Wintergreen - Gaultheria Procumbens - Shrub

Blending Note: Base

Main Benefits: Stimulating, Aromatic, Pain Relief, Relaxation 

Properties: Analgesic, Anodyne, Ant rheumatic, Ant arthritic, Antispasmodic, Antiseptic, Astringent,

Carminative, Diuretic, Emenagogue 

Origin: North America

Other Producers: Canada, Newfoundland, Minnesota, Georgia, Alabama

Allergy Warning: The essential oil of wintergreen is highly poisonous due to the presence of Menthyl Salicylate. External application is sufficient for making this oil work inside since it easily seeps through the skin and is absorbed by the muscles and tissues. Furthermore, if accidentally ingested, it can cause severe damage to internal organs like the liver and kidneys. One more cautionary note, excessive external application on the skin can also turn fatal because of absorption of excessive Menthyl Salicylate in the tissues and consequently in the blood stream. There have been examples of death of sportsmen who rubbed too much of a relaxing ointment on his thighs which contained Menthyl Salicylate. It should never be given to patients who are hyper-reactive to salicylates.Not recommended for massage, Babies, Small Children, When Pregnant, When Breast Feeding

Short History:

North American Indians chewed the leaves of the wintergreen plant for their distinct flavour, used them in the treatment of aches and pains, and to aid in breathing during hard work.  French explorers used wintergreen leaves in hot infusions, thus leading to the term ‘Thé du Canada’, the tea of Canada.  During the American war of independence, wintergreen leaves served as a replacement for Chinese tea.  Folk remedies also used the wintergreen plant for body aches, cold symptoms, colic, headaches, inflammation, pain, skin diseases, sore throats, rheumatism, and toothache. Also in the past, wintergreen was used internally to treat chronic mucous discharges, regulate hormones, and as a diuretic; due to its toxicity it is no longer used internally for medicinal purposes.

 

About Wintergreen:

Wintergreen is a perennial that grows to 5 or 6 inches with white drooping flowers in June and July followed by bright red berries.  Native to the eastern portion of North America, wintergreen is found from Canada, Newfoundland, and Minnesota to Georgia and Alabama.  The oil is extracted from the leaves, but the berries and remaining portions of the plant are used as well.  Oil of wintergreen contains methyl salicylate which has anti-inflammatory properties and is closely related to the well-known medication aspirin.  Wintergreen oil production is on the decline due to the production of its replacement, synthetic methyl salicylate.  Although the natural oil of wintergreen is available and in use by some manufacturers, it is very rare and most of what is labelled wintergreen oil on the market is actually synthetic methyl salicylate. There are current studies on the active constituent of wintergreen, methyl salicylate, for use in topical creams in the treatment of pain relief, possible antimicrobial use in dental care, and the comparison of salicylate levels between the oil of wintergreen and synthetic methyl salicylate cream.  

Medicinal Uses:

Topical Pain, Muscles, Rheumatism, Cellulitis, Bacterial Infection Inflammation, Skin Inflammation, Arthritis, Spasms, Sepsis, Tightens Gums, Muscles Hair Loss, Hemorrhaging, Gases, Increases Urination, Removal of toxins, Regulates a normal and healthy menstrual cycle. Snake Bites, Dog Bites, Stings Rotting Wounds, Sores, Ulcers. Blood Circulation.

Other Uses:

Tea, Mouthwashes, Toothpastes, Insect Repellents