Nutrition for Body and Soul


on September 28, 2015


Doug Nelson, a member of the Zija Product Advisory Council, provides valuable insight about Améo Wintergreen and the beneficial botanical it comes from.

Botanical Name: Gaultheria procumbens L.
Common Method of Extraction: Steam distillation
Part of Typically Used: leaves
Primary Constituent: Methyl salicylate (85-99 percent)


Summary: Wintergreen is a perennial evergreen shrub from the Ericaceae plant family native to eastern North America and Canada. It is also currently being grown in other parts of the world to supply the growing demand in both the food and essential oil industry. In its native environment it is often found in mountainous areas and woodlands. It grows best in rich soils and shady locations where abundant moisture is present. It bears pale pink flowers blooming in late summer and often produces a red fruit. Wintergreen oil has a sweet and fresh scent and the oil has a pale yellow to pinkish-yellow color. Wintergreen oil is similar to birch essential oil in its chemical makeup. These two oils and their associated plants are the only two known in the world today that naturally contain methyl salicylate.

Wintergreen essential oil is extracted from the plant’s leaves, which are steam distilled and allowed to macerate for several hours to stimulate the production of methyl salicylate. Distillation generally takes from 4 to 6 hours for complete separation to take place.

Native Americans historically have been reported using wintergreen to ease pain, and for other health benefits. Some native tribes have also used the leaves to produce a medicinal tea.

Currently Wintergreen is used quite extensively as a flavoring agent in food, candies, teas, and in pharmaceutical products. As an essential oil it has been recommended to help ease sore muscles, moisturize, and can even help promote an alert mind and body. These are a few of the health benefits observed by users and natural medicine advocates. It has also been reported to have emotional and spiritual benefits when used aromatically.

While there are many anecdotal claims and a number of scientific studies done on the benefits of Wintergreen oil, it should be noted that caution should be observed when using it. Many sources state that it is unsafe to take internally and, when used at full strength, may result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and potential liver and kidney damage. When applied in full strength topically it has been reported to cause pain, burning and blistering of the skin. When used aromatically caution should be used since adverse respiratory symptoms and reactions have been reported when used improperly. It is also noted to be unsafe for young children, pregnant women, and anyone who has sensitivity to aspirin. These adverse effects are caused by the primary constituent Methyl salicylate, which can be extremely toxic in full strength. Carrier oil such as coconut oil or olive oil are often recommended to dilute Wintergreen oil before it is used. It is very important that the user follows the relevant directions and product warnings before use.

As an added caution, many manufacturers of Wintergreen oil use synthetics to produce Methyl salicylate; for this reason, obtaining natural and pure Wintergreen oil from a trusted source is very important in reducing health risks while also obtaining the best possible health benefits. Wintergreen oil should always be used responsibly and according to the manufacturer’s recommended instructions.

For more info on Améo Essential Oils visit…

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Nutrition for Body and Soul


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