Wintergreen Essential Oil, sometimes called Gaultheria Oil, is derived from the leaves of the Wintergreen herb, also known as Teaberry, Partridge Berry, and Checkerberry. The plant receives it name from its natural predisposition to continue to photosynthesize even during the winter months, thus keeping the plant’s green colour year-round. Plants in this category of vegetation are now referred to as “evergreen” plants. Despite its minty fragrance, Wintergreen is not a member of the Mint family; however, it does belong to a family of other aromatic botanicals. The main component of Wintergreen Oil is Methyl Salicylate and the main reason for using the oil is to experience the benefits of this constituent, thus “Methyl Salicylate” is often used interchangeably with “Wintergreen Oil.”
According to historical records, some aboriginal tribes of North America, such as the Mohawk and Ojibwe people, discovered that use of the herb was beneficial for easing respiratory ailments, breathing difficulties, exhaustion, and weakness and for calming inflammation and pain. They chewed the leaves to help reduce fevers and to prevent against infections, and they used the leaves to make poultices in order to decrease pain, soreness, and irritation. For hundreds of years since, Wintergreen has continued to be used for its energizing effect and for its immune-boosting quality. Just as in history, it is often present in balms that are meant to improve circulation; soothe muscular aches, bruises, and sores; and to reduce joint pain, swelling, fluid retention, and cramping.
Today, Wintergreen is commonly used in hair care as well as in topical products that help diminish cellulite, as well as symptoms of eczema and psoriasis. It is also often used in aromatherapy to help address headaches, hypertension, and even obesity, as its appetite-suppressing property is reputed to help manage cravings. Its invigorating quality creates the sense of enhanced cleanliness, making it a popular ingredient in oral hygiene products.
With a refreshingly cool, crisp, sweet aroma and flavour similar to that of Peppermint Oil, Wintergreen Oil has traditionally been used in culinary applications to flavor foods, beverages, confectionaries, medications, and household cleaning products. Its antioxidant properties have also made it a popular ingredient in cosmetics.
Used in aromatherapy applications, Wintergreen Essential Oil is known to emit a sweet, minty, and somewhat warming woody aroma that is reputed to have an uplifting, invigorating effect on the mood, making it ideal for boosting energy during times when the body feels lethargic. When diluted and diffused in a vaporizer, the clean, revitalizing, and deodorizing quality of Wintergreen Essential Oil eliminates stale or foul odors in indoor environments, while its mood-elevating property helps improve negative outlooks, feelings of stress and mental pressure, as well as concentration for a greater sense of emotional balance. Its strong aroma is also reputed to heighten sensory perception.
Used cosmetically on the skin, Wintergreen Essential Oil is often added to formulations for moisturizers and haircare products, as it is reputed to promote the complexion’s clarity and to help diminish the appearance of skin conditions characterized by irritation, including acne and dandruff. By causing the skin to contract with its astringent properties, Wintergreen Oil helps to tighten and lift the skin for a firmer, more youthful appearance. On the hair, its astringent effect strengthens the strands to prevent hair loss. When used in natural skincare products, Wintergreen Oil has a circulation-stimulating effect but should be used irregularly, as it may have a rubefacient effect if used too frequently or in high concentrations. For its deodorizing quality, Wintergreen Oil is sometimes added to natural deodorant recipes, as it conceals body odor while eliminating odor-causing bacteria.
Used medicinally, Wintergreen Essential Oil is reputed to increase circulation, enhance metabolic function and enhance digestion, promote the body’s detoxification, calm inflammation, ease pain, and soothe symptoms of psoriasis, colds, infections, as well as the flu. Those who suffer from arthritis, rheumatism, gout, joint pain, and muscular aches often seek out ointments with Wintergreen in their formulations, as its stimulating quality has an anesthetic effect that helps temporarily numb painful areas while simultaneously contributing the sensation of warmth. The stimulating activity of Wintergreen Oil helps prevent toxins from gathering in any one spot inside the body and helps to facilitate their elimination, which in turn helps naturally and safely shed weight as excess bodily pollutants are expelled. Its warming quality is also valuable for helping to resist or reverse obstructed blood flow, which makes it popular in remedies for frostbite, injuries, and stings or bites caused by poisonous or rabid animals and insects. When applied to infections and wounds, Wintergreen Oil is said to effectively speed up healing; however, it should never be applied directly to open wounds or come in contact with blood.
Used in massages, Wintergreen Essential Oil contributes a comforting sense of revitalization to exhausted and tender muscles. Its antispasmodic and carminative properties help to decrease spasms, whether they occur in the respiratory tract, the digestive or nervous systems, or in the muscles. This makes its application beneficial for addressing coughing fits, cramps, indigestion, flatulence, nervous convulsions, amenorrhea, and breathing difficulties caused by congestion or ailments such as asthma. Its pain-relieving properties help to soothe headaches as well as discomfort experienced in the lower back, nerves, joints, and ovaries.
As illustrated, Wintergreen Essential Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:
When using Wintergreen Essential Oil in aromatherapy applications, it is advised that it be used infrequently and well-diluted. Due to its potency, it should be diffused for a maximum of 10 minutes per each use and the uses should be spread several hours apart. It is safest in sparse amounts, 2-4 drops being the recommended number of drops to add to a diffuser and this simple method is reputed to be enough to help ease mental strain and nervousness; address fatigue with a burst of energy; increase endurance during exercise; enhance attentiveness, motivation, and focus; relieve nausea; suppress cravings and convince the body that the stomach has been satisfied; and to promote easier breathing by relieving sinus congestion.
For an air freshener enriched with the fresh scent of Wintergreen Oil, add 2-4 drops in a spray bottle filled with water, then cap the bottle and shake it well to thoroughly dilute the oil. This can be spritzed around the house, such as in the living room, kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere else that might have trapped odors. This simple spray is reputed to eliminate harmful bacteria and fungi. When sprayed in the bedroom before sleeping, it is reputed to promote relaxation, reduce feelings of discontent, and encourage the onset of sleep.
When applying Wintergreen topically, it is strongly recommended that one drop of the essential oil be diluted in four parts of a carrier oil. For a Wintergreen-enriched face wash that is reputed to eliminate acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation as well as the appearance of blemishes or other skin complaints, add 1-2 drops of Wintergreen Essential Oil to a regular face wash and apply it to the face as usual, avoiding contact with the eyes. This helps tone the skin and reduce the chances of future acne breakouts. Similarly, 1-2 drops may be added to a regular shampoo and applied to the hair to prevent hair loss, to remove dirt, microbes, dandruff, and excess oil, and to leave the strands scented with a sweet-smelling fragrance.
To make an all-natural moisturizer, 1-2 drops of Wintergreen Oil can be diluted in a preferred body lotion or foot cream for application to stiff, aching muscles. Alternatively, it may be diluted in a carrier oil of personal choice and applied to skin or to a scalp afflicted with dryness, itchiness, tenderness, and swelling. In the same way, Wintergreen Oil may be diluted in a carrier oil to make a massage blend that can be massaged into any preferred areas of skin that are not sensitive, such as the lower back or the stomach. This is known to help improve digestion and reduce bloating. When massaged into the pelvic regions, it is reputed to help stimulate menstruation in women who may be suffering from an obstructed or irregular flow. Furthermore, this helps reduce menstrual pain and cramping. When applied to areas of skin afflicted with pain, this dilution is known to reduce or relieve discomfort, swelling, and irritation. For safety reasons, massage oils should only ever contain a maximum of 1% Wintergreen Essential Oil.
For a natural salve that is reputed to support the health and function of the respiratory system, 1-2 drops of Wintergreen Oil can be diluted in a carrier oil and applied to the chest to relieve symptoms of colds and the flu, such as coughing and congestion. This is also reputed to allow for quality sleep as it encourages easier breathing and the body’s relaxation. This blend can be further diluted with Epsom Salts then added to a bath to facilitate recovery from colds, to release pain, to encourage a positive mood, and to diminish the appearance of blemishes. For enhanced effectiveness, Wintergreen may be blended with the essential oils of Bergamot, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint. A Wintergreen bath is safe to soak in for up to 15 minutes.
WINTERGREEN ESSENTIAL OIL
Botanical Name: Gaultheria procumbens
Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Steam distilled from leaves
Country of Origin: China
WINTERGREEN ORGANIC ESSENTIAL OIL
Botanical Name: Gaultheria fragrantissima Wall
Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Steam distilled from leaves
Country of Origin: Nepal
As with all other New Directions Aromatics products, Wintergreen Essential Oil is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Wintergreen Essential Oil without the medical advice of a physician, as it may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.
Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, epilepsy, heart-related ailments, skin disorders, hormone-related ailments, allergies to salicylates aspirin, asthma or nasal polyps, blood clotting disorders, sensitive skin, and connective tissue disorders.
Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, atherosclerosis, or seizures are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use. Wintergreen Oil should not be applied to open wounds or broken skin, as this may facilitate the oil’s penetration into the body in concentrations that may be toxic.
Prior to using Wintergreen Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the Essential Oil in 4 drops of a Carrier Oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Wintergreen Oil must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Wintergreen Oil include confusion, headaches, flushing, redness, burning, blistering, swelling, pain, stings, rashes, hives, ringing in the ears, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, acid reflux, heartburn, organ damage, mouth sores, and difficulty breathing.
Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this essential oil as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.