Gaultheria Oil

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Volatile Oils

It is the volatile oil obtained by the distillation of dried leaves of Gaultheria procumbens Linn., belonging to family Ericaceae.


GAULTHERIA OIL

 

 

Synonyms

 

Canada tea, Checker berry, Wintergreen oil.

 

Biological Source

 

It is the volatile oil obtained by the distillation of dried leaves of Gaultheria procumbens Linn., belonging to family Ericaceae.

 

Geographical Source

 

It is mainly found in Northern United States from Georgia to New foundland, Canada, etc.

 

Characteristics

 

It is small indigenous shrubby, creeping, evergreen in nature. It grows to about 5 to 6 inches high. It is found in large patches on sandy, barren plains and also on mountainous tracts. The leaves are petiolate, oval, shiny, coriaceous, the upper side bright green and the lower paler. The drooping white flowers are produced at the base of the leaves in June or July, followed by the formation of fleshy bright red coloured berries. The berries are sweet in taste formed by the enlargement of the calyx. The odour is peculiar and aromatic, and the taste of the whole plant is astringent.

 


                           Gaultheria procumbens


Chemical Constituents

 

The volatile oil contains 99% methyl salicylate, along with other components like Gaultherilene and an aldehyde or ketone, a secondary alcohol and an ester. The characteristic odour of the oil is due to the alcohol and ester. The oil does not occur crudely in the plant, but is a nonodorous glucoside, produced by the fermentation of (between water and Gaultherin) leaves for twelve to twenty-four hours.

 


 

Uses

 

It is used as tonic, stimulant, antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, aromatic. Useful as a diuretic, it stimulate stomach, heart, and respiration; in chronic inflammatory rheumatism, rheumatic fever, skin diseases, sciatica; for dropsy, gonorrhea, stomach trouble, bladder troubles, and obstruction in the bowels. The oil is a flavouring agent for tooth powders, liquid dentrifices, pastes, etc., especially if combined with menthol and eucalyptus.

 

Marketed Products

 

It is one of the ingredients of the preparations known as Rheumatil gel and Dabur balm (Dabur).

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