Wintergreen is an herb, best known as Mother Nature’s aspirin. The leaves of the plant are cold pressed and steam distilled to produce its essential oil. The herb and its oil, both are used for their analgesic properties. The essential oil itself has a very pleasant and cooling aroma, much like eucalyptus. The oil is used extensively in aromatherapy as it invokes a feeling of wellness and concentration.
Chemically, wintergreen essential oil contains 90% concentration of methyl salicylate, which is also the primary component of aspirin. Due to this chemical compound, the oil has cortisone – like effects and it can quickly relieve pain and symptoms of soreness. Here are some of its most popular health benefits:
- Analgesic: The physical properties of the oil allow it to be absorbed into the skin readily. Methyl salicylate induces numbness on the area where the oil is rubbed. This anaesthetic effect immediately relieves pain and promotes healing. It also induces warmth in the affected area and promotes increased blood flow to it, healing it naturally.
- Anodyne: Wintergreen oil eliminates pain and immediately induces relaxation. You can use this oil to alleviate stress and promote relaxation. If you have a headache, or experience sleeplessness, you can rub the oil on your skin to alleviate the stress. If you have been losing sleep due to pain or stress, this is a very pleasant way of getting your sleep.
- Anti-Arthritic: Wintergreen oil is very stimulating. If you experience pain and soreness in your joints due to arthritis or rheumatism, wintergreen oil can be really beneficial. Rubbing this oil on your joints helps relieve soreness. It stimulates flow of blood to the affected joints and removes any obstructions that may impede the flow of blood to it.
- Anti-Spasmodic: The oil helps reduce spasms in the body, especially in the organs. The calming, relaxing and stimulating effects of the oil can improve respiratory, digestive, nervous and muscular systems. If you experience chest congestion, rubbing this oil on the chest can relieve it. It can also provide relief from breathing trouble and asthma. You can use it for spasmodic coughs and rub it on your body to relieve symptoms of muscular cramps. You can also use it for nervous conditions as well as convulsions.
- Antiseptic: In small quantities, wintergreen oil is toxic to all kinds of microbes – viruses, bacteria and fungus. However, when taken in large concentrations, this oil can be fatal to humans as well. Wintergreen oil should not be consumed internally. Instead, just rub it on the afflicted area of your body. The oil is used when there is an infection that could potentially cause sepsis. Since the oil is toxic, do not let it come in contact with blood directly. Therefore, do not apply it to cuts, scrapes or open wounds. Since it is easily absorbed into the blood stream, it will easily spread into the blood stream.
- Astringent: Wintergreen oil induces muscle contractions. Muscle contractions cause them to become firm. It lifts your skin, adds a glow to it and improves both its look and its texture. It induces contractions in blood vessels as well. This can prevent haemorrhaging. In cases of accidents, where there could be a risk of damaged blood vessels, wintergreen oil can prevent haemorrhaging. You can add a few drops of wintergreen oil to base oil such as olive oil and apply it to your scalp. This will strengthen your hair and improve the health of your scalp.
Apart from all these other properties, wintergreen oil also has carminative and diuretic properties as well. Its stimulating properties make it an excellent agent for relief and wellness. It is also used in aromatherapy to induce attention and focus. However, the oil is toxic and should never be consumed or used orally for any reason. When using the oil, always make sure it is diluted to a very low concentration by adding it to carrier oil.
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