Substances like wintergreen essential oil can make our lives healthier and even easier without resorting to synthetic means. You’ve probably used wintergreen oil in some version already. It’s present in gum, candy, and mentholated balms.
Wintergreen is also present in many ointments for pain relief. This is due to its fresh, minty fragrance that can suppress pain and enhance our mental well-being. Want to find out more about wintergreen essential oil? Let’s explore everything about it!
What Is Wintergreen Essential Oil?
We get wintergreen essential oil from an evergreen shrubbery plant officially named Gaultheria procumbens. The plant family it comes from is Ericaceae, and it’s a native North American plant that is grown in Canada as well. This is a low-growing shrub that does best growing in organic, rich soil in the shade, so you can expect to find it in cool, moist forests and mountains.
You can recognize the wintergreen plant by the oval, glossy leaves, white blooms, and long stem. The oil comes from the leaves. It has a fresh, slightly sweet scent that isn’t too different from mint.
While the smell of wintergreen essential oil may be pungent, it’s pleasant enough for use in different situations. Its color is mostly pinkish or pale yellow.
Wintergreen essential oil is 99 percent methyl salicylate, which gives it those healthy and healing properties we all covet. However, this is a toxic substance as well, so be sure to take the needed precautions when you're considering the use of wintergreen oil.
There are also some other substances included such as limonene, delta-cadinene, and myrcene. Its overall chemical makeup is very similar to birch essential oil, so you may be able to substitute the two for some recipes.
Can you blend wintergreen essential oil with other oils?
It is possible to blend wintergreen essential oil with other kinds of essential oils. In fact, since this oil is so potent, it should ideally be diluted in a carrier oil before use. This could be olive, coconut, argan, or any other kind of oil that can absorb the essential oil benefits.
To gain several benefits at once, you can also mix wintergreen oil with basil, marjoram, peppermint, lemongrass, lavender, cypress, geranium, and bergamot essential oils. A few drops of each essential oil would suffice.
There are also some essential oils that may provide a substitute for wintergreen essential oil. Since some people may be allergic to this oil or find it too strong, you can try using white fir, spearmint, cypress, or peppermint essential oils for many of the same benefits.
Health Benefits of Wintergreen Essential Oil
We now come to the health benefits found in wintergreen essential oil. However, like any other essential oil or medical preparation, seek the advice of your own medical professional before you try any new product. While it might be poisonous when directly ingesting, you should know its uses so you can have a handy solution nearby when required. These benefits are thus as follows:
It’s an analgesic
Wintergreen essential oil is very useful because of its analgesic properties. It is one of those essential oils that are specifically chosen for pain relief.
How to use it as an analgesic:
You can use wintergreen essential oil as an analgesic by rubbing a diluted solution of it on the area that's hurting. This could be a minor wound, injury, muscle spasm, or a pulled muscle. Whatever the case, simply put a few drops of wintergreen essential oil in half a cup of carrier oil and massage this mixture on the area in question. Doing this will numb the pain and enhance blood circulation, thereby speeding up healing and providing warmth.
It provides enhanced relaxation
You may find it difficult to fall asleep at night or just find yourself tensed up without any reason. It’s important to relax to get your work done, so use wintergreen essential oil for a better sleep.
How to use it to enhance relaxation:
You can put a few drops of wintergreen essential oil on your pillow before lying down. Alternatively, place a few drops in a diffuser and let the scent permeate the whole room. This will hopefully melt away your tension and ensure that you fall asleep easily. If you're in pain due to an illness or injury, inhaling the scent of wintergreen essential oil can help you mellow out without the help of a painkiller every time.
It helps you deal with arthritis
Osteoarthritis occurs when our joints start seizing up and become painful to move due to years of wear and tear. Wintergreen essential oil can, fortunately, have a stimulating effect when used properly on our aging joints. The external application of this oil results in quick penetration through the skin.
How to use it to deal with arthritis:
Dilute a few drops of wintergreen essential oil with some carrier oil. Adjust the quantities as needed, and then massage your joints with the result. The oil will soon penetrate into the offending tissues, muscles, and other areas, improving blood circulation to allow free movement.
Muscle spasms are painful and inconvenient conditions. Spasms can also occur in certain internal systems, including the respiratory, nervous, and digestive workings. Spasmodic coughs can become especially uncomfortable. Luckily, wintergreen is a known natural remedy for all these problems.
How to use it to relieve spasms:
You can use wintergreen essential oil to relieve spasms of all kinds by diluting it with a carrier oil. If you use coconut oil, just add some beeswax in it and freeze the resulting mixture to make your own wintergreen natural balm. Applying this on your chest or any other offending area will greatly reduce digestive disorders, muscular cramps, spasmodic coughs, and much more.
It helps to prevent microbial infections
Wintergreen essential oil is known for its high level of toxicity to humans, but this also means it’s toxic to unwanted bacteria and microbes. Hence, you can use it with certain precautions to treat fungus, protozoa, and viruses too.
How to use it to prevent microbial infections:
You should first dilute some drops of the wintergreen oil in a pure carrier oil. Avoid applying even the diluted mixture to an open wound, especially if it’s still bleeding. Simply apply it on unbroken skin, since it will naturally seep into the blood and the tissues.
It stimulates blood circulation
As mentioned above, wintergreen essential oil is a great way to stimulate blood circulation naturally. This is due to its warming and loosening effect. In this manner, it can contribute to the easy discharge of several substances in our bodies, including gastric juices, urine, ovarian discharge, hormones, and enzymes. This is because it does away with the obstructions inside your body that are causing you harm.
How to use it to stimulate blood circulation:
You can use wintergreen essential oil along with a carrier oil to massage your whole body. You can massage your legs and feet with it regularly to help the blood flow easily inside your body. The warming effect will also come in handy if you apply its mixture to an area that’s suffering from frostbite.
It works as an astringent
An astringent is any substance that can contract the skin cells and make them less prone to cutting. Wintergreen essential oil includes this property along with many others. It can contract your muscles and your skin for a firming, lifting effect. This may help you feel better, look younger, and even stop hemorrhaging from cuts or wounds. Its use might even make your hair stronger and thicker.
How to use it as an astringent:
You can utilize this oil as an astringent by putting a few drops in your shampoo or diluting it with a carrier oil. Massage the oil onto the area where you want more firmness. The results will soon become apparent with regular use.
Excessive gases in our digestive system can lead to flatulence, bloating, and a number of other uncomfortable symptoms. You can get rid of embarrassing flatulence by using wintergreen essential oil in the right manner.
How to use it to relieve flatulence:
Since wintergreen essential oil has carminative effects, it can help with flatulence. However, it still shouldn’t be taken orally. No matter how light or diluted the dose is, always go for external use over internal. Dilute some drops in a carrier oil and massage it on your stomach. This will eventually result in expelling the unwanted gases.
It helps promote urination
Not urinating enough could lead to several health issues, including a decrease in kidney and liver function. To avoid these deadly conditions, try using wintergreen essential oil for removing internal obstructions and flushing out your toxins.
How to use it to promote urination:
Wintergreen essential oil is also a diuretic, which means that it can help you urinate more frequently. Massage your abdominal area with a diluted mixture of this oil or inhale it using a diffuser. When you do this regularly, you should be able to urinate out the excessive unwanted substances in your body.
It’s an emmenagogue
Many women have issues with irregular cycles, painful periods, and bloating due to delayed menses. If you know that you aren’t pregnant and want to induce your period, wintergreen essential oil can be of great help. This is due to its properties as an emmenagogue, which means that it can simulate menstrual flow or increase it if your period is too light.
How to use it as an emmenagogue:
If you're facing obstructed menstruation, you might also be undergoing irritated moods, hair loss, weakened health, and other problems. Sort this out the natural way with wintergreen essential oil. Again, dilute some drops in a carrier oil and massage it on your pelvic area regularly. This practice will hopefully not only jumpstart your period, but can also lessen the fatigue, pain, and nausea that comes with it.
Everyday Uses of Wintergreen Essential Oil
Other than the specific health benefits, you can also use wintergreen essential oil for several other everyday purposes. These are more general and come in handy for a variety of purposes. We’ll list a few below:
It’s a relaxing bath
There’s nothing like a soothing bath to melt away the stress of a long day. Wintergreen essential oil has a fragrance that can immediately lift your spirits, freshens you up, and enhances your focus at the same time.
How to use it for a relaxing bath:
All you have to do is add one or two drops of wintergreen essential oil to a bath full of warm water. Take care not to add too much, since you don’t want to risk suffering from its toxic effect.
It’s a stress reliever
High levels of stress are unfortunately quite common in the modern world. Synthetic medicines and pills can only go so far in helping us deal with this issue, so a more natural way is better. Wintergreen essential oil can soothe us not just in the bath, but in workplaces as well.
How to use it as a stress reliever:
You can add some drops of wintergreen essential oil to a room diffuser or air purifier. This will help you get rid of the tensions piling up when deadlines are looming. Practice this in your home office or outside when possible, and you’ll soon see the difference! Alternatively, you can simply massage a diluted mixture of the oil into your shoulders, neck, and temples to do away with those tension headaches.
It eliminates unpleasant smells
Enclosed spaces like offices and even homes can sometimes be inundated with foul, unpleasant smells. These could come from dampness, a dead animal, or even cooking. Luckily, wintergreen essential oil can freshen up your surroundings in no time.
How to use it to eliminate unpleasant smells:
If you can’t deal with the source of the unpleasant smell right away, mask the odor by putting some wintergreen oil in an air diffuser. If you’re into candle-making, you can also try putting a few drops into a homemade candle and lighting it to clear the air.
Things to Consider Before Buying Wintergreen Essential Oil
Before you set about buying wintergreen essential oil, or any essential oil for that matter, keep in mind that there are several versions out there. There are no industry standards to control the production of essential oils, so the cheap drugstore variety probably has several contaminants.
Hence, you should be wary of any labels, like "pure," "organic," or "natural." The manufacturer likely doesn’t have to answer to anyone for using such claims. What you should do is make sure you get a therapeutic grade of wintergreen essential oil. Preferably, the brand you choose should have the following properties:
Warnings/Precautions/Side Effects You Should Know
Before you consider the use of wintergreen essential oil, make sure you know about the necessary precautions. The methyl salicylate content in this oil is very high, so the level of toxicity should be accounted for. The first precaution to take is never to ingest this oil at all. Even when vaporized or used topically, you should be careful not to use it in an excess amount.
If you have decided to use this oil, perform a test on a small area of your skin first. Apply a tiny amount and check for any allergic reactions for up to 24 hours. If any occur, don’t use it any further. Children, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and those suffering from epilepsy also need to stay away from this oil due to its triggering qualities and toxicity. The same goes for those who are allergic to common aspirin.
Some side effects may include hives, swelling, pain, blistering, and burning of the skin. If you ingest this oil, you may damage your liver and kidneys.
While the uses of wintergreen essential oil are evident, we shouldn’t use it without gaining adequate knowledge about its side effects. Make sure you take the needed precautions, and consult your doctor before you begin any new product, to avoid negative results. If you do, you may look forward to a wonderfully natural and effective means of pain relief and various other benefits!
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