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Q: My husband is handicapped. I use essential oils including wintergreen to help with his muscles and joint pain. I picked up a new book yesterday and it said never use Wintergreen - it is toxic. Is this true? I'd also like a book that teaches you to mix up good lotions. Can you recommend one?
A: Thank you for your interest in aromatherapy. Wintergreen is considered a potentially hazardous essential oil due to the fact that it is composed of methyl salicylate which can be harmful in high concentrations. Although many commercially available products do contain Wintergreen, the amounts are low. Methyl salicylate does have pain relieving properties but because high concentrations can be harmful my advice is to stay away from it.
Many essential oils, such as Chamomile, Lavender, Rosemary, Marjoram, and others also have reported pain-relieving properties and are a better choice, so long as they are used properly.
Two books that may be helpful to you are Valerie Worwood's The Complete Books of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy published by New World Library and Roberta Wilson's Aromatherapy for Vibrant Health and Beauty published by Avery Publishing Group. Read the whole book (not just the formulas) so that you understand how to use oils in the proper manner. This way, you will avoid problems like allergic reactions or overdosing and will feel confident and safe in what you are doing. Good luck to you and your husband. Let me know if you have any further questions. - Joie Power, Ph.D.