WINTERGREEN

OTHER NAME(S):

Boxberry, Canada Tea, Checkerberry, Deerberry, Essence de Gaulthérie, Gaulteria, Gaultheria Oil, Gaultheria procumbens, Gaulthérie Couchée, Ground Berry, Hilberry, Huile de Thé des Bois, Mountain Tea, Oil of Wintergreen, Partridge Berry, Petit Thé, Petit Thé des Bois, Spiceberry, Teaberry, Thé de Montagne, Thé de Terre-Neuve, Thé du Canada, Thé Rouge, Thé des Bois, Wax Cluster.

Overview

Overview Information

Wintergreen is an herb. Wintergreen oil is made by steam processing of warmed, water-soaked wintergreen leaves. The leaves and oil are used to make medicine.

Wintergreen is used for headache and other types of pain, fever, gas (flatulence), and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

In manufacturing, wintergreen is used as a flavoring agent in food, candies, teas, root beer, and in pharmaceutical products.

How does it work?

Wintergreen leaf contains an aspirin-like chemical that might reduce pain, swelling, and fever.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of wintergreen for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Wintergreen is LIKELY SAFE in the small amounts found in foods. Wintergreen is POSSIBLY SAFE when the leaves are used as medicine. Wintergreen oil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to take by mouth. Taking wintergreen oil can cause ringing in the ears, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, stomach pain, and confusion. As little as 6 mL (a little over a teaspoon) of the oil taken by mouth can be fatal.

When applied to the skin: Wintergreen oil is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to unbroken skin. It can cause skin irritation in some people.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: Wintergreen leaf and oil are LIKELY UNSAFE for children. They can be poisonous. Taking as little as 4 mL of wintergreen oil by mouth can be deadly. Don't use wintergreen oil on the skin of children, especially those less than 2 years old.

Pregnancy: Wintergreen is LIKELY SAFE in the small amounts found in food. But there isn't enough reliable information to know if wintergreen is safe to use in the larger amounts that are used as medicine. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Breast-feeding: Wintergreen is LIKELY SAFE in the small amounts found in foods. But wintergreen is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth or used on the skin as a medicine when breast-feeding. It may be toxic to nursing infants.

Stomach and intestinal inflammation: Taking wintergreen by mouth might make these conditions worse.

Salicylate or aspirinallergy, asthma, or nasal polyps: Wintergreen might cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to aspirin or other salicylate compounds, or have asthma or nasal polyps. Use wintergreen with caution if you have one of these conditions.

Interactions

Interactions?

Major Interaction

Do not take this combination

!
  • Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with WINTERGREEN

    Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Wintergreen oil can also slow blood clotting. Taking wintergreen oil along with warfarin (Coumadin) can increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

!
  • Aspirin interacts with WINTERGREEN

    Wintergreen oil contains a chemical similar to aspirin. Using large amounts of wintergreen oil on your skin and taking aspirin at the same time might increase the risk of side effects. Do not use large amounts of wintergreen oil on your skin and take aspirin at the same time.

Dosing

Dosing

The appropriate dose of wintergreen depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for wintergreen. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References

REFERENCES:

  • Chan TY. Potential dangers from topical preparations containing methyl salicylate. Hum Exp Toxicol 1996;15:747-50. View abstract.
  • Covington TR, et al. Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs. 11th ed. Washington, DC: American Pharmaceutical Association, 1996.
  • Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182
  • Gossel TA, Bricker JD. Principles of Clinical Toxicology. New York, NY:Raven Press, 1994.
  • Hoffman D. The herbal handbook: a user's guide to medical herbalism. rev ed. Rochester, VT:Healing Arts Press, 1998.
  • Joss JD, LeBlond RF. Potentiation of warfarin anticoagulation associated with topical methyl salicylate. Ann Pharmacother 2000;34:729-33. View abstract.
  • Weiner MA, Weiner JA. Herbs that heal: prescription for herbal healing. Mill Valley, CA:Quantum Books, 1999.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
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