Wintergreen Essential Oil
There shouldn’t be too many people out there that have not heard of the wintergreen plant before. This is one of the most well-known of all the plants out there and it has really received a lot of press for how effective it is in dealing with pain especially from arthritis, joint pain and gout. People are also familiar with this essential oil because it is sold in so many stores, much more widely than most of the other essential oils that are out there. It is mostly the United States and the rest of North America that are familiar with the medicinal properties of this plant, as it is native to the continent and has been used by Native Americans for hundreds of years.
How is Wintergreen Essential Oil Manufactured?
Understanding the process by which the essential oil is extracted is somewhat important when you’re buying essential oils, because there are several factors that go into your selection based upon how the essential oil is manufactured. Just one example is price. The harder it is to extract essential oils or the lower the yields, the more expensive the cost will be to you the customer. In this case, steam distillation of the leaves of the plant is what provides the essential oil. The leaves are macerated in warm water and then processed was steam distillation.
Types of Wintergreen Essential Oil
You may have read or heard somewhere that the Birch tree bears the name Wintergreen essential oil as well. This is true but the Birch is not wintergreen and it is a misnomer. True Wintergreen essential oil is derived directly from the Gaultheria species and while varieties within that species all make Wintergreen essential oil, the Birch does not.
How to Use Wintergreen Essential Oil
There are lots of ways that Wintergreen essential oil is used today in order to provide health benefits to those who are sick or simply want to improve their overall health through alternative medicine. One of the most popular ways is to dilute the Wintergreen extract and use it in food. This is a perfectly acceptable use of the plant, but you should be left to experts because Wintergreen essential oil is so concentrated that it is toxic and can be deadly to human beings. In addition, wintergreen oil can be diluted and diffused or even applied topically. It is already present in a number of topical pain medications and various other health products.
Composition of Wintergreen Essential Oil
- Menthyl Salicylate
Aromatic Description of Wintergreen Essential Oil
You may be wondering what Wintergreen essential oil smells like. As you might imagine, it is a very strong and minty flavor. It is also very sweet and pleasing to the nose. This fragrance is popular in aromatherapy because it is so stimulating to the human body and mind and it is one of the reasons that it is added to so many balms, lotions and topical creams.
Precautions & Side Effects of Wintergreen Essential Oil
There are some things that you want to keep in mind with this particular essential oil and of course, with all essential oils. With Wintergreen essential oil in particular the component Menthyl Salicylate is extremely toxic. In fact, experts recommend that you don’t ingest Wintergreen essential oil or use in aromatherapy at all, even if it is diluted. That’s how dangerous this particular substance is. Make sure that you know what you’re doing before you use Wintergreen. Even topically, there have been deaths from people rubbing too much of cream that contained Menthyl Salicylate. Never give it to children, women who are pregnant or nursing, people who are sensitive to salicylates and definitely keep it away from your pets.
Attributes of Wintergreen Essential Oil
|analgesic||X||Reduces pain in muscles and joints|
|anti-arthritic||X||Reduces arthritis symptoms|
|antibiotic||Keeps biotic infections from developing|
|antidepressant||Helps to alleviate depression|
|antiemetic||Prevents nausea and vomiting|
|anti-galactogogue||Reduces milk supply in the body|
|antifungal||Kills harmful fungal life forms|
|antimicrobial||Kills microbial life forms that cause disease|
|anti-neuralgic||Counteracts nerve pain|
|anti-rheumatic||X||Counteracts pain from rheumatism|
|antiseborrhoeic||Keeps the body from making an unhealthy amount of sebum|
|antiseptic||X||Prevents growth of organisms which cause disease|
|antispasmodic||X||Prevents spasms from occurring|
|antiviral||Kills viral agents|
|aphrodisiac||Increases sexual desires|
|astringent||X||Causes skin tissue to contract – to counter lines and wrinkles|
|bactericidal||X||Kills bacterial agents|
|carminative||X||Prevents formation of gas in the GI tract|
|cholagogue||Assists with the discharge of bile|
|cicatrisant||Assists in the formation of healthy scar tissue|
|circulatory||Promotes healthy circulatory system function|
|decongestant||Reduces or eliminates congestions of nasal cavities|
|deodorant||Eliminates and prevents body odor|
|depurative||Helps to detoxify the body|
|Digestive||Helps with the digestion of food|
|diuretic||X||Removes excess water from the body|
|expectorant||Loosens mucous and helps clear it from the body|
|emenagogue||X||Promotes healthy menstrual discharge|
|febrifuge||Aids in the reduction of fever|
|hepatic||Promotes healthy liver function|
|hypotensive||Helps to lower blood pressure|
|Insecticide||Kills certain types of insects or pests|
|muscle relaxant||Relaxes tight muscles and prevents muscle spasms|
|nervine||Reduces anxiety and calms the nerves|
|sedative||Aids in calming or induces sleepiness|
|stimulant||X||Increases physiological or nervous system activity|
|stomachic||Aids in a healthy appetite or digestion|
|sudorific||Promotes or aids in activation of sweat glands|
|tonic||Tones the skin or muscles|
|vermifuge||Kills parasitic worms|
|vulnerary||Promotes rapid healing of wounds|
What is Wintergreen Essential Oil Used For?
You probably can guess that the primary use of Wintergreen essential oil is as an analgesic. This is the most famous property that this particular essential oil has. When it is rubbed onto an area that is painful, the oil is absorbed and the area becomes numb and stops hurting. It also increases circulation which can help to reduce pain as well. In addition, wintergreen is an anodyne, which means that not only does it help to eliminate pain it also promotes relaxation. Strangely enough, wintergreen also has the additional property of being a stimulant. Two of the major attributes that have to do with this painkilling power of Wintergreen are its anti-arthritic and anti-rheumatic properties.
Since a little too much of this essential oil can be fatal to human beings, you might have guessed that it is also harmful to bacteria. The antiseptic properties of Wintergreen will kill bacteria, fungi, viruses and even protozoa – the four causes of infection in the human body. This should only be done by a licensed medical provider however because it can easily result in fatality instead. Of course, many aromatherapy offices use Wintergreen essential oil in a diluted form in their sessions. It has a very pleasant smell but it should be used very sparingly and only by someone who knows what they are doing.
Wintergreen essential oil is also astringent, which means that when it is applied topically, it can cause muscles and tissue to contract which can improve the look of aging on skin and help with internal organs as well. The other affects the Wintergreen essential oil has like being carminative and diuretic may make it seem like it is okay to take it internally, but the truth is, you should avoid ingesting this essential oil no matter what. Wintergreen essential oil is used to treat bites, stings, sores, cuts, bruises and more, but since it being in contact with blood can be very dangerous it should only be attempted by a healthcare provider.
Recommended Combinations Involving Wintergreen Essential Oil
The Final Word on Wintergreen Essential Oil
The unfortunate truth is, when it comes to Wintergreen essential oil you should probably just avoid it altogether. Although there are some amazing health benefits that come with it, and people that suffer from pain may be able to get relief without having to use prescription pain medication, it is still very dangerous and if you take it wrong it could very well kill you. Unless you are an expert on this and other essential oils you may want to skip this one. While there are a lot of health benefits that can be had by using Wintergreen essential oil, there is a lot of danger of using too much and accidentally poisoning yourself