Is Wintergreen Plant an Anti-inflammatory Herb? Let's Find Out

You can't escape mishaps like sprains, muscle cramp and joint pains.

What can you do when you have these problems upon you?

Yes, your first instinct would be to reach out for the ointment on your shelves to relieve yourself in a jiffy.  

While you apply it, don't you just love the soothing, balmy aroma of the salve. Not only does it give you the quick relief it also clears up your clogged nose to help you breathe easy.

Do you know where does this distinctive aroma come from?

Most balms and salves contain a potent ingredient called Methyl salicylate – it contributes to the anti-inflammatory, healing properties and anti-rheumatic actions.

And Methyl salicylate is a predominant natural ingredient in Wintergreen plant.

Besides balms and salves, the leaves also make great wintergreen tea.

Meghalaya is home to many medicinal plants and herbs. Wintergreen is called 'Jalynthrait' in Khasi and it grows in sparsely vegetated areas. Local folks cultivate them in fields as well.

The traditional healers of Meghalaya have been using this plant for treating various ailments.

What makes Wintergreen work and how to use it.

Let's find out.

Is Wintergreen an Anti-inflammatory

Is Wintergreen Plant an Anti-inflammatory?

Yes, wintergreen is an anti-inflammatory. As mentioned methyl salicylate is one of the main ingredient found in wintergreen.

Methyl salicylate has anti-inflammatory properties and is associated to the medication aspirin.

What Makes Wintergreen Work?

Research has isolated as many as 110 compounds in wintergreen. Among the important beneficial ingredients are:

  • Methyl salicylate – a natural pain-reliever, present in wintergreen as a glycoside, Gaultherin
  • Beta-sitosteral – potent against rheumatoid arthritis, it’s also anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant
  • Quercetin-3-galactoside – a polyphenolic flavonoid, it’s effective as an anti-oxidant 
  • Ursolic acid – protects the liver 
The plant species Gaultheria – Wintergreen – has about 110 natural compounds. Methyl salicylate and its glycoside derivatives are the Wintergreen's major component. This compound is related to acetylsalicylic acid, the main ingredient of aspirin. Methyl salicylate has phenomenal pain, fever and inflammation relieving properties. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties make their role invaluable in dental medicine. The Essential Oil of Wintergreen is 98% methyl salicylate. (Source)

No wonder Wintergreen plant is so effective in relieving your pain. It’s Nature’s own aspirin!

Wintergreen an Anti-inflammatory plant

Can You Eat Wintergreen?

Yes, you can, wintergreen leaves and fruits make great tea and condiments. You can even chew the raw leaves to relieve thirst.

You can consume the juice of its fruits, while its green - it is good for your stomach troubles.

Here's How to Make Wintergreen Tea:

  • Powdered wintergreen dried leaves can be stored in jars.
  • Take small quantities - about 1/3 teaspoon per 250 ml of hot water.
  • After steeping for about 5 minutes you’ll get great and soothing Wintergreen tea.
  • You can even steep the powder in your normal cup of a tea, it will give you a taste of a different kind.
  • Strain off the powder after steeping before you drink.
Wintergreen's aromatic Essential Oil is obtained through steam distillation of lacerated leaves. This oil is excellent as antiseptic, carminative, antihelminthic and stimulant.

What Is Wintergreen Good For

What Is Wintergreen Plant Good For?

Your body is susceptible to oxidative stress that eventually damages your body.

For instance, if you're suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, your body's immune system can't fight against oxidative stress and inflammation. 

But is there a natural remedy? 

Yes, researchers have discovered that wintergreen, Gaultheria fragrantissima is effective for treating inflammation caused by rheumatism.

It is a powerful natural analgesic. 

Wintergreen oil contains 98% methyl salicylate oil.

Here are a few health benefits of wintergreen:

  • Anti-rheumatic and anti-arthritic - aids in cleansing toxins and stimulating blood flow, reducing pain
  • Anti-spasmodic - shields your body from spasms
  • Hepatoprotective - protects your liver
  • Dermoprotective - protects your skin from harmful fungi, viruses and bacteria
  • Stimulant – helps in proper functioning of the internal organs - endocrine, excretory, respiratory and digestive system

How Is Wintergreen Used in Meghalaya

How Is Wintergreen Plant Used in Meghalaya? 

Traditional medicine practitioners combine wintergreen leaves and stem bark with other medicinal plants.

A combination of wintergreen with eucalyptus, cinnamon, castor, mustard oil and ginger.

Here are a few diseases that you can heal with this traditional concoction

  • Rheumatism
  • Arthritis
  • Paralysis
  • Migraine
  • Pneumonia
  • Bodyache
  • Sciatica
  • Neuralgia
  • Scabies
  • Cough
Some are oral medications while others are balms to apply on the body and affected parts. Kong Ribha, a practitioner from Umtyrniut, near Mawphlang, Meghalaya has this to say:
"Wintergreen leaves give quick and effective relief in sprains, neuralgic and joint pains. They work very well in cases of arthritis or rheumatism. They are excellent remedies in tissue or muscle injuries due to accidents. One common method of use is to put the leaves on the boil along with the bathwater. Then with the help of flannel cloth, do a hot fomentation on the affected areas of the body. Another method is to consume dried and powdered leaves. You can consume it alone or with powders such as ginger, turmeric and black pepper. This depends upon the ailment."

Wintergreen powder has multiple health benefits. Let it find its way to your herbs health shelf?

Wintergreen tea tastes unique too. Try out our wintergreen tea recipe we shared above and let us know if you liked it.

How else do you use wintergreen?

Tell us in the comments below.

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