This small shrub is typical of Nepalese flora and belongs to the same family as the blueberry and heather. It likes damp undergrowth with acidic soils and is remarkably resistant to the low temperatures of the Himalayas. It produces small scarlet fruits every winter. Its essential oil, extracted from its dark green evergreen leaves, has a characteristically intense, spicy, caramelised smell.

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Wintergreen - Gaultheria fragrantissima - is native to Asia, particularly Nepal where it thrives at high altitudes. Wintergreen - Gaultheria procumbens - is native to North America. The essential oils of the two species are clearly biochemically interchangeable, as they contain 98-99% methyl salicylate, an ester. The difference between the two wintergreens is at the margin. Gaultheria procumbens is the simpler of the two. Gaultheria fragrantissima contains other esters and trace amounts of aldehydes. Therefore, their smells are not exactly the same, the latter being particularly fragrant, as its Latin name indicates. We also prefer this species because it is certified 'organic'. We have more reservations about the cultivation and storage methods of Gaultheria procumbens.

The essential oil from wintergreen is antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-rheumatic. It relieves joint inflammation such as arthritis or tendonitis. It soothes muscle cramps. It is frequently combined with Eucalyptus citriodora for external use. It is also hypotensive.

The aroma of wintergreen is warm, deep and evocative of embrocation and tar. It is a good cordial, in both senses of the word, capable of warming the body and soul.

The following summary is given for information purposes: it is a synthesis of the properties described in recognised aromatherapy books and/or in accordance with ancestral and popular traditions. The properties* presented are taken from the book ‘Aromathérapie Corps et Ame’ by André Bitsas, published by Amyris. It is in no way a medical information or a list of indications.

Emotional impact
Comfort the heart
Slow cosmétique label
Muscular comfort,  headache