11 Important Benefits of Wintergreen Essential Oil

The health benefits of Wintergreen Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties as an analgesic, anodyne, antirheumatic, antiarthritic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, aromatic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue and a stimulating substance.

The oil of wintergreen is a world famous name, and it is extremely popular with the people suffering from rheumatism, arthritis, gout, and pain in their bones and joints from any number of reasons. This oil can usually be found in every household because it has many common applications. This oil is readily available and can be found in a wide variety of stores. Wintergreen is a tree native to North America and it is believed to have been Native Americans who discovered the use of its oil to eliminate pain in the muscles and joints.

The botanical name of this shrub is Gaultheria Procumbens. The essential oil of this plant is extracted by steam distillation of its leaves. Methyl Salicylate and Gaultherilene are the two main components of this essential oil and Methyl Salicylate forms an integral part of almost every antiarthritic and analgesic balm for muscle and joint pain that is available on the market.

Health Benefits of Wintergreen Essential Oil

Let us quickly examine some of the most notable medicinal properties of this highly poisonous, yet very useful, essential oil.

Analgesic: When rubbed on the affected area, this oil is readily absorbed through the skin and the presence of Methyl Salicylate induces numbness and an anesthetic effect on the nerves there. It also increases circulation of the blood and brings warmth to the area.

Anodyne: This property means that an agent can eliminate pain and induce relaxation. Therefore, it is a combination of an analgesic and a relaxant. Wintergreen essential oil will eradicate pain and drive out stress and tension. This is a very pleasant way of getting a sound sleep at the end of the day for those who often lose sleep due to pain or stress.

wintergreen2Antirheumatic and Antiarthritic: These characteristics of the essential oil of wintergreen are based on the stimulating property of this oil. This oil fights rheumatism and arthritis in two ways. First, when applied externally, it easily penetrates through the skin around the muscles and tissues and stimulates circulation of blood in that location. This activity, apart from bringing warmth to the affected area, helps to clear obstructions in the flow of blood, which is one of the major causes behind rheumatism and arthritis, and it does not let toxins like uric acid accumulate at that spot. Secondly, although it is absorbed through the skin, it eventually reaches the blood stream, where it stimulates and increases urination, acting as a diuretic. This speeds up the removal of toxins like uric acid from the body through urination. The removal of excess water, fats, and salts through urine helps lose weight, which also reduces the effects of rheumatic conditions.

Antispasmodic: The relaxing and stimulating effect of this oil reduces spasms in the respiratory, muscular, digestive and nervous systems while providing relief from congestion in the chest, breathing trouble, asthma, spasmodic coughs, muscular cramps, digestive disorders, spasmodic diarrhea, convulsions and various nervous afflictions.

Antiseptic: The high degree of toxicity of this oil can make it fatal to human beings, and that means that it is fatal to bacteria and other microbes such a virus, fungi and protozoa as well. This quality is utilized to fight an infection that causes sepsis. It also kills the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus and cures sepsis. However, care should be taken to avoid direct contact with blood and it should never be applied to open wounds. Neither should it be taken orally to fight sepsis in the internal organs. Just applying this oil on the skin will be enough, as it will easily penetrate in the skin, be absorbed by the tissues and will then be absorbed into the blood stream, thus spreading into the internal organs as well.

Aromatic: Although it has a pungent aroma, it is not unpleasant.  In certain cases, it can be used to overcome or mask foul smells, but this oil is not for regular application, as it is quite powerful.

Astringent: Astringents like the essential oil of wintergreen has a lot to offer. It induces contractions in muscle tissue, skin, blood vessels and hair roots. This results in the contraction of muscles and skin which adds firmness to the muscles and lifts the skin, making you feel better and look younger. When it comes to blood vessels, this contraction helps to curb hemorrhaging from wounded or impacted vessels. The hair roots are also contracted and strengthened by this astringent effect.

Carminative: You may want to enjoy its carminative effects, but never take this oil orally, even in very light dilutions. Instead, once it is diluted in water, it can be rubbed on the belly which will eventually expel the gases.

Diuretic: The diuretic property of essential oil of wintergreen comes from its stimulating qualities. It stimulates the organs in the urinary system and filtration of water by the kidneys, thereby increasing the frequency and quantity of urine. This is of great help as it speeds up the removal of toxins like uric acid and protects from diseases like rheumatism, arthritis and others which are caused due to the accumulation of toxins. It also removes excess water, fat and salt from the body, thus helping cure edema, water logging, and hypertension, while aiding in weight loss. This also keeps kidneys and the urinary bladder clear and prevents formation of stones in those places.

Emmenagogue: Obstructed menstruation is a big problem faced by many women, more so in large cities. This condition should not be taken lightly as it may give rise to very serious problems like uterine ulcers and even uterine cancer. It results in pain in the abdominal region, irritation, annoyance, hair loss, failing health and various feminine problems. This problem can be sorted out with the help of an agent that can clear this obstruction and restart the menses. Furthermore, it can also make them regular. Luckily, there are many essential oils which can do this and the essential oil of wintergreen is one of them. It opens up menstruation and also helps get rid of problems like nausea, fatigue, and pain associated with difficult periods. But again, this cannot be stressed enough, it should not be taken orally.

Stimulant: Wintergreen essential oil is basically a stimulant and it promotes the discharge of gastric juices, bile, hormones, enzymes, ovarian and uterine discharges and even urine by stimulating the liver, gall bladder, endocrinal glands and the uterus. It also stimulates circulation of blood and lymph, digestion, excretion and the nerves.

Other Benefits: It is frequently used to treat snake bites, dog bites, stings from poisonous insects like scorpions, wasps, and bees. It is also beneficial for infected and rotting wounds, sores, and ulcers. Furthermore, it can also be used to counter obstructed blood circulation resulting from frostbite and extremely low temperatures, since it has a warming effect.

wintergreeninfographic

A Few Words of Caution

The essential oil of wintergreen is highly poisonous due to the presence of Methyl Salicylate. It should never be ingested and should not be used in aromatherapy. External application is sufficient for making this oil work inside since it easily seeps through the skin and is absorbed by the muscles and tissues. Furthermore, if accidentally ingested, it can cause severe damage to internal organs like the liver and kidneys. One more cautionary note, excessive external application on the skin can also turn fatal because of absorption of excessive Methyl Salicylate in the tissues and consequently in the blood stream. There have been examples of death of sportsmen who rubbed too much of a relaxing ointment on his thighs which contained Methyl Salicylate. It should never be given to patients who are hyper-reactive to salicylates.

Blending: The essential oil of wintergreen blends well with essential oils of mint, narcissus, oregano, thyme, vanilla and ylang-ylang oils.

References
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3995208/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2687118/
  3. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/tow232

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15 comments

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1

Is it safe to use during pregnancy?

2

Ok I have just read the above article and whilst it is informative there are a few questions. If it is an essential oil and for use on the skins why is there a warning not to use it in aromatherapy? Why does it state not to use it in an open wound and then says it can be used for dog bites, stings ect? Also the picture of of a Holly Leaf and Berry!! Winter green has rounded leaves.

3

Can wintergreen be diluted with water for use as a before sport rub

4

No not unless you have a emulsifier to keep the oil and water from separating, otherwise it will only float on the top of the water and be applied directly onto the skin. If you are interested in making a sports rub you can mix wintergreen oil into a carrier oil like olive oil 18 drops per ounce maxim, normally most sites say that you can use up to a 5% dilution but not with wintergreen it has a max of 3% for safety.

5
Jeanne_Theunissen

Great article, but the picture in fact shows holly rather than wintergreen.

6

This is excellent information. Thanks!

7

How much is too much? I layer Lemongrass, Peppermint and Wintergreen for my plantar fasciitis twice daily.

8

Hello i see you posted the question to how much wintergreen oil should be used for plantar fasciitis 6 months ago, and my question to is how has its been working for in way of healing?

9

Use rosemary essential oil, or any of several others, but but wintergreen for joint pain.

10

You make me hopeful, and scared by measures here! If you're not supposed to put it in open sores, how can it be used to treat dog bites or snake bites? Or rotting wounds, sores and ulcers? I have a painful condition in my elbow, and want to use it for that, but I'm a bit trepidatious about the amount that I could use, without poisoning myself. I understand that any essential oil should be used sparingly, but is this one so much stronger than the rest?

11

You make me hopeful, and scared by measures here! If you're not supposed to put it in open sores, how can it be used to treat dog bites or snake bites? Or rotting wounds, sores and ulcers? I have a painful condition in my elbow, and want to use it for that, but I'm a bit trepidatious about the amount that I could use, without poisoning myself. I understand that any essential oil should be used sparingly, but is this one so much stronger than the rest?

12
Meenakshi Nagdeve

Wintergreen oil has Menthyl Salicylate which makes it posionous. It can be externally applied with care but not on open sores. Do not ingest or use in aromatherapy.

13
Carol MacDowell

really like reading this it was very helpful will use it more often.

14

wintergreen oil is very good oil for joint pain and mussule pain. This oil is very fast reactive after applying oil. This oil will meet in india nilgiri hills.

15
Alan Frederick Catto

its an ingrediant in many over the counter burn and muscle pain creams but its very diluted, furteehr more even in 2% concentratin youre still not supposed to take it more than once every 2-3 days to treat pain and by the first week yif pain persists you are to stop useing it and consult a doctor.

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