Wintergreen Essential Oil Detail Image / From Wikimedia Commons / John Delano

Wintergreen Essential Oil

Gaultheria Procumbens

Blending:  Wintergreen Essential Oil blends well with Mint, Narcissus, Oregano, Thyme, Vanilla, Ylang-Ylang, Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Bergamot Essential Oils.

Known Uses

Wintergreen Essential Oil contains an aspirin-like chemical, Methyl Salicylate that can help reduce pain. It works well to reduce swelling, painful muscles and joints, chronic neck and lower back pain. When applied to an afflicted area, this oil is easily absorbed through the body's skin and causes an anesthetic effect or numbness or deadening of the nerves. It also increases blood circulation and warms the area in which it is applied. It can also be used to counter obstructed blood circulation resulting from frostbite and extremely low temperatures, since it has a warming effect. Wintergreen is absorbed into the skin quickly and acts like a natural numbing agent, similar to cortisone.

When combined with a carrier oil it can be rubbed into your chest and upper back to relieve congestion and fever; it can even prevent the common cold or flu.

Diffusing Wintergreen Oil can open up nasal and respiratory passages and improve blood flow, but should be used sparingly in a diffuser. Inhaling Wintergreen Essential Oil directly from the bottle will also increase alertness and concentration. Rubbing a small amount into the neck, chest and wrists will help overcome fatigue or sleepiness.

Very small doses can increase stomach acids to improve digestion. It can act as a diuretic and also increases urine production to cleanse the digestive tract. Wintergreen Essential Oil is considered to be a natural remedy for nausea. Mixing it with a carrier oil and rubbing it over the abdomen, stomach and lower back will relieve cramping and pain as well. Just applying this oil on the skin is enough, as it easily penetrates the skin and body tissues take it in and it assimilates into the blood stream, thus permeating the internal organs as well.

Wintergreen Essential Oil can be useful in treating acne since it will kill germs on the skin. It will also relieve itchy, red, swollen skin. Wintergreen can also be used on the scalp and hair to remove dandruff, bacteria, and excess oils. As an astringent, it induces contractions in muscle tissue, skin, blood vessels and hair roots. This contraction of muscles and skin adds firmness to the muscles and lifts the skin. The hair roots are also contracted and strengthened by this astringent effect. Be sure to keep it out of eyes and nasal passages.

Wintergreen Essential Oil also acts as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. Used around the home, it can remove dangerous toxins. To kill odor-causing bacteria and molds, use it diluted in a spray bottle or full strength on a scrub brush to clean showers, tubs, and toilet bowls. You can even run some through your dishwasher or clothes washer to have them smelling fresh and germ-free. Diluted in a spray bottle, it can be sprayed on hard surfaces in the kitchen, bathrooms, and garbage pails to sanitize the areas.

The smell of Wintergreen Oil can help reduce food cravings. Applying a couple drops on your temples, chest or clothes could keep you from overeating. And, only one to two drops of Wintergreen Essential Oil added to water will make a mouthwash to freshen breath and protect gums and teeth from bacteria. Gargle with the solution for 30–60 seconds before rinsing.


The wintergreen plant is native to North America, especially the cooler Northeast United States and Canada. North American Indians chewed the leaves of the wintergreen plant for their minty flavor. The also utilized them medicinally to treat pains and aches and to help in respiration or breathing when hard work was being done. French explorers made hot infusions from wintergreen leaves that became known as the tea of Canada. During the Revolutionary War, wintergreen leaves served as a replacement for Chinese tea. In folk remedies, the wintergreen plant was used for body aches, cold symptoms, sore throats, colic, headaches, inflammation, skin diseases, arthritis, and oral health.


Use very small quantities of Wintergreen Essential Oil and make sure it is 100% pure, therapeutic grade. A little bit goes a long way. Using more will not result in better results. In fact, high doses can be toxic and even painful.

Be careful to keep Wintergreen Essential Oil away from your eyes and the mucus membranes inside of your nose. Keep it away from pets and babies. Do not take internally unless under the care of a health care professional.

Methyl salicylate can be harmful when used on open wounds, internally, or on babies and children, or on anyone with allergies.

Do not apply Wintergreen Oil directly to skin. Always dilute it with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive, almond, or jojoba oil. If you have sensitive skin, do a small patch test first to make sure you don’t experience any side effects such as redness, burning and swelling. Try testing one to two drops on an area of your skin that isn’t sensitive, such as your feet. Make sure you can tolerate it well before using on larger parts of your body.

Ingesting Wintergreen Essential Oil can cause side effects that include heartburn, flushing, mouth sores, rashes, headaches, and acid reflux. There are prescription medications and over-the-counter medications that can negatively interact with Wintergreen. Talk to your doctor about taking wintergreen essential oil if you take any asthma medications, digestive medications, blood thinners, anti-coagulants, orpain medications. Pregnant women or anyone with heart or digestive issues should not consume this oil.

If accidentally ingested in a large dose, it can cause severe damage to organs like the liver and kidneys. And, immoderate external application on the skin can also become toxic as well because too much Methyl Salicylate will be absorbed into the tissues and consequently into the blood stream.