Common name: Wintergreen
Botanical Name: Gaultheria procumbens
Production method: Wintergreen essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves of the plant following maceration in warm water. Methyl salicylate, the main chemical constituent of the oil, is not present in the plant until formed by enzymatic action from a glycoside within the leaves as they are macerated in warm water.
Properties and uses: Methyl salicylate is formed when salicylic acid reacts with methanol. You might already know that aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is formed from salicylic acid and acetic acid. The chemical is beneficial to the body’s ability to manage pain and inflammation. The oil’s high concentration of methyl salicylate make it extremely analgesic, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory. It is mainly used for headache, arthritis, sore muscles, sciatica, and cramps. The oil should only be used topically and in very low dilution, if at all. Avoid use on pregnant women, children, or broken skin.
The oil is also used as a flavoring for candies, sodas, toothpaste and gum in a dilution of no more than .04%.
Botanical Safety Information:
Never use wintergreen oil internally!!!
If using wintergreen externally properly dilute (1-2 drops per ounce of carrier)!
Avoid use on children, pets, pregnant women, or broken skin.
Numerous cases of methyl salicylate poisoning have been reported, with a 50-60% mortality rate. Ingesting as little as 4 ml has been known to be fatal.
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