Oregano Essential Oil

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oregano-bannerAcclaimed as ‘The Mediterranean Miracle’, ‘Mountain Joy’ and as the ‘Wonder Herb in Ayurveda’, Oregano has been aiding people all over the world and especially in the Mediterranean regions to maintain healthy living for numerous centuries.

The most popular Ayurvedic book, ‘Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine’ by Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad says “Oil of Oregano is one of the most potent antiseptics known to man.

Botanically known as Origanum Vulgare, Oregano is yet another prestigious limb of the mint family, Lamiaceae and has its origin in the Mediterranean region and southwestern Eurasia. Ayurveda, the mother of all healing sciences used Oregano (known as Sathra) and its essential oil as a heating carminative to treat digestive disorders and was also used for treating toothache, skin problems, pain and inflammation.

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Historical uses of Oregano essential oil and the herb:

Known as the staple herb of the Italian-American cuisine, Oregano is one among the best culinary herbs in the world used in a variety of Mediterranean cuisines, Mexican food, Italian dishes and is also used in making fried, roasted or grilled vegetables, meat, fish and much more food varieties. It is also a part of many Lebanese, Turkish, Palestinian, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese, Syrian, Latin American and Egyptian cuisines.

Oregano essential oil is extracted from the leaves of this plant. This oil has been in use since the primordial times in various medicinal practices. The Traditional Chinese Medicine used Oregano for treating vomiting, fever and diarrhea. The fresh leaves were used in tea for strengthening the immune system and for dealing with infections.

Biblical texts denote Oregano as a cleansing tonic. The ancient Arabic medicine used this herb for food preservation and for treating gastrointestinal disorders. The natural medicinal system of Philippines used Oregano and its essential oil for treating cough and ear aches in children. It was also used in curing pain and given for women after childbirth for its emmenagogue properties.

Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician and the father of western medicine used Oregano as an effective antiseptic and for treating respiratory and digestive ailments. History denotes that it was the Greeks who discovered the disinfectant and antimicrobial properties of this oil and they used it for treating skin infections, sore throat, wounds, viral infections and for protecting the body from the effect of harmful organisms.

Chemical constituents and therapeutic properties of Oregano oil:

Oregano essential oil is enriched with chemical constituents like carvacrol, cymene, thymol, borneol, terpinene, pinene, linalyl acetate, bisabolene, linalool, caryophyllene and geranyl acetate. The remedial properties of this oil are antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, antioxidant, emmenagogue, anti-allergenic, digestive, anti-inflammatory and immune stimulant.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Oregano essential oil:

Ayurveda means ‘science of life’, the science that preaches the simple methodologies to prevent illness, stay healthy and for healthy aging that makes you independent in your 60s or 70s without relying upon anyone to assist your health conditions.

The philosophy of Ayurveda relates the life of an individual with the life of the Universe. Based upon this innate wisdom, Ayurveda further explains that the Universe is made up of five elements namely fire, water, earth, air and ether and it also states that an individual is also made up of the five elements of nature, which is also known as the building blocks of life.

Among these five elements water governs the movement of fluids in the body like blood, saliva, mucus and plasma. Fire determines the digestive power, intellectual skills and body temperature. Air controls the functioning of the heart, stomach, lungs, joints and intestines.

Ether is present in all parts of the human body where the presence of cavity and emptiness are witnessed like heart, nostrils, blood vessels, bladder etc. Earth represents vigor, braveness, constancy and steadiness.

The individual constitution comprises of three energy elements known as doshas (vata, pitta and kapha). Vata represents air and ether, pitta stands for fire and water and kapha stands for water and earth. Imbalance of doshas leads to illnesses.

Ayurveda recommends the use of herbs, essential oils, healthy lifestyle, meditation and yoga to bring the body and mind back to balance. Oregano oil is known to enhance pitta deficiency and reduce kapha and vata excess.

The major Ayurvedic health benefits of Oregano essential oil are:

Oregano-broucher1. Protects the body from infections and allergies:

Oregano oil has been proved effective for treating numerous infections and allergic conditions with its antibiotic, antimicrobial, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic properties.

The Georgetown University research on Oregano oil’s effectiveness against drug-resistant bacteria, proves that the presence of carvacrol component in Oregano oil lessen the infections as effectively as the traditional antibiotics.

A study conducted by the Mexican researchers on the effectiveness of Oregano to treat giardia, which is a water-borne bacterium that lives inside the intestines. Another study proves that Oregano oil is effective in killing giardia bacterium than the generally prescribed drug tinidazol. Oregano is a powerful anti-bacterial oil that wards off numerous pathogenic bacteria like E.coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Strep and protects one from typhoid, sores, cholera, infections in the colon, urinary tract and certain other skin infections.

Parasites like tape worms, round worms, mosquitoes, fleas, lice and bed bugs cause innumerable communicable diseases that affect the human body severely. Oregano essential oil has anti-parasitic properties that aids in killing parasites.

Viral infections like cold, pox, mumps and measles weaken your immune power and paves way for other harmful organisms to affect your health. Oregano essential oil is a powerful immune stimulant that strengthens your immune system, fight against viruses and makes your system resistant to other foreign bodies.

Fungal infections like athlete’s foot and ringworm can be treated aromatically with the antifungal properties of this oil. Being an anti-allergenic oil, Oregano acts as a sedative and pacifies the hyper-sensitive reaction responsible for allergies.

A 2001 research on ‘Antimicrobial activity of essential oils from plants against selected pathogenic and saprophytic microorganisms’ proved that among the 11 essential oils tested for effectiveness against microbes, Oregano essential oil showed the highest inhibitory rate against pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms. The carvacrol and thymol compounds in this oil are very effective in killing a microbe known as Candida, which is the reason behind eczema and psoriasis.

To guard yourself against such infections and allergies, you can either topically apply 2 drops of Oregano oil blended with olive oil on the affected area or add 2 drops of oil in your bath or skin care cream or lotions.

2. Promotes digestive health:

Oregano essential oil is a heating carminative oil that aids in increasing the pitta flow and promotes quicker digestion. Massaging your tummy with 2 drops of Oregano oil blended with sesame oil can assist in treating slow digestion due to excess of mucous deposits in the stomach or fullness.

You can also add 2 to 3 drops of Oregano oil in warm compresses to help with stomach upsets, relieving gas, enabling the movement of food and for regularizing the entire process of digestion.

3. Assists respiratory problems:

As Oregano essential oil has warming effect, it can assist the body when it is cold and treat problems like cold, sinusitis, headache, mucous congestion, whooping cough, pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Oregano essential oil is said to be one of the best essential oils for opening blocked sinus passages and treat congestion as a natural decongestant.

Light Miller in her book ‘Ayurveda and Aromatherapy’ says that Oregano essential oil is a warming diaphoretic oil that eliminates surface toxins, provoke perspiration, improve blood circulation and relieve headaches due to congestion or cold.

Add 2 drops of Oregano oil to steaming water and inhaling this medicated steam will aid in alleviating congestion, open blocked nasal passages and relieve pain due to cold and infection. You can also blend 2 drops of Oregano oil with coconut oil and gently massage the soles of your feet or apply on your chest and back or add it to warm bathing water for immediate relief from cold, sore throat and sinus problems.

4. Helps relieve pain and inflammation:

The anti-inflammatory, immune stimulant and warming diaphoretic properties of Oregano oil assist in eliminating toxins from the body, reduce inflammation, increase blood circulation and lessen pain and inflammation in rheumatic and arthritic patients.

Gently massaging the affected area with 2 drops of Oregano oil blended with coconut oil or adding it to your bath helps in reducing pain and inflammation in arthritis. Oregano essential oil has been proved by the Physiotherapy research to contain morphine-like properties that act as a perfect pain relief aid.

5. Fights against prostate cancer:

The University of Arizona research and the study by the Long Island University have proved that Oregano essential oil has antioxidant and anti-cancerous properties that fights against many types of human cancers.

Prostate cancer has been listed as the second important cause of cancerous death in American men. This study found that the presence of the active constituent, carvacrol in Oregano oil helps in the treatment of prostate cancer by stimulating apoptosis (programmed death of cells) in prostate cancer cells.

Other health benefits:

Oregano essential oil also helps in alleviating dysmennorhea, normalizing blocked menstruation and treating menopausal symptoms. This oil is also used for treating intestinal parasites, muscular pain, warts, vaginal candida and asthma.

Disclaimer:

Never use essential oils directly on the skin and always dilute it in suitable carrier oils as essential oils are highly concentrated solutions. Avoid using essential oils internally. Consult your Ayurvedic physician before using the right essential oils for your unique individual constitution and state of health. Avoid using essential oils if you are pregnant or a nursing mother.

Thought for the day:

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.    -Aristotle

Suggested Reading:

  1. Oregano – The Herb that Saved…My Life by Thomas Mayhew
  2. The Cure Is in the Cupboard: How to Use Wild Oregano for Better Health by Cass Ingram
  3. The Oregano Oil Supplement: Alternative Medicine for a Healthy Body (Health Collection) by William Wagner
  4. Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-resistant Bacteria by Stephen Harrod Buhner

Reference Links:

  1. Oregano Oil May Protect Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria by the Georgetown University Researcher published in Science Daily
  2. Oregano by Wikipedia
  3. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils from plants against selected pathogenic and saprophytic microorganisms published in PubMed
  4. Oregano Active Constituent Kills Prostate Cancer Cells by Herbcyclopedia

Ayurveda and Turmeric Essential Oil: The Natural Bond

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You can seldom find an Indian kitchen without this noble herb named ‘Turmeric’, used since 4000 years in the ancient healing system known as Ayurveda. The power of this herb is being realized by the contemporary researchers and innumerable research studies prove its efficiency, fighting for its stand in healing even the most complicated of the diseases. Each and every part of the turmeric plant is beneficial in its own ways and the essential oil is extracted from the rhizomes or the roots of this plant and that is why most of the times, Turmeric essential oil is favorably called as Turmeric root essential oil. Whenever and wherever you talk about or think about Ayurveda, you can never neglect the essence and health values imparted by this grand herb known as ‘Kanchani’ in Sanskrit meaning ‘The Golden Goddess’.

Healing properties of ‘versatile’ herb Turmeric: Turmeric herb is scientifically known as Curcuma Longa. The essential oil extracted from  the roots or bulbs of  this Indian Saffron plant by steam distillation process is said to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, analgesic, anti-oxidant, anti-spasmodic, antiseptic, diuretic, anti-allergic, digestive, vulnerary, carminative, astringent, cardiovascular, cholagogue, anti-tumor, appetizer, stimulant and alterative properties proven to be the best natural cure for the most problematical human illnesses like cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, urinary tract infections, amenorrhea, hemorrhoids, gallstones, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) like Genital Herpes, Hepatitis-C etc, liver problems and even the most obscure skin disorders. Ayurveda suggests the use of turmeric in daily cooking for its priceless medicinal benefits.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Turmeric essential oil: Ayurveda has proudly named Turmeric as an ‘All-Purpose Cleanser’, insisting on the benefits of this herb in purifying the body from internal and external disorders. This energizing herb is meant to support the imbalance of Kapha body type (who are generally fat, obese and with a hefty body) with its warming properties and that is why Turmeric is used as an effective remedy in numerous natural weight-loss treatments. It also helps in resuming the function of pitta and vata body types also.

Nature’s shield against cancer: Cancer is hard to think and difficult to digest and I have personally felt the pain of losing my near ones to this deadly disease, being ignorant of the curative values granted by Ayurveda few years back. Turmeric has been used in numerous Ayurvedic treatments to help fight against cancer as it is said to restrain the development of fresh blood vessels in tumors and holds its growth. An accepted research in 2011 has witnessed that Turmeric essential oil has the capacity to fight against the free radicals in the body and act as excellent antioxidant, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory agents. Ayurveda’s uses of Turmeric oil as an effective tool for preventing cancer has again been proved by this research which says that Turmeric essential oil increases the level of Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and augment carcinogen detoxification in the human body and effectively function as a perfect cancer-preventing force.

Brilliantly assists the digestive system: Along with imparting irresistible aroma and flavor to the food, turmeric supports the function of the digestive system. The safety prescribing authority of herbs in Germany known as the German Commission E has allegedly approved the use of Turmeric in treating digestive disorders. It stimulates the mucous element in the gastric juices and aids in curing irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, constipation and other chronic digestive disorders. Turmeric essential oil strengthens digestion and eliminates the toxins that are stored in the gastrointestinal tract.

Pampers the skin perfectly: Turmeric is the beauty secret of Queens since the prehistoric period. Ayurveda suggests the use of Turmeric daily as it protects the skin from harmful bodies and gives a flawless fair complexion. You might have come across the use of Turmeric essential oil in innumerable skin care products in the market for it is celebrated to treat wounds, eczema, wrinkles, pigmentation of skin, pimples, acne, psoriasis, cuts, burns and other skin infections.

Other health conditions: According to Ayurveda, turmeric is said to reduce Kapha (mucous secretion) and hence it is used an as effective aid in treating respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, accumulation of phlegm, common cold, cough, flu etc. It improves blood circulation and helps in treating female health problems like amenorrhea, dysmennorhea, uterine tumors, endometriosis and cysts. It protects the liver, treats diabetes, kidney pain, colitis, food poisoning, headache, vascular dysfunction, blood pressure, inflammation, swelling and reduces excess cholesterol.

How to use Turmeric essential oil: This powerful essential oil can be diluted with carrier oils and used as a topical application or for a relaxing Ayurvedic massage. Few drops of oil can be added to potpourris, vaporizers, candles or diffusers for combating germs in the air and protecting the environment naturally. It can also be added to your bath tub for an aromatic, healing, stimulating and energizing bath. Turmeric essential oil is generally ingested for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties but it is strictly advised to consult an expert Ayurvedic Practitioner before using this oil internally and if you are pregnant or getting ready for a child.

All that glitters is not gold’ is a popular adage. With the bright golden color, Turmeric in the Ayurvedic world can be remembered by saying ‘All that glitters is Turmeric’ (rightly called as the Golden Goddess).

Thought for the day♥

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.

                                                                                    -Thomas Carlyle

Suggested reading:

  1. Turmeric: The Ayurvedic Spice of Life by Prashanti DeJager MS
  2. Curcumin: The 21st Century Cure: Prevent and Reverse: cancer, depression and dementia, digestive disorders, diabetes, pain and arthritis, heart disease and more by Jan McBarron M.D.
  3. Turmeric and the Healing Curcuminoids by Muhammed Majeed, Vladimir Badmaev, Frank Murray

Reference Links:

  1. Turmeric: ‘The Golden Goddess’ by California College of Ayurveda
  2. Turmeric by University of Maryland Medical Center
  3. An evaluation of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antinociceptive activities of essential oil from Curcuma longa. L by PubMed
  4. Uses of Turmeric in Ayurveda by IndiaNetzone

Wintergreen Essential Oil

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Winter-green-bannerWintergreen essential oil extracted from the leaves of Wintergreen plants, botanically known as Gaultheria Procumbens is native to North America and Canada. Gaultheria fragrantissima wallich is indigenous to India and the Indian Wintergreen essential oil has similar therapeutic properties just as the American Wintergreen essential oil. I love Wintergreen oil for its effectiveness in relieving muscular pains and spasms.

Experts call it as ‘Nature’s Aspirin’ as it is exceptionally potent in treating arthritic and rheumatic pain since ages together. Ayurveda, the ancient natural science of healing calls this herb as Gandapura and was used in many spiritual ceremonies where this sacred plant was trusted to bring harmony between earth and its inhabitants through its healing powers.

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Historical uses of Wintergreen essential oil:

The essential oil of Wintergreen was used for flavoring in the primordial times. The principal constituent of this oil is methyl salicyclate, which is 98% of this oil and other major constituents are gaultherilene, myrcene, limonene and formaldehyde.

The Native Americans used Wintergreen leaves to brew tea for treating rheumatic problems and chewed the leaves to treat respiratory problems, headache, sore throat, fever, tooth decay and to augment lung capacity.

Wintergreen essential oil is used externally as a folk medicine for joint problems, muscular discomforts, inflammation, cramps, rheumatism, arthritis, psoriasis, bruises, eczema, improper blood circulation, cellulite, headache, obesity and certain heart diseases. Wintergreen was used in numerous ritual practices for treating curses, protecting from evils and for its amazing healing benefits.

Chemical constituents or Gas Chromatography Report (GC) of Wintergreen oil:

According to the Gas chromatography report, Wintergreen oil constitutes of 2 chemical components that contribute to its fragrance, therapeutic attributes, consistency and quality of this oil. Of which, Methyl salicylate contributes to the highest proportion of Wintergreen oil with about 99.9% of its total composition.

Just click on:

I trust that this must certainly help you in getting to know the exclusive information about the prime chemical constituents of Wintergreen oil.

The table crafted below clearly depicts the unique nature and contributions of these bio-chemical constituents to the healing magnificence of Wintergreen essential oil.

wintergreen-gct

Ayurvedic health benefits of Wintergreen essential oil:

Ayurveda is a holistic approach that doesn’t focus on the disease alone but treats the individual as a whole. According to this ancient science, human body is made up of three doshas or energy elements namely vata, pitta and kapha, which are a combination of five vital elements of nature (air, water, fire, earth and ether).

Vata symbolizes air and is responsible for ejections, eliminations and discharges of the body. It regulates metabolism and is the key to functions of the brain and nervous system. Pitta represents fire and is in charge of digestion, body temperature, vision and reasoning skills.

Kapha with its lubricating qualities signifies earth and is completely responsible for the shape and figure of an individual. Reproductive health, circulation, muscular strength and ability to regain good health are vested with a balanced kapha.

Every individual will have a predominance of any of these three doshas where the predominant one determines the characteristic of an individual. Good health is a symbol that your doshas are in balance and imbalance of any of these doshas will end up in illness.

Ayurvedic remedies are purely natural and suggest the use of herbs, essential oils extracted from plants, Abhyanga or Ayurvedic massage, practice of yoga, meditation, taking up an Ayurvedic routine and spirituality.

Wintergreen essential oil is a trusted medication in treating vata imbalances predominantly. In Ayurveda, wintergreen oil is used in treating Vata gout where the autoimmune system gets weakened and affects joints and muscles.

This is mainly due to the natural pain killing attribute of Wintergreen oil and a gentle massage with Wintergreen essential oil is said to soothe and warm up the skin, granting complete relief from pain, stiffness, inflammation and dryness.

Let’s now have a look at the other major Ayurvedic health benefits of Wintergreen essential oil are:

Wintergreen-broucher1. Chronic rheumatism and arthritis:

Rheumatoid arthritis or chronic rheumatism is a long term health disorder and is known as Ama vata in Ayurvedic terms. It affects the joints, causing inflammation, swelling, redness, and sharp pain.

Ayurveda states that the fundamental cause for this illness is the imbalance of the digestive fire and the stagnation of ama or toxic substances of the body mainly due to unhealthy lifestyle and stress.

Wintergreen essential oil has stimulant, anti-arthritic and anti-rheumatic properties that aids in discharging toxins from the body through urine and stimulating proper blood circulation.

Applying few drops of Wintergreen oil with carrier oils like Jojoba oil or sesame oil will help clearing impediments in the blood flow, checks rheumatism and helps in removal of toxins, reduce excess weight, salts and excess water by penetrating deeply into the tissues and muscles through the skin.

2. Pain, inflammation and muscular problems:

Wintergreen essential oil is used as a counterirritant in treating pain, sores, muscular pains, lower back pain, achy joints and inflammation, where counterirritants act by creating an irritable sensation that lessens swelling and pain in the tissues.

The analgesic, relaxant and anodyne properties of this oil cause numbness and warmth when applied on the painful area. It eliminates pain, reduce stress, drive away tension and induce good sleep by inhibiting the formation of prostaglandins responsible for causing pain.

This is mainly due to the presence of Methyl salicyclate which is equivalent to the conventional medicine aspirin (the fundamental component of aspirin is salicyclate). These soothing and pain-relieving attributes of Methyl salicyclate in Wintergreen essential oil makes it a vital part in celebrated pain relievers like BENGAY.

3. Respiratory problems and other spasmodic disorders:

The anti-spasmodic properties of Wintergreen oil aids in treating all kinds of spasms in the respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system, circulatory system and muscles.

Adding few drops of Wintergreen essential oil in steam inhalation, warm baths, gentle massaging and few other topical applications on the affected parts will give complete relief from respiratory disorders like asthma, chest congestion, breathing problems and spasmodic coughs.

Nervous afflictions, muscular contractions and certain other health disorders due to spasms can be effectively treated with the oil of Wintergreen.

4. Skin disorders:

Wintergreen essential oil is highly toxic and it acts as a protective shield against bacteria, virus, fungi, microbes and other harmful organisms. This makes it a good antiseptic and protects the skin from being septic in case of microbes’ prone open wounds, cuts and other skin infections.

This oil is very powerful and kills Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria and heals septic problems. Mild application on the skin is effective for treating all types of skin disorders as this oil has the potential to infiltrate into the skin and is easily absorbed by tissues and blood stream for faster relief. Wintergreen essential oil is also effectual in uplifting the skin, augmenting the skin tone and fighting against the symptoms of aging.

5. Digestion and elimination:

To put in simple terms, this oil boosts digestion, promotes quicker absorption of nutrients and stimulates trouble-free excretion, where the toxic substances of the body are eliminated for supporting good health.

The hepatostimulant property of Wintergreen essential oil assists the secretion of digestive enzymes, bile, gastric juices and hormones facilitating proper functioning of the body. This oil stimulates the working of gall bladder, liver, kidneys, endocrinal glands, digestive system, excretory system, circulatory system and the nervous system.

The diuretic attribute of Wintergreen oil aids in eliminating the excess water, salt, fat and uric acid in the body through urine, which makes it a promising natural remedy for treating bladder infections, hypertension, edema, obesity and water logging.

6. Woman’s health:

Being a natural emmenagogue, wintergreen essential oil helps in treating plenty of womanly problems like delayed menstruation, uterine ulcers, dysmennorhea, blocked menses, pain in the pelvic region, hair fall, hemorrhages, fatigue, vomiting and stress related to menstruation.

A soothing massage using 2 to 3 drops of Wintergreen essential oil blended with sesame oil can grant complete relief. Adding few drops of this oil to your bath tub with warm water can calm your nerves and soothe your senses.

7. Spiritual strength:

The strong aroma of Wintergreen essential oil improves attentiveness and stimulates the mind. Applying this oil to your skin is said to heighten the vibration of the body and accentuate sound.

Increased vibration helps in unveiling spiritual awareness and paves way to the harmony of self and divinity. This attribute has made Wintergreen oil to be an incredible part of the ancient chants (mantras) and meditations where sound was used for adding spiritual strength.

Wintergreen essential oil improves logical thinking and stimulates mental power. Apart from all these natural benefits, this oil is used as a flavoring agent in candies, root beer, chewing gums, smokeless tobacco, mouth fresheners, mouthwash like Listerine, in toothpastes and certain other oral care products. It is also used as a solvent in printmaking.

Disclaimer:

Ingesting Wintergreen essential oil should be strictly avoided as it is highly toxic and can cause serious health effects. 1 fl oz of this oil is equivalent to 171 adult aspirin tablets. Use it only as a topical application after diluting it with soothing carrier oils in 1:10 ratio.

This oil has blood-thinning effects and should be avoided by people who are susceptible to aspirin. Never use it on children below 12 years of age, pets, pregnant women and on broken skin. Consult your healthcare practitioner before using Wintergreen essential oil for your individual constitution.

The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) of Wintergreen oil is readily available for your enhanced safety and better usage.

Gas Chromatography Report (GC analysis) of Wintergreen oil.

Wintergreen Oil Possible Skin Issues:

Greener Life Diamond – Bio-Healthy Score => 3 Possible Skin Issues:

See => http://www.essentialdepot.com/GreenerLifeDiamond.html

Wintergreen oil can also be called as methyl salicylate as this essential oil contains about 99.9% of the methyl salicylate component. Besides being an excellent analgesic equivalent to the aspirin, it leaves behind trepidation with numerous adverse effects on the human system.

Alarmed as a toxic substance, Methyl salicylate is claimed as a neurotoxic, teratogenic and unsafe during pregnancy, labor and nursing.

Poisoning due to Methyl salicylate is said to cause adverse dermal conditions, vomiting, sweating, respiratory alkalosis, pulmonary and laryngeal edema, fluid retention, lethargy, tinnitus, internal haemorrhage, restrains blood clotting and should not be used when using blood-thinning drugs.

“Methyl salicylate is much more toxic than salicylates” quotes the book, Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. Various studies also witness that lethal poisoning of methyl salicylate in Wintergreen oil can happen by absorption through the skin cells.  Mainly due to the aspirin-like qualities of Methyl salicylate, there are chances for bleeding and other subsequent side effects when applied on the skin for treating pain and spasms.

The safe maximum dermal use level of Wintergreen oil is 2.4% as per the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). According to the Health Canada Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist, March 2011, the safe maximum level of external use of methyl salicylate in topical products is 1%. This level of usage is applicable only for topically used products and is invalid for rinse-off products, including soaps, shampoos and other bathing products.

A 2007 study, published in the Cal Journal of Emergency Medicine reveals that percutaneous (effected through the skin surface) absorption of Methyl salicylate in Wintergreen oil and other salicylates, may end up in acute poisoning, especially in people with renal failure. This study also concluded that based upon the autopsy, the death of an elderly man with renal failure occurred due to the continuous dermal absorption of Wintergreen oil.

Skrakosch studies on ointments containing salicylic acid, state that the factors affecting the dermal absorption of salicylate are “the effect of salicylic acid on the epidermis, the pathologic state of the skin, the degree of hydration of the stratum corneum, and the solvents used.” Based upon the studies on volunteers with normal skin, it was found that salicylate ointments caused damage to the epidermis within 2 to 14 days.

The use of methyl salicylate is prone to interact with drugs when used along with anticoagulant medication (warfarin) and GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). It is good to avoid Wintergreen oil if you are sensitive to salicylates and certain other skin conditions as it may trigger skin damage. Methyl salicylate is also said to inhibit platelet aggregation.

Along with Methyl salicylate and aspirin, all kinds of salicylates are teratogenic in nature and might harm the fetus so it is best avoided during pregnancy, labor and while nursing. The reproductive toxicity of Methyl salicylate has been witnessed as reproductively toxic in rodents and it can also be 4.5 times more poisonous in humans than in rodents.

Various studies have proved the high mortality rate of methyl salicylate accounting to 50 to 60% with 4 to 8 ml used in children is reported as the lethal dose for children. Use of Methyl salicylate on children (including infants and toddlers) should be strictly avoided, (especially in children with ADHD-Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), patients with hypersensitivity, asthma, gastro-intestinal irritation, inflammation and salicylate allergy.

Studies have proved the neurotoxic effects of Methyl salicylate, the excess of which can end up in death via respiratory collapse and cardiopulmonary arrest. Based on the analysis of deadly salicylate poisoning cases, it was detected in post-mortem examination that about 18% had abnormalities in the nervous system.

Wintergreen essential oil used in a diluted form, blended with safe carrier oils like coconut oil is safe only for external use. Never ingest Wintergreen oil as Methyl salicylate is highly fatal and may cause severe toxicity. The most prevalent symptoms of Methyl salicylate poisoning are fever, excitation of central nervous system, high blood pressure, confusion, rapid breathing, convulsions and even coma.

Reference Links Substantiating the Possible Skin Issues of Wintergreen Oil:

  1. Salicylate Toxicity from Ingestion and Continued Dermal Absorption Rachel L. Chin, MD, Kent R. Olson, MD, and Delia Dempsey, MS, MD, published in Cal Journal of Emergency Medicine
  2. Management priorities in Salicylate Poisoning by The American College of Medical Toxicology
  3. Aspirin and other Salicylate poisoning by Gerald F. O’Malley, DO, Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital; Rika O’Malley, MD, published in the professional version of the MSD Manuals
  4. Methyl Salicylate by Wikipedia
  5. Treatment of Low Back Pain: The Potential Clinical and Public Health Benefits of Topical Herbal Remedies by Patricia R. Hebert, PhD, E. Joan Barice, MD and Charles H. Hennekens, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
  6. Wintergreen Oil – Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals by Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young
  7. Safety Information on Essential Oils by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy
  8. Case Reports of Adverse Events of Wintergreen oil by American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook, Second Edition edited by Zoë Gardner, Michael McGuffin

Suggested Reading:

  1. Potter’s New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations by R. C. Wren
  2. Herbal Healing for Women by Rosemary Gladstar
  3. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy & Herbalism by Julia Lawless
  4. The Essential Herbal for Natural Health: How to Transform Easy-to-Find Herbs into Healing Remedies for the Whole Family by Holly Bellebuono

Reference Links:

  1. Methyl Salicyclate by Wikipedia
  2. Ayurvedic and Herbal remedies for Arthriti by Dr. Narendra Jain
  3. Treatment of Gout  – The Ayurvedic Way by Ravi Bhanot, Ayurvedic Researcher, The Ayurveda Institute of Europe
  4. Wintergreen by Georgetown University Medical Center

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