How to use Wintergreen Essential Oil
Wintergreen oil is extracted from a shrubby evergreen plant called Gaultheria procumbens, which is native to North America in Northeast United States and Canada. It is a low-growing shrub thrives best in rich, organic soils in shady locations, such as on mountains and forests in cool, moist regions. The leaves are used to make wintergreen essential oil.
If you’ve ever used a pain-relieving ointment or rub with menthol, then you already know what wintergreen essential oil smells like. It is a clean and minty scent that is generally associated with supporting pain relief and stimulating mental wellbeing.
Wintergreen is quickly absorbed into skin and acts like a natural numbing agent. It also promotes blood circulation and cools irritation, which is comforting to irritated skin. Wintergreen also contains antioxidants and beneficial ingredients, including guaiadienes, a-pinene, myrcene, delta 3-carene, limonene and delta-cadinene.
Wintergreen essential oil benefits include:
- Helps support lower levels of inflammation
- Supports muscle & physical discomfort
- May reduce swelling and irritation
- Aids in healthy digestion
- Improving skin irritation
- Increases alertness and senses
- Antioxidant Support
Wintergreen is a primary source of methyl salicylate, a lipophilic liquid that is commonly used as a natural analgesic, wintergreen is one of the most researched for benefits in regard to pain management and numbing skin and sore muscles.
The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Long Island University found in their research that methyl salicylate from typical ointment bases worked differently on pain, with more concentrated forms (such as pure wintergreen oil) producing the most effective results.
Research done by the Department of Pharmacology at Medical University of Lodz in Poland tested dry leaf extracts of eastern wintergreen leaves to evaluate their effectiveness as a source of bioactive antioxidant phytocompounds. Through systematic activity testing and phytochemical profiling, researchers found high levels of inflammation-fighting antioxidants, including phenolics, procyanidins and phenolic acids. Moderate levels of flavonoid antioxidants were also found.
Comprehensive studies led to the identification of 35 different polyphenols with procyanidin A-type trimer, quercetin 3-O-glucuronide, isomers of caffeoylquinic acids and epicatechin being the dominant components.
Other studies also found strong evidence that wintergreen may help in reducing inflammatory responses and reliving infection, swelling and pain. A 2014 report published by researchers from the University of Toulouse in France found that Gaultheria procumbentextract’s main ingredient methylsalicylate (MeSA) can be metabolized in plant tissues to form salicylic acid, a phytohormone that helps induce plant immunity against microbial pathogens. It is also a common topical ingredient in facial soaps and creams to fight acne and blemishes.
The use of wintergreen essential oil against inflammatory responses within damaged and infected tissue was also evaluated. The research results showed strong induction of defense markers after the treatment with wintergreen oil and reduction in inflammation and infection. Fluorescence measurement of infected tissues revealed that treatments led to a strong reduction (60 percent) of pathogen development and that the efficacy of the G. procumbens essential oil was even similar to the commercially sold product BION(®).