Fragrant Wintergreen

Fragrant Wintergreen

A small shrub that does not exceed 20 cm in height (ground cover). It flowers in summer (white flowers in June and July) and grows round red berries like little cherries, in autumn. Its evergreen foliage is always green, hence the name “wintergreen”. It releases a characteristic odour when rubbed (methyl salicylate).

Latin name

Gaultheria fragrantissima Wall


Canada, Central America, Asia, Nepal.

Used part

The essential oil from the leaves.

Active components

Essential oil (methyl salicylate): anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and analgaesic action.


The leaves of fragrant wintergreen, which smell strongly of camphor, are sometimes used in an infusion. The juice of the leaves is used to treat coughs. The juice and the leaves are used as vermifuges. Despite their strong flavour, the ripe berries can be eaten. They are chewed to treat stomach troubles. The essential oil obtained from the leaves is antiseptic, aromatic, carminative and stimulating. It contains methyl salicylate, a natural precursor of aspirin. It is used in the topical treatment of rheumatic conditions.1-4 For its aromatic odour, this essential oil is applied as an ingredient in confectionery, herbal teas, toothpaste, perfume, etc.).

Bibliographical references

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The health claims relating to other nutrients or substances contained in our products that feature on our site are compliant with Regulation No. 432/2012 of the Commission of 16 May 2012 which establishes a list of authorised health claims authorised in relation to food products, other than those in reference to the reduction of the risk of disease as well as community-based development and child health (cf. website of the European Commission: