Wintergreen generally refers to the plant species belonging to the genus Gaultheria. However, the most commonly used plant species is Eastern Teaberry which is scientifically known as Gaultheria procumbens of the Ericaceae family. Wintergreen oil is extracted through a process of steam distillation from the leaves of the wintergreen plants that have initially been soaked and softened. These shrubs are widely found in North America. Due to the medicinal properties, there are many health benefits of wintergreen oil.
Why is Wintergreen oil Beneficial ?
The most vital component of wintergreen oil is Methyl Salicylate2 that helps in enhancing the health benefits of wintergreen oil. It also contains other important components in small proportions like a-pinene, myrcene, delta-3-carene, limonene, 3, 7-guaiadiene and delta-cadinene. This light yellow or pink colored oil is used by millions because of the health benefits of wintergreen oil.
Health Benefits of Wintergreen Essential Oil
With methyl salicylate being the major component, the wintergreen oil is packed with medicinal properties and possesses properties similar to that of aspirin . Due to numerous health benefits of wintergreen oil, it has become popular all over the world.
Benefits in reducing Pain : With the predominance of methyl salicylate, Wintergreen oil contains palliative property that helps in relieving you from various types of pains. When applied on the affected area, the wintergreen oil gets absorbed by the skin rapidly. Methyl salicylate, present in the oil makes the area numb and augments the blood circulation, thereby, providing warmth to the concerned area. It caters to all kinds of pains like stomach aches, headaches and joint pains. This gives a lot of relief from the continual pain instantly and provides you with a lot of comfort. Apart from the analgesic properties, the wintergreen oil also acts as a wonderful relaxant. It takes away the pain and also relaxes the muscles, thus, healing the area quickly. It helps in relieving you from pain caused due to disorders like sciatica, lumbago, neuralgia and gout .
Benefits for Rheumatism and Arthritis : The wintergreen essential oil is highly beneficial for people suffering from rheumatism and arthritis . Through topical application, wintergreen oil easily permeates into the skin and reaches the muscles and tissues. Apart from providing numbness it also gives the required warmth by activating blood circulation on the area applied, thus, relieving you from the intolerable pain caused by arthritis or rheumatism. The active blood circulation clears any obstruction in the blood passage and prevents entrance of toxins. Moreover, it possesses diuretic properties that increases urination frequency and eradicates all harmful toxins from your body. Apart from toxins like uric acid, it also helps in the removal of surplus water and salts which in turn helps in weight reduction. Rheumatic and arthritic patients are often advised to reduce their weights.
Benefits for Spasms : Due to the soothing effect and stimulating effect on the blood circulation, wintergreen oil is beneficial in treating all types of respiratory, nervous, digestive or muscular spasms. Inhalation of this oil helps in clearing the respiratory passage, thereby, curing problems like sinus, asthma, cough and chest congestions. It is also instrumental in curing spasmodic diarrhea, convulsions, digestive ailments, muscular cramps and nervous disorders.
Benefits against Infections : Since wintergreen essential oil is highly toxic it acts as an antiseptic and effectively fights against all bacteria, virus, fungi and other infection causing elements, thereby, preventing occurrences of infections. It destroys harmful bacteria like Staphycoloccus Aureus and prevents infections . Due to high quantity of toxins, intake of wintergreen oil orally should completely be prohibited. Since it is easily penetrable, applying the oil externally helps it to get into the skin and mix in the blood which in turn fights against infections, however, topical application on open cuts and wounds should be forbidden.
Benefits as Astringent : The wintergreen oil helps in the contraction of tissues which in turn help in tightening the skin, hair roots and muscles. It also stimulates blood clotting by initiating contractions of blood vessels, thereby, preventing hemorrhages. The astringing property of this oil helps in toning the skin making you look younger and brighter. It also provides firmness to the hair roots, thus, reducing hair fall considerably.
Benefits as Diuretic : The health benefits of wintergreen oil are further enhanced as it possesses diuretic property which helps in triggering the process of urination. Due to this various harmful toxins, excess water, excess salts are washed away from your body. This ensures proper functioning of kidneys and urinary bladder and prevents formation of stones inside the organs. It also helps in the treatment of edema, hypertension and also helps in combating increased body weight.
Benefits against Menstrual Disorders : Wintergreen oil possesses emenagogue properties; therefore, application of this oil on pelvic and abdominal areas can solve menstrual ailments like sudden menstrual obstruction, menstrual pains and abdominal spasms . Menstrual obstruction, when not treated properly, can lead to other related problems that can cause serious health disorders. This oil also helps in relieving pains and discomfort caused due to menstruation.
Benefits as a Stimulant : Wintergreen oil acts as a great stimulant; therefore, application of this oil triggers the secretion of various hormones, digestive enzymes, ovarian and uterine discharge, bile, thus, ensuring proper functioning of liver, uterus and various glands.
Benefits as a Galactagogue : Since wintergreen oil acts as a great stimulant, it triggers the process of lactation . This is highly beneficial for the breastfeeding women as it enhances the milk production.
Other Health Benefits of Wintergreen Essential oil
Its high toxicity due to the presence of methyl salicylate , wintergreen oil is beneficial in insect bites, dog bites, snake bites and bee and wasp stings. As it generates warmth, the health benefits of wintergreen oil help in opening blood passage blockades caused due to extreme cold conditions.
Precautions while using Wintergreen oil
This highly toxic oil should never be consumed orally and modest quantity of this oil should be applied on the affected area. Any direct contact with blood can be hazardous. Use of this oil with carefulness can aid you with numerous health benefits of wintergreen oil.
Enriched with medicinal properties, wintergreen oil ihas many health benefits as discussed above. make sure you take precautions while using wintergreen oil as it is toxic. Fresh dark green leaves with prior marinating are apt for extraction of this oil. It should be preserved in dark colored glass containers.