Wintergreen Oil: Uses & Benefits



Are you looking for a way to reduce joint pain?

Do you want a relaxing, soothing addition to your massages?

Do you want to improve your blood circulation throughout your body?

Most recognize wintergreen as a common flavor of mouthwashes and chewing gum.  While it is a common flavor additive, this oil also has many other common applications.  For example, it is widely used by users who suffer from arthritis and gout or other forms of general joint pain.

This oil also unleashes soothing, warming sensations when used topically in massages and balms.  In fact, one of the key chemical components of this essential oil are used in most antiarthritic balms available on the market!  Users will love the combination of its powerful benefits and delicious scent.

What is Wintergreen Oil?

Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name: Gaultheria fragrantissima
  • Application: Aromatic, topical
  • Plant Part: Leaf
  • Extraction Method: Steam distillation
  • Aromatic Description: Minty, sweet
  • Main Chemical Components: Methyl salicylate

Principal Benefits

  • Delicious, uplifting scent
  • May ease tension in muscles and joints
  • Promotes efficient circulatory function

How to Use Wintergreen Essential Oil

Wintergreen essential oil is commonly used in rubs and balms to relieve discomfort associated with joint and muscle pain.  When used in topical applications, it can also produce a warming effect, making it a popular addition to massages.  And it smells fantastic, too!

Wintergreen Essential Oil Uses

  • Dilute with a carrier oil, such as avocado or olive oil, and massage into the skin to produce a warm sensation.
  • Add 1-2 drops to a bath to create a calming, warming sensation in the bath water.
  • Apply to sore muscles to increase circulation and enhance relief of muscle pain.
  • Diffuse 1-2 drops along with pine or cedarwood oil in the wintertime to create an atmosphere of holiday cheer!

Directions for Use:

  • Aromatic: Add 3-4 drops to your diffuser of choice.
  • Topical: Direct application may irritate sensitive skin as such should always be diluted with  a carrier oil prior to topical use.
  • Internal: Wintergreen oil is not recommended for internal use.

Wintergreen Essential Oil Health Benefits

  • Contains a high concentration of methyl salicylate, which is the main ingredient widely used in commercially made muscle balms specifically designed to soothe joint pain and arthritic discomfort.  As such it can be used to target similar discomfort and may reduce joint pain.
  • This oil has highly concentrated antiseptic properties.  Applying this oil directly to the skin can help the body to fight off harmful bacteria and viruses.  However users should avoid applying directly to an open wound, as direct contact is likely to be toxic.
  • Massaging into the skin can promote more efficient blood circulation in the area, both by stimulating circulation and by helping to clear out obstructions that might restrict blood flow or to prevent them from forming at all.  In this way it can be used to reduce muscle stiffness and soreness.  These same properties can also be leveraged to reduce the risk of obstructed menstruation cycles in women, as well as to lessen the severity of the impacts of frostbite and extreme low temperatures.
  • Promotes healthy diuretic function, expediting the removal of toxins from the body.  Increasing the frequency of urination also and promotes the removal of excess salts and water from the body.
  • The strong, sweet aroma of this oil can be used to mask unpleasant odors as well as to ease tension and stress.
  • Incorporating a single drop into a facial cleanser may tighten and firm the skin, leading to a youthful complexion.
Wintergreen – Gaultheria fragrantissima

Wintergreen Essential Oil Research

Wintergreen essential oil is harvested from the leaves of its namesake creeping shrub, which is native to the North American region.  Native Americans appear to have been the first to harness its health benefits and used it to treat physical pain.  Its primary chemical component (methyl salicylate) is the source of those benefits and still used today for the same purpose.  In fact, it is used in numerous commercially-produced arthritic balms because of its ability to enhance healthy blood circulation.  It is one of only a few plant species in which methyl salicylate occurs naturally.

Wintergreen Essential Oil Safety

Wintergreen essential oil is highly toxic and should never be ingested under any circumstances.  Because this oil is poisonous to humans it should never be used orally and should never be used on or near open wounds.  Direct application to the skin is likely to cause irritation, even in small doses; dilute with a carrier oil or lotion prior to topical use in order to minimize the risk of irritating sensitive skin.  The use of essential oils should not be substituted for any prescribed medication for any medical condition, and should not be used against the advice of a medical practitioner.

Wintergreen Essential Oil Substitute

The benefits of wintergreen oil are not backed by scientific studies.  As mentioned above, essential oils should never be substituted medications prescribed by a doctor or against the recommendation of a medical practitioner.  However the benefits of this essential oil may be used to complement medications and supplements that target specific ailments.  For example, users experiencing joint pain can apply topically to enhance blood flow through the area and reduce associated pain, but should never rely exclusively upon it to treat arthritic pain or use it as a replacement for a prescribed treatment.

Wintergreen Essential Oil Blends Well With

From an aromatic standpoint, wintergreen oil may be difficult to blend with other oils because of its distinct, minty aroma; however finding the perfect blend that takes full advantage of its strong, sweet scent is well worth the search!  Oils with distinct earthy or woody notes can be mixed with the minty fresh scent of peppermint oil to create an aroma of holiday cheer at any time of the year.  Consider oils such as pine or cedarwood to produce just such an effect.  You could even add a drop of cinnamon or cumin for a spicy kick.  Soft herbal oils, such as thyme, basil, or coriander, may also blend well because they add a subtle base to its powerful aroma.  Other minty oils could also add another dimension to the its sharp scent.

Other pairings worthy of consideration include mint, narcissus, oregano, vanilla, and Ylang Ylang.


Wintergreen oil has powerful circulatory benefits that can be leveraged to enhance blood flow, reduce the manifestation of harmful blockages, and promote proper oxygen circulation throughout the system.  Those benefits can be harnessed to reduce discomfort associated with joint pain, soothe aching muscles, and even provide some relief from obstructed menstrual cycles.  Users will love its sweet, fresh, minty scent, whether applied topically or diffused into a room, and will be happy to know that a few drops will go a long way.  And users will also love its ability to produce a calm, warming sensation when massaged into the skin.


Can wintergreen oil really soothe aching joints?  While its primary chemical compound, methyl salicylate, is widely used in balms designed to treat joint pain, there are no published studies that support the ability of this oil to treat any related conditions and the FDA does not evaluate the accuracy of any such claims.  Do not use essential oils specifically to treat or diagnose any illness or against the advice of a doctor.  However avid users of essential oils have reported relief from muscle and joint pain when using balms that contain wintergreen oil, and similar testimonials exist for the benefits contained in this article.