You must have previously figured the taste of wintergreen in many chewing gums, mints and smokeless tobaccos. Since it also comes under Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, it is highly beneficial for the ones who are addicted to substance abuse.
If you are suffering from troubling aches in your muscles and joints, then no doubt wintergreen oil can be beneficial for you. Some drops of wintergreen oil and a regular massage on the aching area can do a lot better in reducing your pain.
The history of wintergreen oil stretches back when the European settlers went to North America. They grabbed all the medicinal information about Wintergreen leaves quickly, and in a short period, it became popular in the colonies. It played the role of a stimulant, as well as a prophylactic against toothache. Well, from that phase to the time of the Revolutionary War, when the price of black tea became prohibitive, the American soldiers maintained their energy, by replacing it with a beverage made of wintergreen berries instead.
The researchers have known various benefits and prepared different remedies by using wintergreen, and they are still looking for more.
An Overview of Wintergreen Oil
As per the early researches, the researchers found that wintergreen oil has methyl salicylate in it, which provides it with the properties that can help in reducing pain. Using methyl salicylate can result to be toxic for the skin. It is harmful even if someone uses very little quantity. It needs a carrier oil to dilute its toxicity. One should not consume wintergreen oil by ingestion. It is highly toxic for the gut and can lead to hospitalization.
Producers of wintergreen oil extract the wintergreen oil(1) from the Gaultheria procumbens plant. It’s an evergreen plant, which is native to the regions of North America, Alabama, and Georgia. It has an almost straight stem accompanied by shiny and glossy leaves. The flowers of the wintergreen plant are bell-shaped and white. These flowers produce red berries, which are also useful for many purposes. The leaves produce the essential oil of wintergreen.
The scent of the oil spreads a refreshing fragrance, like that of mint. People locally refer to the wintergreen plant as teaberry or checkerberry.
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What is the composition of Wintergreen oil?
The composition of wintergreen oil constitutes a lot of essential elements that give it a unique role in eliminating many problems. The wintergreen oil contains around 90% to 98% methyl salicylate which plays a crucial role in acting upon the aching parts. The main chemical present in it is responsible for healing the damages of joints and muscles(2), and also for promoting health in several ways. The substance methyl salicylate is an ester and is an essential constituent of ointments that treat small topical aches by their application. It serves as a flavor enhancer in many of the products, that’s why it becomes a part of many flavored products in small quantities.
Wintergreen Essential Oil Uses
Wintergreen oil has a variety of uses when we talk about taking advantages from the naturally occurring source. The wintergreen oil is entirely natural and doesn’t need external supplements to enhance its functions. It takes up the natural process after its application. You can find the use of this plant in various other products such as a scent or flavoring agent – toothpaste, Listerine, gums and soft drinks. Moreover, it is also present in many foods such as – pharmaceutical products, teas, and candies.
Researches show that wintergreen oil helps to treat problems like – fever, stomach ache, asthma, kidney problems, gas, headaches, nerve pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, gout, rheumatism or achy joints, and other minor aches in joints and muscles. You can directly use the dilated wintergreen essential oil by applying to the aching area. You can diffuse the fat by using a vaporizer.
The oil also helps in treatments through aroma or aroma-therapeutically. You can do this at your home by making a bowl of water, which should be steaming hot. Add a few drops of wintergreen oil in aromatherapy — people who use or practice this therapy notice mental relaxation and upliftment in the mood. Hence, you can use it for getting relaxation from the congestion of the nose or cough.
Also, you can find wintergreen oil in insecticides and repellents too. The research(3) shows that the pesticide made of wintergreen oil is more effective than the repellant made of the same when compared to the other types of essential oils.
Top 10 Wintergreen Oil Benefits
You can count on numerous benefits of wintergreen essential oil. Before using wintergreen oil, you need to make sure if you are selecting a hundred percent pure product or not. Some of the leading benefits are –
- It provides relaxation from the aching joints –If you are suffering from uncontrollable pain in the joints or muscles, then wintergreen oil can help in reducing it. It removes discomfort from the painful area and is also active in the problem of arthritis.
- It shows plenty of antiseptic properties –It has a considerable amount of real antiseptic properties, that can help in fighting with various harmful bacteria and fungi.
- It regulates the circulation of blood –A regular massage using the oil can generate a passage of increased blood circulation which makes the curability of pain easier.
- It reduces the soreness of muscles –Wintergreen oil promotes proper circulation of blood, which removes the stiffness from the muscles and manages to treat the pain present in them.
- It reduces irregular menstrual cycles in women –Researches show that the oil is beneficial in reducing the risks of complete stoppage of the menstrual cycle in women.
- It helps in detoxifying –It takes care of the elimination of toxic substances from the body and helps in detoxifying or cleansing it internally.
- It prevents the formation of extra salts –Accumulation of excess salts can be harmful to the body. The oil phenomenally increases the frequency of the urination process and removes the excess salts.
- It can induce relaxation –Practicing the aromatherapy with this oil can help in getting relief from tensions and stress.
- It can make you look youthful –You can add a few drops of oil in your facial cleanser to give yourself a younger look. The oil will tighten your skin and will provide you with a youthful look.
- It can also help with sleeping problems –Since the oil provides relief from the pain and gives a sense of relaxation, it can also help in fighting with sleep deprivation.
[Also Read: Natural Remedies to Control Insomnia]
What are the side effects of Wintergreen Oil?
There are some precautions and side effects along with the benefits of wintergreen oil that should be matters of concern. The side effects are not visible and are rare to occur. But one should always take care of the circumstances to prevent any causal damage from the side effects. Some of the side effects and their precautions are –
- The consumption of oil through the mouth is highly unsafe and can cause tremendously risky problems. It is only for topical use.
- Keep the oil away from the reach of children, as it is highly toxic for the internal systems of the body, and even if consumed in a small quantity by them, it can prove hazardous.
- The medicines carry a selective amount of wintergreen oil. Avoid any usage of this oil, if you are pregnant or undergoing a breastfeeding phase.
- If you have an allergy from consuming aspirin, or have asthma or nasal polyps, then you should avoid the consumption of this oil through any edible source as the salicylate might cause an allergic reaction of the body towards the oil.
When discussing the efficacy of wintergreen oil, there can be no comparison of the wintergreen oil benefits to other oils. You can easily find the wintergreen oil in many of the departmental stores or the pharmaceuticals. There has been an increase in the usage of oil, apart from its traditional uses. The benefits of this oil are no more obscure and can be easily applicable. There are more uses of it, other than the ones mentioned in here and the list continues to grow. So use this efficient oil today and satiate all your health needs, but don’t forget about the precautions and side effects.