Wintergreen oil has a cool, mint-like fragrance that is readily recognized — if not actually identified — by most people today, due to its use as a flavoring agent in gum, candy and toothpaste. However, wintergreen has much more to offer, therapeutically. It soothes achy muscles and joints, and promotes healthy respiratory function. When diffused, its refreshing and cooling aroma evokes clarity, awareness and concentration.
Wintergreen essential oil is derived from the leaves of a creeping shrub found in coniferous areas. Growing up to six inches in height, it contains bright red fruit, has oval leaves and small, white bell-shaped flowers.
Wintergreen oil is steam distilled from the small leaves of the Gaultheria procumbens plant, yielding an oil with a sweet, minty, refreshing aroma, high in the chemical compound methyl salicylate, a phenolic ester. While some producers also distill wintergreen oil from the bark of the Gaultheria procumbens tree, the best oil comes from the leaves. Wintergreen and birch are the only plants in the world that contain natural methyl salicylate.
The main chemical component in wintergreen, methyl salicylate, makes this oil very useful for soothing achy muscles and joints. When diffused, wintergreen promotes healthy respiratory function, and its refreshing and cooling aroma evokes clarity, awareness and concentration.
Primary benefits of wintergreen oil
- Soothes achy muscles and joints
- Promotes healthy respiratory function
- Frequently used in gum, candy, and toothpaste for flavoring
Uses for wintergreen oil
- Wintergreen has a warming effect, when applied to skin, and is excellent to use in a massage, to soothe sore muscles and joints. However, a little goes a long way; so use sparingly, and dilute with fractionated coconut oil, to help minimize any possible skin sensitivity.
- For a soothing bath, add 1 – 2 drops of wintergreen essential oil to warm bath water. Note: This oil should be added to a bath gel or salts, before adding it to bath water, to protect against “puddling” on sensitive areas of the body.
- Wintergreen essential oil is not recommended for internal use and should be stored out of reach from children.
How to use
Wintergreen oil is intended for aromatic or topical use. While not necessarily required for any one, except those with sensitive skin, dilution is strongly recommended when using topically.
- Diffusion: Use three to four drops in the diffuser of your choice.
- Topical use: Apply one to two drops to desired area. Dilution with carrier oil will help to minimize any possible skin sensitivity. See additional precautions below.
Cautions: Possible skin sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children. If you are pregnant, nursing, or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician. Avoid contact with eyes, inner ears and sensitive areas.