What is Wintergreen Essential Oil?

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  • Written By: Mandi Rogier
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2019
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Wintergreen essential oil is the extract from the Gaultheria Procumbens shrub. More commonly known as wintergreen, this plant grows in North America and has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. Native Americans recognized its ability to aid in treatment of respiratory illnesses and early American settlers used the plant to ward off tooth decay.

This essential oil has a refreshing, yet slightly medicinal fragrance with strong minty tones. It is typically pale yellow. When used in massage oil, it should be diluted to 10 percent. This oil should never be used at a concentration higher than 25 percent.

In its diluted state, this oil can treat a variety of ailments when applied to the skin. It is quickly absorbed by the skin and provides all of its benefits through external application. It should never be ingested. Though wintergreen essential oil may be a component in products used for aromatherapy or inhalation, it should never be inhaled directly.

Essential oil from the wintergreen plant contains methyl salicylate. This potent chemical has powerful anesthetic properties and is used in aspirin. When applied to the skin, it causes a warm sensation as well as a degree of numbness. This oil also stimulates blood flood in any area where it is applied.


Wintergreen essential oil is often used to treat sore, aching muscles. Wintergreen essential oil increases blood flow to the area where it is applied. This, along with its anesthetic properties, makes it a popular treatment for arthritis. Diluted with a carrier oil, it can be used for a relaxing massage, which will ease painful muscles all over the body.

When applied to the stomach, this oil will help remove toxins from the body by stimulating urination and acting as a diuretic. Its carminative properties will also help ease gas pain. Applied to the abdomen, it can ease menstrual pain. It may help to soothe nausea and other digestive problems.

Antiseptic properties are present in this oil as well. It should never be used on open wounds, however, as it can be dangerous if it gets into the blood stream. Insect bites or stings can be eased with an application of this oil.

The Menthyl Salicylate in this essential oil can be extremely dangerous if used incorrectly. Those who are allergic to aspirin should not use it. Consult a health care provider for detailed instructions on the proper use of wintergreen essential oil.


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Post 3

@fBoyle-- I think it's fine to use it topically and I have used it that way for sprains and strains. It's also great for arthritis and inflammation pain. I have an issue with my joints, especially my knees. They become inflamed sometimes and wintergreen essential oil works wonderfully to reduce inflammation and pain.

It's safe as long as it's diluted with a carrier oil like olive oil. About 5-6 drops for half a cup of olive oil is fine but it can be dilute further for those who want it to be less strong.

Post 2

@ZipLine-- Yes, that's a good idea although I do think you should use a very small amount because it's quite a potent oil. It has a very strong scent. So a tiny bit goes a long way.

You could also use this oil in homemade candles. It's a great idea for holiday candles for example, since wintergreen has been a popular winter scent.

I'm not a proponent of using such potent essential oil internally, or liberally on skin. The article has already mentioned some of the components of this oil which are basically medications and have a variety of effects. Our skin is also an organ and will absorb the oil. Moreover, it may cause some irritation to skin. Using it internally is out of question in my opinion because without expertise in this area, it's easy to take too much which could prove toxic.

Post 1

It seems like wintergreen essential oil has many beneficial potential uses in the home. I think it could be used with a humidifier when ill to help with breathing. Sometimes I have such a bad cough from a cold that it's difficult to sleep at night. A humidifier making vapor with wintergeen oil could be perfect to soothe my lungs. Most humidifiers use eucalyptus oil but I don't see why wintergreen oil couldn't be used instead. It has much of the same benefits.

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