Botanist's Glossary

Wintergreen - Gaultheria procumbens

  • Description
    • Wintergreen (Ericaceae family) is an aromatic subshrub with a creeping root and leathery evergreen leaves. It grows in North-eastern North America. The fruits are scarlet red berries, about 1 cm in diameter, with a balsamic, vanilla scent, and can be eaten in moderation. The leaves give off the scent of wintergreen.
  • Traditions
    • When the fragrant wintergreen leaves are steam distilled, they yield an essential oil known as "essence of Wintergreen". This essence can be used in massage to relieve tendinitis and muscular pain, and is also used in perfumery. A decoction of the leaves, which contains a substance similar to aspirin (methyl salicylate) was used by American Indian populations as an antipyretic and to treat rheumatism.
  • Properties
    • Wintergreen is used for its astringent, exfoliating and stimulating properties. It purifies the skin, leaving it radiant, smooth and even-toned.