You know that many essential oil constituents are also found in fruits, vegetables and other foods? This simple fact shows us that our bodies are used to processing them in very small amounts.
In the fifth of this series we focus on methyl salicylate, a constituent that makes up most of Wintergreen and Sweet Birch essential oils. It is also present in Ylang-Ylang oil in very much smaller amounts. Even smaller amounts are naturally found in tomatoes, bilberries and peaches, and (usually synthetic methyl salicylate) is found in some candies and soda drinks.
This constituent has many beneficial effects and is often used to relieve muscle pain. However, caution is necessary when using either of the methyl salicylate-rich oils. Essential Oil Safety 2e recommends to not use Wintergreen or Sweet birch oils in children of any age, during pregnancy, and if you take any blood-thinning medication such as Aspirin or warfarin. (Reye’s syndrome is very rare but is a risk with salicylates and is potentially fatal https://en.wikipedia.org/
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WINTERGREEN OIL SIDE EFFECTS
Wintergreen Essential Oil is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Wintergreen Essential Oil without the medical advice of a physician. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.
Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, epilepsy, heart-related ailments, skin disorders, hormone-related ailments, allergies to salicylates aspirin, asthma or nasal polyps, blood clotting disorders, sensitive skin, and connective tissue disorders.
Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, atherosclerosis, or seizures are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use. Wintergreen Oil should not be applied to open wounds or broken skin, as this may facilitate the oil’s penetration into the body in concentrations that may be toxic.
Prior to using Wintergreen Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the Essential Oil in 35 drops of a Carrier Oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Wintergreen Oil must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Wintergreen Oil include confusion, headaches, flushing, redness, burning, blistering, swelling, pain, stings, rashes, hives, ringing in the ears, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, acid reflux, heartburn, organ damage, mouth sores, and difficulty breathing.
Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this essential oil as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.