If you’ve ever suffered joint pain, you must be aware of the smell of wintergreen oil. This oil is often used in pain relieving muscles rubs.

Wintergreen essential oil gets absorbed into the skin easily and acts as a numbing agent. It also helps in treating local infections, relieving gas in the stomach and promoting a positive mood.

This food additive is commonly used to flavor mouthwashes and chewing gum as well.

What is wintergreen oil?

Wintergreen essential oil is taken from the leaves of the wintergreen plant. Two different species of wintergreen plant Gaultheria procumbens and Gaultheria fragrantissima are used to produce this oil.

While Gaultheria procumbens is native to North America, Gaultheria fragrantissima is native to Asia.

The leaves of wintergreen are odorless and tasteless. But when you steep these leaves in water, they release beneficial enzymes called methyl salicylates. These enzymes are then concentrated into an extract through steam distillation.

Wintergreen oil has a sweet and fresh minty aroma which is very similar to peppermint oil. It has a yellow or reddish color.

History of wintergreen essential oil

Wintergreen has been used for its healing properties in North America for thousands of years. The Native Americans used the juice of wintergreen leaves for treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, and ulcers.

They also chewed the leaves of this plant for its distinctive flavor and to aid in breathing during hard work.

When European settlers arrived in America, they learned the indigenous medicinal knowledge from the natives and used wintergreen as a stimulant and a prophylactic for toothache.

The French explorers used wintergreen leaves in hot infusions, which gave it the name ‘Thé du Canada.’

During the American war of independence, the soldiers used wintergreen leaves instead of Chinese tea to maintain their energy.

Several folk remedies use wintergreen plant for treatment of body aches, cold, colic, headaches, inflammation, sore throats, skin problems, rheumatism, and tooth decay.

Health benefits of wintergreen oil

1. Alleviates pain

Methyl salicylate, which makes up between 85 to 99 percent of wintergreen oil, is responsible for the pain relieving properties of wintergreen oil.

It helps to reduce inflammation, pain, and irritation. Wintergreen oil helps to reduce joint pain linked to arthritis and rheumatism. It is also helpful in treating sore muscles and conditions like lower back pain and neck pain.

2. Treats topical infections

Wintergreen oil can treat infections of the skin including those caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses. However, it should not be allowed to enter blood circulation, so you must not use it on open wounds.

3. Decongestant

Wintergreen oil can be used to treat symptoms of the common cold and flu-like cough, nasal congestion, pain, fever, and swelling. You can mix wintergreen with coconut oil and apply it to your chest, upper back and nose.

4. Prevents dangerous microbes

You can use wintergreen oil around your house to combat viruses, fungi and bacterial growth. This oil is highly toxic and can be fatal to microbes such as virus, fungi, and protozoa.

You can also use it to fight infections that cause sepsis. You can apply it to your shower, toilet, and sinks. Use it in your dishwasher or washing machine to kill odor-causing molds.

5. Treats digestive issues

Consuming undiluted wintergreen oil is not considered safe. However, you can use diluted wintergreen oil in tiny doses to treat your digestive ailments. Wintergreen oil can cleanse the digestive tract, reduce bloating, and reduce gas.

It can also soothe cramping and nausea linked to diarrhea and food poisoning.

You can massage diluted wintergreen oil on your abdomen, stomach and lower back to lower cramps and pain.

6. Reduces stress and improves sleep

Wintergreen oil has an invigorating fragrance. It can be diffused into the air to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. This essential oil increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain and improves sleep.

7. Improves stamina and concentration

If you are looking to improve your ability to focus and concentrate wintergreen essential oil is the oil for you. Inhaling wintergreen oil helps to improve wakefulness and helps to overcome chronic fatigue syndrome.

The Native Americans also used wintergreen leaves to boost their stamina and endurance during exercise.

8. Weight loss

Wintergreen essential oil helps to reduce appetite and sugar cravings. It is especially helpful when you are trying to lose weight. Just sniffing the minty aroma of this oil can help reduce cravings.

9. Helps during menstruation

Wintergreen oil can regulate your monthly menstrual cycle and clear out any obstruction.  Obstructed menstruation can lead to problems like pain in the abdominal region, irritation, annoyance, and hair loss.

In some cases, it can even lead to uterine ulcer and uterine cancer. Applying wintergreen oil around the pelvic region will regulate the menstrual cycle and get rid of these problems.

10. Promotes urination

This oil also has diuretic properties. Wintergreen oil stimulates the organs of the urinary system and increases the quantity and frequency of urine.

This quality helps in the removal of toxins from the body and protects from diseases like rheumatism and arthritis. It also keeps the kidneys and urinary bladder healthy and prevents the formation of stones.

11. Improves skin

Wintergreen oil is a natural antiseptic and astringent. It keeps the skin young and healthy by fighting inflammation, reducing blemishes and treating skin disorders.

It is especially helpful for treating acne as it helps in killing germs on the skin. Always dilute wintergreen with some carrier oil before applying wintergreen oil on your skin.

12. Haircare

You can also apply wintergreen oil to your hair to remove dandruff, greasiness, and bacteria from your hair and scalp. The astringent effect of this oil also helps to strengthen the hair roots and prevents hair loss.

13. Promotes oral hygiene

Wintergreen oil can be diluted with coconut oil and be used as an effective mouthwash. Coconut oil pulling is a popular method for maintaining oral health. Wintergreen oil kills bacteria that are responsible for gingivitis and inflammation of the gums.

Other uses of wintergreen oil

1. Natural deodorant

Bacteria can break down the sweat to cause offensive odors. The fresh and minty aroma of wintergreen oil helps to mask offensive odors and also helps to suppress the bacterial colonization.  This quality makes wintergreen oil and effective natural deodorizer.

2. Air freshener

You can combine a few drops of wintergreen oil with water and pour it in a spray bottle. Use this mixture on appliances, surfaces and bathrooms and garbage cans to get rid of the foul smell and to sanitize the surfaces.

3. Toothpaste

Add a drop to your regular toothpaste to kill odor-causing bacteria in the mouth.

4. Flavoring agent

Many commercial establishments use wintergreen oil to add mint flavor to teas and candies. You can also add a drop of this oil to improve the taste of your smoothie. Add just one drop to warm water to make tea to improve your digestion.

5. Gardening

Wintergreen oil can also protect plants from pathogenic fungi, so it is a helpful gardening tool.

Ways to use wintergreen essential oil

  • Dilute a few drops of wintergreen oil in coconut oil and massage into swollen joints for pain relief from arthritis.
  • Dilute two drops of wintergreen oil into one tablespoon of jojoba oil or grapeseed oil. Apply this mixture on acne prone skin before you go to bed.
  • For the treatment of dandruff mix five drops of wintergreen oil with apple cider vinegar and massage onto your scalp. Let this mixture stay in your hair for 10 minutes and then wash it off with your regular shampoo.
  • Dilute wintergreen oil with coconut oil and use this mixture as a massage oil for tired and achy muscles.
  • Massage a few drops of diluted wintergreen oil on your abdomen for reducing bloating and flatulence.
  • You can also massage diluted wintergreen oil on your temples for reducing headaches.

Side effects and precautions

You should never take wintergreen oil internally. It can lead to side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, stomach pain and mouth sores.

Some medications can also interact with wintergreen oil if taken internally. Always check with a professional before you take this oil internally, even in diluted form.

Undiluted wintergreen oil can be toxic and painful when you apply it to the skin. Always dilute this essential oil with a carrier oil when you apply it. Keep it away from your eyes and the mucous membranes of your nose. Never use it on open wounds.

Wintergreen oil can cause an allergic reaction in some people. The allergic symptoms include burning, swelling, and redness of the skin. Test a few drops of this oil on your feet before you use it.

Final thoughts

Wintergreen essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the wintergreen plant. This oil has a yellow or reddish color and a sweet and fresh minty aroma which is very similar to peppermint oil.

Wintergreen essential oil benefits health in many ways by providing pain relief, preventing infections, treating digestive issues, treating acne, improving stamina and concentration and promoting oral hygiene.

You should never consume wintergreen oil as it can cause an adverse reaction. Always dilute this highly beneficial essential oil with a carrier oil before you apply it on your skin.

Wintergreen essential oil acts as a numbing agent. It helps in treating infections, relieving gas in the stomach & promoting a positive mood.