Did you know that many essential oil constituents are also found in fruits, vegetables and other foods? This simple fact shows us that our bodies are used to processing them in very small amounts.
In the fifth of this series we focus on methyl salicylate, a constituent that makes up most of Wintergreen and Sweet Birch essential oils. It is also present in Ylang-Ylang oil in very much smaller amounts. Even smaller amounts are naturally found in tomatoes, bilberries and peaches, and (usually synthetic methyl salicylate) is found in some candies and soda drinks.
This constituent has many beneficial effects and is often used to relieve muscle pain. However, caution is necessary when using either of the methyl salicylate-rich oils. Essential Oil Safety 2e recommends to not use Wintergreen or Sweet birch oils in children of any age, during pregnancy, and if you take any blood-thinning medication such as Aspirin or warfarin. (Reye’s syndrome is very rare but is a risk with salicylates and is potentially fatal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reye_syndrome.) Recommended topical maximums are Sweet Birch 2.5%, Wintergreen 2.4%