All You Need to Know about Wintergreen Essential Oil
Traditionally extracted from the leaves of the wintergreen plant, wintergreen essential oil has been around for ages and is going to stay between us for many years to come. First, the natural material from the plant is fermented and then distilled to obtain a pure product. It contains methyl salicylate, which is the active or key ingredient of the oil.
Pain and Inflammation Reliever
It has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, with methyl salicylate that relates to aspirin. As a result, it is used by many people for anti-inflammatory and topical pain relief. Ancient people used wintergreen oil in conventional medicines to treat multiple conditions like bacterial infections, colds, headache, sore throat, tooth decay, colic, and skin conditions.
Wintergreen is also a key ingredient of insecticides and repellents. Though there are several other oils that are used in insect repellents, the research suggests, it stands more effective as an insecticide or fumigant when compared to them.
Flavoring and Scents
In the manufacturing industry, wintergreen oil is widely used as a flavoring agent and scent additive in products such as mouthwashes, toothpaste, and candies. This is one reason why these products entice us with their fragrance.
Derived from anecdotal evidence, the many benefits of wintergreen are based on personal testimonies. Also, because there is limited research on the potential health benefits of this essence, only words of mouth are used to dictate the following benefits.
Helps Relieving Pain
However, the research akin to the effectiveness of wintergreen and methyl salicylate as a topical pain reliever showed a mixed result. Yet, many medical practitioners suggest it as a potential alternative treatment for lower back pain. In adults with muscle strain, it was found that the application of a skin patch containing methyl salicylate and menthol provides a certain level of relief. Even when it is applied topically for severe headaches, it showed positive outcomes.
Works against Some Bacteria
It is suggested that highly concentrated wintergreen essential oils show antibacterial effects against persistent forms of Borrelia Burgdorferi, which is the causative agent of Lyme disease. But, it is still vague whether it can fight against every bacterial infection. Thus, its effectiveness is not clear when it comes to bacteria.
Used in Dental Products
A subcommittee of the FDA once reviewed methyl salicylate that was used in over-the-counter dental products for controlling plaque and gingivitis. These products included mouth rinses, mouthwashes, and sprays. And the committee concluded that it was used at a set concentration either alone or in combination with eucalyptol, menthol, and thymol. It also added that it is both safe and effective in these products. Though, one should note that wintergreen oil should never be swallowed.
HOW TO USE
Wintergreen essential oil should only be used externally because it is very strong. Also, it should not be applied undiluted as it can be absorbed through the skin. For diluting this essence, you can take any carrier oil such as grapeseed and jojoba and blend them with the essential oil in an appropriate proportion. Make sure the final solution contains only 2 to 3 percent of this oil. Aside from that, you can also mix it with other essential oils such as peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus.
How to Find Good Quality Oil?
Many manufacturers and vendors often use the name “wintergreen oil” in place of synthetic methyl salicylate. Therefore, you need to be extra cautious when finding high-quality and plant-derived oil. For that purpose, check for the Latin name of the plant to verify that you are selecting the desired product. Then, look for purity information, like whether some other oils are mixed or not. Evaluate the price because not everything that looks cheap is a fair deal. Also, give it a smell to check if it permeates the expected scent. Lastly, turn to a reliable and trustworthy vendor like Young Living that will assure you with its pure-grade and quality products.