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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

Herbs
WINTERGREEN
Boxberry, Teaberry

(Gaultheria Procumbens, Gaultheria Yunnanensis)


For Informational Use Only
For more detailed information contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.





  • Wintergreen Herbal Description
  • Wintergreen Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Wintergreen Dosage Information
  • Wintergreen Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Wintergreen Herbal amp; Related Products




  • wintergreen


    WINTERGREEN HERBAL DESCRIPTION

    Wintergreen is also known as Gaultheria procumbens, Aromatic Wintergreen, Boxberry, Canada Tea, Checkerberry, Chink, Ground Berry, Grouse Berry, Hill berry, Ivory Plum, Mountain Tea, Redberry tea, Red Pollom, Spiceberry, Spicy Wintergreen, Spring Wintergreen, Teaberry, and Wax Cluster.

    Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) is a low-growing, shrubby evergreen plant native to North America, mainly in the Northeast United States and Canada and is a member of the Ericaceae plant family. Wintergreen thrives best in rich, organic soils in shady locations, such as on mountains and forests in cool, moist regions. Wintergreen is characterized by its long stem, oval and glossy green leaves, and bell-shaped white flowers blooming during the months of July and August. The blooms turn into handsome and edible bright red berries that birds and other wildlife feast on. Animals, like the deer and the partridge, thrive on the evergreen herb as it serves as their staple food during the winter months.

    Gaultheria Yunnanensis is a Wintergreen species grown in China used in Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, swelling and pain.

    The leaves of the wintergreen plant are used to make wintergreen essential oil. Wintergreen oil has a sweet and fresh scent, similar to mint. It is very pungent, but not unpleasant. It has a pale yellow or pinkish yellow color.

    Wintergreen has astringent, stimulant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, analgesic, and diuretic properties. Wintergreen oil is mostly composed of methyl salicylate (85 to 99 percent), which accounts for almost all the healing and health-promoting properties of this essential oil. It also contains 3,7 guaiadiene, a-pinene, myrcene, delta 3-carene, limonene, and delta-cadinene. Wintergreen oil is almost similar to birch essential oil in terms of its chemical makeup. In fact, these two are the only plants in the world that contain methyl salicylate naturally.

    During the time of the American Revolution, American patriots boycotted British tea and used Wintergreen tea as a substitute.

    North American tribes used Wintergreen for a variety of conditions including kidney problems, paralysis, rheumatism, arthritis, fevers, asthma, muscle aches, inflammation, wounds, rashes, toothaches, headaches and sore throats. In the 1800s, a pharmacologist discovered that the oil from Wintergreen leaves had aspirin-like pain relief properties.

    GROWING WINTERGREEN

    Wintergreen is native from Newfoundland to Manitoba and south to Georgia. It is hardy from USDA Zone 3 to the cooler parts of Zone 7. Look for the plants in well-drained woodlands and clearings, and in acidic, frequently poor soil in the shade of evergreens such as mountain laurel and rhododendrons.

    Wintergreen makes a lovely, low ground cover for a shady garden of native plants. If you are thinking of using it in place of a conventional turf-grass lawn, be aware that it will not tolerate much foot traffic; however, you will not have to mow it. Success with wintergreen is most likely if your soil is quite acidic (pH as low as 4.5) and high in organic matter. Seeds are available, but germination is slow. Before sowing, wintergreen seeds need cold stratification (storing of seeds at low temperatures under moist conditions in order to break dormancy) for some time. Chill the seeds for four to ten weeks and then sow them on the surface of a lime-free (devoid of caustic) fertilizer in a shadowy portion of a conservatory or greenhouse. Sow seeds in a mixture of sand and peat and keep the flats or pots in a cold frame until the seedlings emerge. It is essential to always keep the compost wet. The seeds begin to germinate between one to two months at a moderate temperature of 68°F. However, if care is not taken, the sprouts may wither away owing to lack of adequate moisture and hence it is essential to water the saplings regularly and provide them with enough exposure to air. It is advisable to water the saplings with an infusion of garlic as this method is immensely beneficial in avoiding them from damping off.

    Once the saplings are reasonably grown up or up about an inch tall, prick them out and plant them in individual pots or tubs. These saplings need to be grown in delicate shade in the greenhouse at least during their first winter. Once the fall is over, the saplings may be planted outside the greenhouse either during late spring or early summer. As the wintergreen saplings are vulnerable to spring frost, it is essential to provide them with additional protection during the first few years of their outdoor life. For the first few years, the leaves of the wintergreen plants remain very small. Half mature wood of wintergreen plants about the length of three to six cm long may be cut during July and August. The plants may be put in a frame and kept in shady conditions till they are able to endure the climatic conditions well.

    A faster way to start a wintergreen patch is with plants, which are available at many nurseries. Do not dig plants from the wild. Choose a spot with at least part shade in the North or full shade in the South. Set the plants a foot or so apart, and keep them moist. When established, they will slowly spread and fill in the area. Under favorable conditions, the plants will spread indefinitely. Topdress them in the spring with leaf mold or compost.

    Normally, the wintergreen saplings form roots during late summer or spring. Root divisions of the plant is usually done almost all through the year, but gives the best results when done in spring just before the commencement of new growth. The process of root division is simple and can be done easily. Larger clusters of roots can be re-planted in their stable positions. However, it is always better to first plant the root clusters in pots or jugs in cold conditions and shift then only when the plants have rooted well. These clusters can be then planted in their permanent positions during the spring.

    Wintergreen is a creeper (procumbens means "lying flat"). Inconspicuous stems sprawl on or just below the soil surface. At intervals, erect, mostly naked stems rise 3 to 7 inches above the ground, and a few leathery, oval leaves up to 2 inches long with barely visible rounded teeth are clustered near the top. The leaves are glossy and dark green above, paler and dotted with glands underneath, and they turn red or bronze in the fall. In July and August, white or pink-tinged bell-like flowers about 1/4 inch long hang singly from short stalks in the leaf axils, each "bell" having five small scallops at the open end. The 1/4-inch round scarlet fruits, technically capsules enclosed in a fleshy calyx but popularly known as berries, persist on the plants through the following summer. Thus, it is possible to see a plant bearing this year's flowers and last year's fruit at the same time. It is more typical, though, to see a sparse patch of greenery with neither flowers nor berries.





    wintergreen flowers


    WINTERGREEN USES, HEALTH BENEFITS & SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE

    Wintergreen's medicinal uses have been widely known for many centuries, particularly by the Native Americans.

    If you have ever used a pain-relieving ointment or rub with a mentholated aroma, then chances are you already know what wintergreen oil smells like. The clean and minty scent of this herbal oil is associated with relieving pain and stimulating mental wellbeing.

    The Native Americans used the leaves to treat respiratory tract infections. They also chewed the leaves to increase endurance and respiratory capacity, helping them run long distances. Native tribes such as Ojibwes and Mohawks also drank wintergreen tea as a healthful medicinal beverage. Wintergreen leaves are often used with other herbs and roots in the making of root beer.

    Today, dilutions of wintergreen extract are popularly used as a food flavoring, and it is also added to gums and toothpaste for its minty flavor. In some cases, its strong scent can also work as a deodorizer to mask foul odors.

    Wintergreen oil is still used medicinally today, but take note: it is NOT advisable to use the pure (concentrated) essential oil, as it can be very toxic. Instead, you should dilute a very small amount in a safe carrier oil, such as Coconut oil or Olive oil. The odor decription is strong, sweet, aromatic. It blends well with Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Juniper Berry, Lavender, and Ylang Ylang essential oils.

    Diluted wintergreen oil can be applied topically or diffused via a vaporizer. It is most renowned as a pain reliever for muscular or skeletal problems. In fact, it is usually added to liniments and topical pain relievers, helping ease muscle and/or joint pain.

    When used aromatherapeutically (diffused, vaporized, or added to a steaming bowl of hot water), wintergreen oil helps relax and uplift your mood. It has powerful, mentally stimulating effects that increase your attentiveness and the vibration of the body. Wintergreen's strong aroma can also open, influence, and elevate the awareness of your senses, particularly your sensory system.

    WINTERGREEN HEALTH BENEFITS

    Wintergreen oil is said to have analgesic, antirheumatic and antiarthritic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, aromatic, and astringent properties. It also acts as a carminative, diuretic, and emenagogue. The herb is robustly anti-inflammatory, has antiseptic properties and is comforting to the digestive system.

  • When Wintergreen oil is steam-distilled it helps relieves the symptoms of colds, sore throat, headaches, and fever.
  • Wintergreen oil is sometimes used to treat cellulitis and bacterial infections.
  • Some believe chewing the root six weeks each spring will prevent toothache and tooth decay.
  • Wintergreen poultices are used to soothe arthritis, rheumatic pain, and the pain and swelling of injured muscles, ligaments, and joints.
  • Wintergreen herb, when taken as a tea, relieves flatulence and colic.
  • The Inuit of Labrador and many other native people consume the wintergreen berries uncooked, while they use the leaves of the herb to cure headaches, painful muscles as well as sore throats.


  • Pain Relief

    The most popular health benefit of wintergreen oil is its pain-relieving effects, which can help alleviate headache, muscle cramps, joint pain, tendonitis, and bone pain. Wintergreen oil also helps drive out stress and tension. Wintergreen oil stimulates blood circulation around the affected tissues and muscles, relaxing irritation and engorgement, helping clear blood obstructions, which is one of the major causes of these two conditions, thus helping aching muscles, ligaments and body joints. It has been found to be useful in curing neurological conditions like sciatica (an excrciating pain owing to pressure on a nerve in the lower part of the vertebrate column) as well as trigeminal neuralgia (pain distressing the facial nerve). It also reaches the bloodstream, where it helps stimulate and increase urination, speeding up the removal of uric acid and other toxins. This can reduce the effects of rheumatism. The oil extracted from the leaves is used as a cream or ointment and applied externally to get relief from pains and spasms.

    Infection Prevention

    Wintergreen helps prevent infections. Wintergreen oil can be fatal to bacteria (such as Staphylococcus aureus), protozoa, and fungi. However, it is not advisable to take the oil orally to fight infections in the internal organs, nor is it recommended to be used on open wounds. Wintergreen leaf oil is beneficial in healing cellulites, an infection caused by bacteria that leads to the swelling and irritation of the skin.

    Skin & Hair Health

    Wintergreen promotes skin and hair health. Wintergreen oil is said to help tone the skin and prevent acne (if used in a very diluted form). It also prevents dandruff and tones the hair roots, which helps prevent hair fall.





    WINTERGREEN DOSAGE INFORMATION

    Wintergreen comes in various forms and can be a flavoring in many products.

    While the herb is collected during the fall, wintergreen fruits or berries are harvested both during the spring as well as fall. The leaves of wintergreen herb are gathered all through the year, but summer is the best time. Leaves of the herb are dried in the shade.

  • For an infusion, take 1 teaspoonful of leaves and let infuse. Drink 3 times a day. Wintergreen may be taken in both as a tincture and infusion. The herb can be dried or even used fresh to prepare the infusion or tincture. It is, however, difficult to prepare the wintergreen infusion. To prepare an infusion of the herb, one first needs to pour boiling water over the leaves and leave it in the water for a couple of days. Once this is done, the liquid needs to be reheated and then cooled according to necessity.

  • Normally, for relevant usage and to derive the best results, methyl salicylate is used in the proportion of 10 to 25 percent in concentrations. While dried leaves may be taken in dosage of 0.5 to 1 gram, the liquid extract of the leaves can be consumed in the ratio of 1:1 with 25 percent ethanol dose of 0.5 to 1.0 ml. The dosage for wintergreen infusion is same as the dry leaves proportion. It can be taken three times daily.

  • The fruits or berries of the wintergreen plant may be consumed either fresh, dried or in the form of a jam.

  • Wintergreen oil can be taken internally as a tea, but it is important to read and follow product label directions for use. The oil extracted from the wintergreen leaves is unstable or volatile and hence it is only recommended for external use.

  • Wintergreen oil is extracted from the leaves of the plant. The leaves are macerated in warm water, encouraging the enzymes to produce methyl salicylate. Once this is done, steam distillation is used to separate the methyl salicylate, resulting in an ester (an organic acid mixed with alcohol). However, be warned that pure wintergreen oil (which is a highly concentrate form of methyl salicylate) is highly toxic even in small amounts, so you should not experiment and make your own infusion at home. Instead, look for a product that has been diluted in other organic carrier oils. Many manufacturers use synthetics instead of natural methyl salicylate for their wintergreen oil, so make sure you choose a product made with pure, natural wintergreen oil.

    Wintergreen oil is said to have cortisone-like effects that can help relieve pain quickly. Once you apply it on the affected area, it gets absorbed by your skin rapidly. The methyl salicylate in the oil helps numb the area and promotes blood circulation, providing a warm sensation to your body. This relieves pain and gives your body comfort. Wintergreen oil can penetrate further in your body, where it provides more health benefits.

  • For other formulations read and follow product label directions.





  • WINTERGREEN SAFETY, CAUTIONS & INTERACTION INFORMATION

    Wintergreen oil can be toxic if the recommended doses are exceeded.

  • If you are pregnant, refrain from using this herb.

  • Safety in young children, nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease is not known.

  • Wintergreen oil is also not recommended for small children, pregnant women, nursing moms, and epileptics.

    Despite its usefulness as a pain reliever, you need to be very careful when using wintergreen oil. Methyl salicylate is extremely toxic.16 DO NOT ingest this essential oil, even diluted preparations of it. If ingested, wintergreen oil may lead to severe liver and/or kidney organ damage. Use it in moderation, whether topically or vaporized, and diluted with a safe carrier oil.

    It is very important that you keep wintergreen oil out of the reach of children at all times. Toddlers often become tempted to ingest it because of its pleasant smell, which could be fatal. In fact, ingesting a single teaspoon of wintergreen oil is equivalent to taking almost 90 baby aspirins, and can lead to death. According to the Oregon State University website, just 10 milliliters can be fatal for a child, while 30 milliliters can kill an adult.

    You should do a skin patch test to check for sensitivity before using this essential oil. Simply apply a small amount on your arm and see if any allergic reactions occur. If you have an allergy to aspirin, you should also refrain from using this oil, as they have the same components. The methyl salicylate in wintergreen oil may cause certain allergic reactions, such as hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, tongue, lips, or throat. It may also cause pain, severe burning, and blistering of the skin.





    wintergreen


    WINTERGREEN HERBAL PRODUCTS

  • Wintergreen Herbal & Oil Products


  • QUALITY SUPPLIES & PRODUCTS


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    WINTERGREEN HERB & OIL PRODUCTS

    Wintergreen's lively, heating and cooling mentholated power gives temporary relief to the symptoms of muscular, arthritic and rheumatic aches and pains: use a nassage oil blend with a ratio of 5 drops Wintergreen to l0 ml carrier oil and rub as a penetrative liniment into the affected areas. Wintergreen blends well with oregano, mints, thyme, ylang ylang, narcissus and vanilla. Cosmetically, wintergreen speeds the healing of skin disorders, and when added to lotions it acts as a natural softener readily absorbed by the skin. In fact, oil of wintergreen was once used to soften leather used in bookbinding. As a liniment, wintergreen is an important ingredient of the popular lotion to relieve overexerted muscles: Ben Gay. Pure oil of wintergreen can cause irritation and must be used cautiously. For external use only. It is poisonous except in very small amounts if ingested. Wintergreen should never be used during pregnancy.

    STARWEST BOTANICALS PRODUCTS

    Starwest Botanicals: Wintergreen Chew, Golden Eagle, 1.2 oz.
    Starwest Botanicals: Vegan Cool Hemp Muscle Rub Tube, With Wintergreen Essential Oil, 0.6 oz.
    A base of organic hemp seed oil blended with peppermint, spearmint and wintergreen essential oils along with organic menthol crystals and camphor crystals, achieves a unique analgesic cooling effect. It is traditionally used for reducing pain and inflammation associated with sore muscles and strains as well as congestion.


    HERBSPRO PRODUCTS

    HerbsPro: Organic Wintergreen Essential Oil, Simplers Botanicals, 5 ml
    100% Pure organic Wintergreen (Gaultheria fragrantissima) Essential Oil
    HerbsPro: Wintergreen Pure Essential Oil, Natures Alchemy, 0.5 fl. oz. (17062)
    HerbsPro: Wintergreen Essential Oil, Aura Cacia, 0.5 fl. oz.
    HerbsPro: Wintergreen Oil, Now Foods, 1 fl. oz. (68892)
    HerbsPro: Wintergreen Essential Oil, Heritage Products, 1 fl. oz. (81952)
    HerbsPro: Wintergreen Gel Toothpaste With Fluoride, Natures Gate, 5 oz. (70673)
    HerbsPro: Wintergreen Toothpaste With Tea Tree, Desert Essence, 6.25 oz. (14865)
    HerbsPro: Cool Wintergreen Mouth Wash, Crest Pro Health, 33.3 fl. oz. (99182)
    HerbsPro: Between Dental Gum, Wintergreen, Eco-Dent, 12 Pieces, Case of 12 (65094)
    HerbsPro: Wintergreen Tums, Extra Strength Antacid Calcium Supplement, 96 Tabs (101386)
    HerbsPro: Chamomile Wintergreen Extract, Alcohol Free, Eclectic Institute Inc, 1 fl. oz. (31871)
    HerbsPro: Chamomile Wintergreen Extract, Alcohol Free, Eclectic Institute Inc, 2 fl. oz. (31872)


    KALYX PRODUCTS

    Kalyx: Wintergreen Pink Lozenges, Dutch Valley, 10 lbs. Bulk (GR)
    Kalyx: Wintergreen Pink Lozenges, New England Confectionery Co, 30 lbs. Bulk (GR)
    Kalyx: Wintergreen Flavored Extract, Old Hickory, 2 fl. oz. (Case of 12) (GR)
    Kalyx: Wintergreen Extract (Gaultheria procumbens), Health & Herbs, 2 fl. oz. (HH)
    Kalyx: Wintergreen Non-Alcoholic Extract (Gaultheria procumbens), Health & Herbs, 2 fl. oz. (HH)
    Kalyx: Wintergreen Extract (Gaultheria procumbens), Health & Herbs, 8 fl. oz. (HH)
    Kalyx: Wintergreen Non-Alcoholic Extract (Gaultheria procumbens), Health & Herbs, 8 fl. oz. (HH)
    Kalyx: Wintergreen Extract (Gaultheria procumbens), Health & Herbs, 16 fl. oz. (HH)
    Kalyx: Wintergreen Non-Alcoholic Extract (Gaultheria procumbens), Health & Herbs, 16 fl. oz. (HH)
    Kalyx: Wintergreen Extract (Gaultheria procumbens), Health & Herbs, 32 fl. oz. (HH)
    Kalyx: Wintergreen Essential Oil, Aura Cacia, 1/2 oz. (K)
    Kalyx: Wintergreen Essential Oil, Starwest Botanicals, 4 fl. oz. (C)
    Kalyx: Wintergreen Essential Oil, Starwest Botanicals, 16 fl. oz. (C)
    Kalyx: Wintergreen Essential Oil, Starwest Botanicals, 1 Gallon (C)


    AMAZON PRODUCTS

    Amazon: Wintergreen Oil Products
    Amazon: Wintergreen Extracts & Flavoring Products
    Amazon: Wintergreen Leaves Herbal Products
    Amazon: Wintergreen Leaves, Brewer's Best, 1 oz.
    Wintergreen leaves are often an ingredient in making homemade root beers.
    Amazon: Wintergreen Dried Leaf, Mostly Whole, Ravenz Roost, 1 oz.
    Amazon: Wintergreen Herb Tea (Loose Leaf), TerraVita, 4 oz.




  • Nutrition Basics: Wintergreen Herb Information






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