Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a bottle of muscle pain reliever at a drug store? You can find the ingredient “Methyl Salicylate” on just about every bottle or tube of joint and muscle pain rub. So what is it?
A Powerful Natural Medicine
The Methyl Salicylate found in these products is likely a synthetic, man made, chemically produced version. However, Methyl Salicylate is found in Wintergreen Essential Oil, and actually takes up about 80-90% of its composition. It is used in high concentrations as an analgesic in deep heating liniments to treat joint, nerve, and muscular pain. Wintergreen acts similar to aspirin and NSAIDs when relieving pain. It has been referred to as “Nature’s Aspirin”.
Wintergreen is native to North America. The Native Americans discovered its use and used it for the treatment of muscle and joint pain. They even chewed Wintergreen leaves when they had to run long distances so that they could endure a long journey. Wintergreen and birch are the only two plants that contain methyl salicylate.
Wintergreen Essential Oil is used as a natural ingredient in many topical pain relievers in Essential Oil Blend Recipes to help ease muscle pain, joint pain, bone pain, headaches, chronic nerve pain, PMS symptoms and arthritis. It has a strong, minty aroma. Wintergreen is also used in many other products, including mouthwash for its antiseptic properties.
Safety with Wintergreen Essential Oil
Wintergreen Essential Oil can be pretty dangerous if misused. As powerful as it is of a pain reliever, it is equally a safety hazard if not educated properly before use. Wintergreen Essential Oil must be diluted with a carrier oil (Coconut oil, Almond Oil) before used topically. It is not suggested for use on people with epilepsy, children, or pregnant or nursing women. You should also avoid Wintergreen Essential Oil if you have any bleeding disorder or are taking anticoagulants as Wintergreen acts as an NSAID and can worsen those conditions. ALWAYS ask your doctor before beginning ANY herbal medicine. Learn more here. A single teaspoon (5 ml) of methyl salicylate contains approximately 6 g of salicylate, which is equivalent to almost twenty 300 mg aspirin tablets.
Diluting Your Essential Oils Properly
The National Association for Holistic Medicine has some guidelines that are very helpful to follow when diluting your Essential Oils. I suggest following this chart when mixing any Essential Oil with a carrier oil. You can learn more here by visiting the NAHA Website.
Wintergreen Essential Oil is the natural way to obtain the pain relieving and inflammation reducing Methyl Salicylate, rather than using a weaker, man made synthetic form found in creams and rubs in drug stores. You can use this as a massage oil to rub into your skin for fast absorption, or you can blend with a salve that’s a bit thicker to rub onto problematic areas. I suggest the Purely Wintergreen Essential Oil, as their essential oils are 100% pure and steam distilled. You can get yours here.
Purely Essential Oils
This Wintergreen Essential Oil from Purely comes in a 10ml bottle, yielding about 170 powerful drops of Wintergreen for only $15. At medium 2.5% dilution with your favorite carrier oil, this bottle will yield more than 11 ounces of pain relief massage oil. At the maximum 10% dilution, this bottle will yield almost 3 ounces of maximum strength pain relief massage oil (that is a VERY strong dilution, and a little will go a long way!) Wintergreen is one of the most powerful essential oils you can buy, with one of the cheapest prices. And if you are looking for a carrier oil, You can check out my favorite here.
Each Purely Essential Oil displays a Product Information Sheet like this:
As always, check with your doctor before beginning any herbal medicine. I suggest visiting NAHA.org to learn more about using holistic medicine and aromatherapy. Natural Medicine has changed my life and I hope that maybe it can help you too.
Questions? Contact me here.
My recipe for Wintergreen Essential Oil Rub: (fills a 4oz container)
- 3 ounces coconut oil
- 1 Tablespoon BeesWax
- 24 drops Wintergreen Essential Oil
- 12 drops Lavender Essential Oil
Melt the Beeswax and Coconut Oil in a double boiler on low heat (I use a pyrex measuring cup in a shallow pan with 1/4 water), stirring occasionally. When products are melted, add essential oils to the mixture. Pour into a 4oz jar and allow to harden at air temp for 2 hours. Place a napkin over the top of the container while it is cooling. After it cools, place a tight fitting lid. I like to use glass Mason Jars. (This recipe is at a 2% dilution strength.)