Gaultheria procumbens is a plant belonging to the Ericaceae family native to North America. Its fruits are berries characterized by a special red color and the plant is an amazing ornament for balconies or tables during Christmas period. However, gaultheria doesn’t have just an ornamental role, from its leaves indeed an essential oil with painkilling and anti-inflammatory properties is extracted, this essential oil is called wintergreen essential oil. Let’s see its uses and properties. But first some recommendations, don’t use the oil internally, ask your doctor for advice in case of pregnancy, breastfeeding or if you are taking blood thinners or painkillers in order to avoid interactions. Before the treatment with wintergreen essential oil try to massage a drop of this essence diluted in a little jojoba oil or another carrier oil on a small part of skin and see if there are allergies.
Muscle pain, back pain and rheumatism
Wintergreen essential oil contains a substance, the methyl salicylate, that is similar to acetylsalicylic acid of aspirin. For this reason, this essential oil shows an important anti-inflammatory action when applied on the skin of sore areas, you just need 2 drops in a tablespoon of sweet almond or jojoba oil. However, because of this similarity with aspirin, it is better not to exceed with the dosage in order to avoid coagulation problems (Tanen et al, Ann Pharmacother, Oct 2008). As suggested also by scientific studies, wintergreen is often used together with peppermint essential oil in order to maximize its effect and to reduce the quantity of essence used (Hebert et al, J Altern Complement Med, Apr 2014).
Antibacterial and antiseptic properties
Wintergreen essential oil helps also counteract bacteria and fungus (Vergnes et al, Front Plant Sci, Sep 2014). In case of cough, flu or cold, in order to fight these illnesses and also to decongestant the nose, you can massage on your chest 1 drop of wintergreen essential oil diluted in a tablespoon of jojoba oil. For a higher hygiene you can pour a few drops of essential oil in the softener tank of the laundry. Moreover, wintergreen essential oil, thanks to its antiseptic action, counteracts acne and other irritations of the skin. You can add a drop of essential oil in a teaspoon of jojoba oil and apply on skin. You can add also a drop to the shampoo and massage the scalp in order to fight dandruff and itching. Be careful and don’t apply the essential oil on open wounds. Don’t exceed with the quantity because wintergreen is easily absorbed through skin and may interact with blood coagulation.