Wintergreen

Latin Name

Gaultheria procumbens

Family

Ericaceae

Chemotype

Methyl salicylate

Distilled Component

Leaves

Traditionally Known Properties

Antiseptic, disinfectant. Major anti-infective (antibacterial, fungicide, parasiticide and antiviral). Boosts the immune system. Anti-inflammatory. Antiasthenic, tonicardiac. Neurotonic. Phlebotonic, venous decongestant.

Precautions

Avoid during the first 3 months of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Do not use orally.

Anecdote

For a long time, Wintergreen has been used as folk medicine to relieve headaches, colds, flu, rheumatism, lumbago, gout and sciatica. Modern pharmaceutical research has shown that methyl salicylate is a good antiseptic and has anti-rheumatic properties, and closely resembles aspirin. Wintergreen berries are edible and make a nice winter snack as they persist all winter and can be picked under the snow. Wintergreen essential oil is widely used in North America in woody fragrance formulas and in the manufacturing of toothpaste and chewing gum.