Here is a flower that has been used for years, is an ingredient in a very popular medication, and has substantial medicinal properties, while tasting good!
What kind of candy emits a blue-green light from the mouth of the chewer while being eaten? I will give you a clue, it is the flavor added to Pepto-Bismol to make taking this familiar medication more pleasant.
The formula now known as Pepto-Bismol was created in a physician’s home during the 20th century in an effort to combat diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, and vomiting. It was found extremely effective in the treatment of infants suffering from cholera infantum, which was the leading cause of infant deaths.
The ingredients of Pepto-Bismol, then known as Bismosal Mixture Cholera Infantum, are pepsin, bismuth, salicylates, zinc salts, salol, and oil of wintergreen along with a pretty pink colorant. The color is very close to the following ad taken from Pepto-Bismol’s web page.
Over the years, studies found that bismuth subsalicylate is the ingredient that makes Pepto-Bismol work and that is listed as the active ingredient today, rather than the bismuth, as previously thought. Bismosal’s name was changed in 1919 to Pepto-Bismol. The name Pepto-Bismol made it easier to market to adults. As Pepto-Bismol, the product became Norwich’s leading nonprescription drug.
Pepto-Bismol came to the Procter & Gamble Company as part of the Company’s acquisition of Norwich Eaton Pharmaceuticals in 1982. It’s now sold in several countries around the world.
The Discovery of Wintergreen
Native Americans discovered the medicinal benefits of wintergreen long ago, and given its name during the 18th century by Dr. Gualthier, a Canadian physician. Native American brewed a tea of wintergreen and used it to treat colds and flu, and as a poultice to ease arthritis and rheumatism. Mother Marie de l’Incarnation learned of its medicinal properties and helped to spread knowledge of its medicinal use.
Early American settlers were aware of wintergreen’s many uses and it was commonly found in their kitchens as well as their medicine cabinets. The berries, also called tea berries or spice berries were blended into a brandy, brewed in a tea, and made into pies. Children were given the roots to chew in order to reduce tooth decay.
Medicinal formulas were concocted and found quite effective at reducing fever, body aches, and muscular pains. An active ingredient in the leaves and berries is methyl salicylates, which is closely related to salicylic acid, but unlike aspirin, a dose of wintergreen acts as a stomachic and relieves indigestion rather than causing it.
Wintergreen is a common ingredient in toothpaste, gum, candy, and root beer. Many times true wintergreen oil is not used but artificial flavor, causing us to lose our medicinal benefits. When purchasing products boasting wintergreen, it would be wise to check the ingredients on the label.
Wintergreen is also used for skin care and aids in healing and softening the skin. It is one of the main ingredients used in a popular muscle ache lotion called Ben Gay. The wonderful benefits of wintergreen can be felt topically as well as internally, and its aspirin like quality can be absorbed through the skin.
Grow Your Own Wintergreen
If you choose to grow wintergreen note that it prefers a sandy or peaty soil and can be grown throughout Canada and the middle and eastern U.S. states. It grows well in the shade and will make an attractive and prolific ground cover. White flowers will blossom from June through August and red berries appear in the fall. These should be harvested as they reach their vivid shade of red, and can be used in tea, pies, or tarts.
Add 1 teaspoon chopped fresh leaves securely tied in a square of muslin cloth to each cup of boiling water. Steep for 5-6 minutes. Drink hot or iced.
Natural Root Beer
- 5 gallons of water
- ½ cup dry yeast
- 1 ½ gallons molasses
- ½ cup wintergreen leaves, rinsed and dried
- 1 cup sassafras root (available in many health food stores
Combine water and molasses heating just to the boiling point. Remove from heat and allow to stand for two hours. Add wintergreen, sassafras root bark, and yeast. Stir only until blended. Allow to sit at room temperature overnight. Strain and refrigerate. Serve.
Wintergreen is another awesome gift from nature and also tastes good. Why not enjoy some today?
In connection to the question posed in paragraph 1, wintergreen absorbs ultraviolet waves, and because of this it is able to emit a blue-green light in the dark.
Published in: Consumer Information