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Health Benefits of


Wintergreen is also known as Gaultheria procumbens, checkerberry, or teaberry. This plant is native to the Northern United States and Southern Canada. Wintergreen is used for a variety of purposes including beverages made out of wintergreen leaves. Wintergreen oil is also used for flavoring food items and also serves as a medicinal ingredient in pharmacologic formulations. [1] Topical health benefits of the wintergreen plant are listed in the following sections.


Analgesic Activity of Wintergreen

Methyl salicylate is obtained from wintergreen leaves and is used topically for pain relief in inflammatory conditions. When applied to the skin, salicylates are hydrolyzed by esterases and yield salicylic acids that are present in the dermis and epidermis. This alleviates muscle and joint pain and reduces the severity of symptoms in individuals suffering from rheumatic conditions. The underlying mechanism of pain relief is the inhibition of the activity of cyclooxygenase, an enzyme that is responsible for producing inflammatory mediators modulating pain. [2]

Wintergreen for Acne Treatment

Acne vulgaris is commonly treated by antibiotics, however, accompanying adverse side effects and emergence of antibiotic resistance disfavor their use. Herbal liposomes containing Gaultheria procumbens extract are efficient for the treatment of acne owing to their antibacterial properties and favor the long-term release of constituents for maximum benefits. [3]

Antibacterial Activity of Wintergreen

Wintergreen volatile oil obtained from its leaves exhibit antibacterial activity against both gram-positive and gram-negative organisms. The major constituent of wintergreen oil responsible for the antibacterial activity is methyl salicylate. [4]


Figure 2 demonstrates the antibacterial activity of wintergreen essential oil obtained from leaf and fruit against different bacterial strains

Wintergreen for Low Back Pain

Methyl salicylate in wintergreen essential has therapeutic effects similar to those of aspirin and produces far lesser side effects. Topical application and massage of wintergreen essential oil on the lower back leads to a reduction in chronic lower back pain. [5]

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