Wintergreen Essential Oil: Uses, Benefits, and Precautions
Wintergreen essential oil (Gaultheria procumbens or Gaultheria fragrantissima) is created by steam distilling the leaves of the plant. It's a lesser used oil but, in my opinion, too overlooked. The benefits and uses for wintergreen are really incredible. Plus it smells divine (which is a good reason it usually comes with a safety cap and should be kept away from little kids who might mistake it for candy).
Wintergreen essential oil is used to support the muscular and skeletal systems, with plenty of possibilities listed below. And yes, you can find it in many natural root beers or chewing gums, but I personally wouldn't recommend trying those recipes at home, since wintergreen is not an oil you generally want to use internally, and certainly don't want to overdo.
- Soothes discomfort in the muscles and joints
- Promotes healthy respiratory function
- Frequently used in gum, candy, and toothpaste for flavoring
In addition to its physiological uses and benefits, wintergreen is also said to have some powerful emotional and spiritual uses when used aromatically. It can assist us in letting go, surrendering control, and trusting the process of life. It's good for issues around micro-managing, arrogance, or lack of trust for others. It helps us to release pain, old habits or beliefs, and lean into our own spiritual understanding. (Think about being stress or tense, "holding on" too tightly, and the physical pain that can accompany it.)
Wintergreen blends well with Bergamot, Basil, Cypress, Geranium, Lavender, Lemongrass, Marjoram, and Peppermint essential oils. Depending on your uses for this oil, substitutes may include White Fir, Peppermint, Spearmint, or Cypress essential oils.
How to Use Wintergreen Essential Oil
Traditionally, oil of wintergreen uses these application guidelines. Click the banner to understand what each symbol means and to learn how each is used safely and effectively:
Precautions of Wintergreen Essential Oil
Wintergreen is not recommended for pregnant women, small children, anyone with a history is seizures, or anyone with aspirin sensitivities. Repeated or overuse can lead to sensitivity. Large amounts can be toxic and since it smells so yummy, be careful to keep out of the reach of children. Always test for skin sensitivity prior to widespread use and use on the feet when possible. Excessive use of any oil can lead to skin sensitization. Keep out of eyes, ears, or nose. Not all oils are created equal, so test brands carefully, and never use an oil in a way not recommended by its maker.
Popular Uses of Wintergreen Essential Oil
- Wintergreen has a warming effect when applied to skin and is excellent to use in a massage to relieve muscle tension. A little goes a long way, so use sparingly and dilute with Fractionated Coconut Oil to minimize any skin sensitivity.
- For a soothing bath, add 1–2 drops of Wintergreen essential oil to warm bath water.
- Wintergreen essential oil is not recommended for internal use and should be stored out of reach from children.
- Diffuse for a pick-me-up or to eleviate stress.
- Massage into neck and shoulders for occasional head and neck tension.
Inspiration for Using Wintergreen Essential Oil
Post Workout Muscle Rub: Mix 1 cup extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil and 10 drops each Peppermint, White Fir, and Wintergreen essential oils. Store in glass air tight container, rub on muscles after workout.
Tension Relieving Roller Blend: In 5ml glass roller bottle, add 3 drops Peppermint, 3 drops Lavender and 6 drops Wintergreen essential oils. Top with fractionated coconut oil. Apply to back of neck or across forehead to relieve tension.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON QUALITY
Not all oils are created equal. Because of a lack of industry standards and a lack of regulation on terms such as "natural" or "pure", much of what you find at the drug store is NOT a therapeutic grade of essential oil and may lack real quality or even contain contaminants or adulterants (way more common than you'd think).
A LOT goes into creating a high quality essential oil. A good brand should follow these guidelines:
- Proper plant varieties
- Each plant grown indigenously for the healthiest plant
- Grown without chemical pesticides, herbicides, etc
- Harvested with precise timing to ensure peak properties
- Extracted with proper temp and pressure to preserve oil molecules
- Third-party testing of every batch
- Stand behind the internal use of their oils