English Name: Wintergreen
Scientific Name: Gaultheria fragrantissima Wallich
Nepali Name: धसिङ्ग्रे, पटपटे
Wintergreen is a shrub about 3 m high. Leaves petioled, 3 to 13. 5 cm long, 1. 5 to 5 cm wide, oblong to lanceolate, acuminate, serrate, leathery, bright green. Flowers whitish, fragrant. Fruit purplish blue when ripe. Plant flowers in October and the seeds ripe in November. It is distributed from 1200 to 2700 m throughout Nepal on rocky hillsides in forest areas.
The plant leaves is harvested when flowers in October and dried for later use. Government of Nepal has prioritized it for Cultivation and Conservation. Wintergreen oil is extracted by steam distillation of the leaves and twigs. Wintergreen oil is fluidy liquid, pinkish or water white in colour and strongly aromatic with sweet-woody odor.
Wintergreen oil is very toxic and diluted oil is used as a food flavoring, treating or relieving pain for muscular or skeletal problems. It also promotes healthy respiratory function.
As flavoring agent in the confectionery industry and in the manufacture of soft drinks; it is also used in the pharmaceutical and perfumery industry. Medicinal and Aromatheraphy use: Antiseptic, a diuretic, stimulant, emmenagogue and anti-rehumatic. It is very useful in many rheumatic conditions, for gout and stiffness due to old age. It also revitalizes and gives energy following muscular pains, particularly good for athletes for instance.
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