. People who are being treated with anticoagulants (warfarin) should use this oil with caution.
Wintergreen essential oil provides many benefits for the body and is one of the most popular anti-inflammatory oils around today.
China and Canada
- Vasodilator, analgesic
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle pain relief
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Nephritic colitis
Due to the risk of skin irritations, avoid using
- When pregnant
- While breastfeeding
- For children under 6
- Using wintergreen oil and taking aspirin at the same time can cause side effects
- Use with caution, if being treated for anticoagulant