Herb of the Day: Wintermint


( Gaultheria procumbens )

( Ericaceae (blueberry ) family

common name are, checkerberry, spiceberry, teaberry

Aids with: carpal tunnel syndrome, sore muscles, joints, toothache, feverheadache, pain.


Wintermint is a aromatic, creeping shrub native to the eastern United States. They have leathery, oval shape leaves, small pink or white bell shaped flowers, and a bright red fruit. The berries are used medicinally, and a essential oil is distilled from the herb’s glossy green leaves. The oil was once popular as a flavoring in candies, toothpaste, food, and as a aromatic agent in perfumes.  Native Americans brewed a tea from the leaves to alleviate rheumatic symptoms, headache, fevers, sore throat, and various aches and pain. During the American Revolution wintermint leaves were used as a substitute for tea, which at that time was scarce.

Wintermint has a pain relieving properties which is similar to those of aspirin. with a refreshing taste.  The essential oil helps relieve pain of, muscles, joints, and headaches. Wintermint oil contains almost 98% menthyl salicylate.  Salicylate is the principal component in aspirin. Wintermint oil relieves pain through the same way as aspirin that stops hormonal reactions that cause inflammation and pain. It also contains astringent compounds, called tannins, and a soothing, softening substance called mucilage.

Wintermint essential oil should be only used externally. If taken internally it could become toxic to the kidneys and liver. You should not use the oil to the skin for more than 3 days out of any month. Never use it if you have chronic kidney or liver disease. You should never apply the oil to a child under 12 years old, unless by a medical professional okay’s it to do so. Persons taking blood thinning medication should avoid using any products that contain methyl salicylate. Always be wise when taking any herbs or medications my friends.


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