Wintergreen essential oil: virtues and uses
Summary of recipes
What are the properties of wintergreen essential oil?
Widely recognised for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, wintergreen essential oil is a powerful treatment for all pains linked to intense physical effort. It helps to fight against muscular rheumatism (stretching, cramps, contractures, aches, torticollis, lumbago), joint rheumatism (gout attacks, inflammatory arthritis, osteoarthritis, polyarthritis) and traumatic contusions (sprains, tendonitis, muscle strain).
Its warm, strong and woody scent is commonplace in sports halls across the world because wintergreen, an ally of sportsmen, is generally used in the composition of treatments used by masseurs and physiotherapists. Multitalented, it prepares the muscles and joints before a physical effort and aids recovery afterwards.
It can also help with headaches, although it’s less effective than peppermint. Wintergreen is also useful in treating eczema and keloid scars, but these are not its main properties.
- Analgestic: it reduces the perception of pain
- Anti-rheumatic: it combats pain caused by rheumatism
- Anti-inflammatory: it fights against inflammation
- Antispasmodic: it relaxes and loosens muscles
- Hepatic stimulant: it activates the cells and the functions of the liver
How to use wintergreen essential oil?
Wintergreen essential oil is mainly used applied topically to the skin or in baths. However, it can be irritating to sensitive skin. Because of this, it’s important to dilute it to 25% in a neutral base or a neutral vegetable oil (such as Arnica or St. John's Wort), regardless of your age. It has a warming effect on the skin and a soothing effect on pain.
For topical application: Dilute 2 drops of Wintergreen essential oil in 5 drops of neutral vegetable oil, for use from 15 years of age. For younger children (aged 7 years up), it’s necessary to dilute Wintergreen essential oil in a ratio of 1 drop in 6 drops of neutral vegetable oil. The mixture should not be applied more than 3 times a day for a maximum of 7 days.
Avoid applying Wintergreen essential oil directly to recent haematomas (otherwise known as bruises with oedema).
In the bath: Use 3 drops of Wintergreen essential oil diluted in a capful of neutral base, from 15 years of age. For younger children (aged 7 years and up), Wintergreen essential oil should be diluted at a ratio of 1-2 drops in a cap of neutral base for bath or shampoo.
It’s important to be prepared for Wintergreen’s sometimes revulsive, vasodilatory, and warming effect, which some can find irritating. It’s advisable to carry out a skin test before using it, if you or someone you care for has sensitive skin.
Ask your pharmacist for advice before use. It is crucial to respect the recommended doses to avoid misuse.
What are the contraindications of Wintergreen essential oil?
Like all essential oils, Wintergreen is not recommended for children under 7 years of age, or pregnant or breastfeeding women, for those with kidney or liver problems, a history of convulsions or hyperthermic convulsions, cardiovascular pathologies, or for people prone to epilepsy and asthma. In general, in cases of ongoing medical treatment, long-term illness or medical history, always seek the advice of a health professional, doctor or pharmacist before use.
Wintergreen essential oil is also very rich in methyl salicylate and is therefore not recommended if you are allergic to salicylic derivatives such as aspirin, certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or if you are on anticoagulant treatment. In all cases, it is essential to follow the precautions for use specific to Wintergreen.
Wintergreen essential oil is strictly forbidden from oral use in children aged 7 and under. For adults, only a doctor can prescribe it orally.
Because of its unpleasant fragrance and the presence of phenols, wintergreen essential oil is not particularly suitable for diffusion or inhalation. It can cause severe irritation to the eyes, and respiratory mucosa.
How to relieve tendonitis with wintergreen essential oil?
Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons, the bands of fibres that connect the muscles to the bones. Once inflamed, the tendons cause severe pain to the point where everyday tasks are impeded or even made impossible to perform.
Tendonitis develops during intensive repetition of one or more gestures that put too much strain on the tendons when they are poorly warmed up, poorly trained or weakened by an illness.
All parts of the tendon can be affected: the tendon itself, the part connected to the bone or the sheaths surrounding it.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, Wintergreen essential oil soothes pain linked to tendon inflammation.
To alleviate pain:
How to soothe joint pain (including rheumatism, arthrosis & arthritis)?
It is important to clearly identify the area of pain, so as not to confuse pain from the joint with pain from a structure outside the joint, like bursitis or tendonitis.
Joint pain is most often caused by osteoarthritis or arthritis.
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint with pain, swelling and sometimes fluid in the joint. It affects about 10% of the population. Arthritis mainly affects the joints of the limbs, but it can also affect those of the spine or the pelvis.
Used in massage, Wintergreen essential oil reduces pain, activates oxygenation of ligaments, bones and muscles, and relieves tension.
Osteoarthritis, also known as rheumatism, is a degeneration of the joints caused by wear and tear of the cartilage that can cause pain at different stages of life. It is usually related to a person's lifestyle or is simply the result of a hereditary factor. Unfortunately, women are three times more likely to develop osteoarthritis during their lifetime. The most common are cervical osteoarthritis, lumbar or back osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis of the fingers (causing deformities), and osteoarthritis of the hips and knees – which are often linked to obesity.
This disease causes pain and stiffening of the joints which is more intense on waking, and decreases once the joints have warmed up.
Wintergreen essential oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and while it will not stop the wear and tear of cartilage, it will help to relieve the pain of osteoarthritis.
Mix 2 drops of Wintergreen essential oil, 10 drops of Lemon Bedew essential oil and 10 drops of Myrrh essential oil with 10ml of Calophylla, or another neutral vegetable oil. Massage the painful joints with this mixture, morning and evening, for a period of ten days. Repeat the treatment as required. For adults only.
Osteoarthritis or Arthritis
Create your own remedy by mixing 10 drops of Wintergreen essential oil and 40 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil in a 30ml bottle of Calophylla vegetable oil. Apply a few drops of this mixture to the painful areas, morning and evening, for 2 to 3 weeks. Repeat if necessary. For adults only.
Use 1 drop of Wintergreen essential oil, 2 drops of Rosemary Camphor essential oil and 5 drops of Macadamia vegetable oil for massage. Massage the affected areas with this mixture 3 times a day. From 12 years of age.
Mix 3 drops of Wintergreen essential oil with 10 drops of Arnica vegetable oil and massage the affected areas 3 times a day. From 15 years of age.
Mix 2 drops of Bay Leaf essential oil and 3 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil with 15 drops of Arnica vegetable oil. Apply the mixture by gently massaging it into the affected areas, 3 times a day, for 2 to 3 weeks. For adults only.
Hand and foot baths: in a warm bath, pour a mixture of 2 drops of Wintergreen essential oil diluted in 2 tablespoons of a neutral base for bath and shower. For adults only.
How to reduce muscular pain (including aches, strains and pains)?
Muscle pain, also known as myalgia, can be varied. It affects all muscles, regardless of where they are on the body. Most of us have already experienced muscle pain in our lives, whether through simple aches or more serious cases.
Muscle soreness is caused by tiny cracks in the muscle fibres, which comes as a result of excessive or unusual exercise. These cracks manifest themselves in muscular pains or a feeling of stiffness around 12 to 48 hours following physical exercise.
Wintergreen essential oil can be used to help you better manage muscular pains, and many top athletes rely on it heavily for the quick relief it brings from muscle aches and soreness.
This article contains recipes designed to provide relief from aches and pains, or to ease pain. If you have a more serious condition, we recommend that you consult your doctor for a full diagnosis and the appropriate treatment for your situation.
Analgesic and anti-inflammatory mixture
Mix 2 drops of Wintergreen essential oil with 2 drops of Rosemary Camphor essential oil and 10 drops of Arnica vegetable oil. Apply this mixture to the painful area 3 times a day for 1 week. From 15 years of age.
Apply 2 drops of Wintergreen essential oil diluted in 10 drops of Macadamia, or another neutral vegetable oil. Apply to the painful area. From 12 years of age.
To prevent the pulling of muscles
Dilute 2 drops of Wintergreen essential oil in 10 drops of Arnica vegetable oil. Apply this treatment before exercise. From 12 years of age.
To treat the pulling of muscles
Mix 1 drop of Wintergreen essential oil and 2 drops of Rosemary Camphor essential oil in 15 drops of Arnica vegetable oil. Massage the mixture into the affected areas 3 times a day for 3-4 days. From 12 years of age.
How to relax your muscles
The aim is to relax a muscle as much as possible following a muscle contracture.
A muscle contracture occurs when a muscle undergoes an involuntary contraction, or just becomes tense. Even a small contracture that isn’t paid attention to can, if it degenerates, turn into a cramp.
A cramp is a sudden, short, unexpected, and generally very painful involuntary contraction of one or more muscles.
The areas most affected by contractures are the calves or feet for athletes, or the hands for writers.
This is where massaging with essential oils, before or after an intensive effort, can help. The massage allows the muscle to relax and become more comfortable and fluid as they move.
Relaxing massage oil
Relaxing massage oil Mix 3 drops of Tarragon essential oil, 1 drop of Wintergreen essential oil and 2 drops of Rosemary Camphor essential oil in 6 drops of Macadamia vegetable oil. Massage the contracted muscles with this mixture. Repeat once an hour, if necessary. For adults only.
Dilute 2 drops of Niaouli essential oil, 1 drop of Wintergreen essential oil and 2 drops of Lavandin Super essential oil, in 1 tablespoon of Arnica vegetable oil. Massage the painful areas after the effort with this mixture. From 12 years of age.
Check out our advice on muscle spasms to learn more about their causes and how you can relieve them naturally.
How to reduce the pain of a muscle tear?
A muscle tear, also known as a muscle strain, is a partial or total rupture of a muscle due to excessive stress or trauma, during overly intense physical effort. The areas particularly sensitive to muscle tears are the thigh (front or back) and the calf.
The analgesic properties of Wintergreen will significantly reduce the intense pain caused by a muscle tear.
To prevent tearing
Mix 2 drops of Wintergreen essential oil, 2 drops of Helichrysum essential oil and 3 drops of Ylang-ylang essential oil in 5 drops of Calophylla vegetable oil. Apply 3 times a day by gently massaging into the affected area. For adults only.
Apply 2 drops of Wintergreen essential oil diluted in 10 drops of Macadamia or another neutral vegetable oil to the painful area. From 12 years old.
How to relieve back pain (lumbago, sciatica) naturally?
There are many causes of back pain: lack of exercise, prolonged bad posture, a sudden or violent muscular effort, carrying heavy loads, malformation of the vertebrae, arthrosis, and more. People who are overweight are also often prone to back pain.
The most frequent case is lumbago, which is a very intense pain in the back, preventing you from most formerly easy movements, most of the time. It is often caused by just one abrupt gesture or movement.
Massages with essential oils and relaxation practices may allow you to gradually resume your daily activities and movements.
Whether or not it is a lumbago, back pain is more a symptom than an illness, the cause of which must be sought out. If the pain becomes chronic or if recurrences are frequent, it’s important to speak to a medical professional.
Apart from rest, the effect of which should not be exaggerated, or weight loss, which is often very beneficial, the pain will subside with the help of analgesic essential oils, among which Wintergreen is one of the best.
Back pain: Apply 2 drops of Wintergreen essential oil diluted in 10 drops of Arnica or St John's Wort vegetable oil. From 12 years of age.
Sciatica and lumbago
In an empty bottle, mix 2 drops of Wintergreen essential oil and 2 drops of Juniper essential oil with 10ml of Calophylla vegetable oil.
Be careful, if you experience this type of pain, it’s important to always consult a health professional. The above recipe does not cure but relieves the pain thanks to the analgesic effect of Wintergreen essential oil.
How to reduce pain following a traumatic contusion (shocks or blows)?
A contusion is an injury which doesn’t necessarily appear severe, produced by an impact that doesn’t tear the skin. It most often affects the muscles after a shock or blow (during combat sports, team sports, dropping an object on the foot, hitting a piece of furniture, etc.).
The affected area becomes sensitive and painful when its touched, or during movement. Depending on the violence of the blow, a haematoma or bruise may appear.
- A haematoma is an accumulation of blood under the skin or in an organ, leaving a bluish, swollen lesion
Ecchymosis, also called a "bruise", is less intense and causes a purplish-blue spot that turns yellow or greenish, indicating an accumulation of blood under the skin.
Bumps, bruises, blows
Mix 1 drop of Helichrysum essential oil, 1 drop of Wintergreen essential oil, 1 drop of Bay Leaf essential oil and 1 drop of Peppermint essential oil into 8 drops of Arnica vegetable oil. Apply to the affected area. From 12years.
Avoid applying this recipe directly to recent haematomas (bruises with swelling).
How to treat a sprain or strain with Wintergreen essential oil?
A sprain is a traumatic injury to one or more ligaments in a joint. It’s caused by a sudden, violent movement and usually accompanied by a twist. A mild sprain is a simple stretching of the ligaments, also called a strain.
Sprains can occur in the upper or lower limbs, although most often the ankle is the victim. In fact, a sprained ankle is the most common sports injury.
To relieve the pain linked to joint shock, use Wintergreen essential oil in a massage, to calm the pain locally thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Mix 2 drops of Wintergreen essential oil and 2 drops of Helichrysum essential oil in 5 drops of Arnica vegetable oil. Massage this mixture lightly into the affected area twice a day for 7 days. From 12 years of age.
Apply 2 drops of Wintergreen essential oil mixed with 10 drops of Calophylla vegetable oil directly to the painful area. From 12 years of age.
Mix 1 drop of Wintergreen essential oil, 1 drop of Bay Leaf essential oil and 5 drops of Calophylla vegetable oil. Apply the mixture by massaging in gently, 4 times a day. For adults only.
Disclaimer: This article is intended as a guide and is not intended to replace the advice of a physician, pharmacist, or other health care professional.
For any therapeutic use, consult a doctor or a pharmacist. Refer carefully to the contraindications and precautions for use of each essential oil. In case of doubt, consult a health professional.
Extracts from the books "Aromatherapia, tout sur les huiles essentielles" and "HUILES ESSENTIELLES, HUILES VÉGÉTALES & HYDROLATS : Mes indispensables", by Isabelle Pacchioni, published by Editions Aroma Thera and from the book "Automassages aux huiles essentielles, guide visuel" by Isabelle Pacchioni, published by Editions Leduc.s