Discover Some of the Amazing Benefits of Wintergreen

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Discover Some of the Amazing Benefits of Wintergreen

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Wintergreen is a leafy, flavorful and fragrant plant that is part of the evergreen family, and it is also known for having a number of medicinal properties.  While mint is usually the first thing that comes to mind when people think of similar plants, the benefits of wintergreen may surprise you.  If you’re in an area where wintergreen grows, take a look at some of the reasons below and see why you may want to harvest or grow some of your own.

Many Options

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The medicinal properties of wintergreen can be activated by a number of different methods.  It can be eaten raw, and it has been a common practice for centuries to chew on the leaves in order to soothe a wide-range of ailments.  It can be steeped into a tea as a way to release powerful enzymes, and converting it into an essential oil or tincture is also becoming a popular way to extract a condensed amount of nutrients as well.  No matter how you ingest wintergreen, you’re sure to obtain at least some of the benefits that are available.

The current thinking is that wintergreen oil is the best way to get the most out of this special plant.  Wintergreen oil is thought to help fight inflammation, improve digestion, reduce the pain of indigestion, soothe cold and flu symptoms as well as help to relieve general aches and pains.  It is also thought to be good for the skin and an excellent remedy for a range of rashes as well as acne. 

However, you can achieve similar benefits without having to process the wintergreen into oil or purchasing extracts.  The only drawback is that you need to consume more of the leaves to get the same concentration of nutrients.  Ideally, you can have the best of both worlds by making and storing a batch of oil while also having a plant or access to wild plants nearby. 

The Downside

Unfortunately, wintergreen is one of those plants that can also produce negative interactions in some people.  It’s main problem is that it acts as an irritant that can burn the eyes or mucous membranes.  However, the same compounds also serve as an antiseptic.  It can irritate sensitive skin even though it can help to clear clogged pores and promote the healing of minor cuts and scrapes.  Wintergreen can also be toxic in high doses, though there is a lot of argument as to what constitutes a safe or dangerous amount to take at any given point in time.  Many people also recommend keeping it away from small children and pets out of an abundance of caution in order to avoid over-exposure.

Practical Uses

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One of the biggest benefits of wintergreen comes from its antibiotic and antiseptic properties.  It makes a great air freshener as it kills many strains of bacteria that cause foul odors.  Adding a few leaves to your toilet bowl can help to kill germs and reduce odors as well.  You can put a few leaves or some extract into your bath in order to help soothe strained muscles and achy joints, and chewing on the leaves can serve as an improvised toothpaste.

These are just a few examples of the vast array of benefits that this plant can offer, and its worth doing a little research to learn more about how you can use wintergreen to your advantage.