Wintergreen oil is traditionally extracted from the leaves of the wintergreen plant.
The production process involves fermentation of the natural material from the plant. This is followed by distillation to obtain a purer product. The final product consists almost entirely of methyl salicylate, the active ingredient of wintergreen oil.
The natural production of wintergreen oil has been on the decline in favor of creating synthetic methyl salicylate. In some products, synthetic methyl salicylate may appear as one of several types of oils, including wintergreen oil, gaultheria oil, or teaberry oil.
Pain and inflammation relief
The active ingredient in wintergreen oil, methyl salicylate, is closely related to aspirin and has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. As such, products containing wintergreen oil are often used as an anti-inflammatory and topical pain reliever.
Wintergreen oil has also been used in traditional medicine for the following conditions:
- bacterial infections
- skin conditions
- sore throat
- tooth decay
Wintergreen oil may also be found in insecticides and repellents. However, research suggests that, when compared to other essential oils, it may be more effective as an insecticide or fumigant than as a repellent.Trusted Source
Flavoring and scents
In industry and manufacturing, wintergreen oil is used as a flavoring agent for products such as candies, toothpastes, and mouthwashes. It can also be used as a scent additive.
Wintergreen oil benefits
Many of the stated benefits or uses of wintergreen oil are derived from anecdotal evidence, meaning they’re heavily based off personal testimony.
There’s limited research on the potential health benefits of wintergreen oil and its active ingredient, methyl salicylate.