Methyl salicylate, often called wintergreen oil, was first extracted from plants for medicinal use. Now it is more commonly created in laboratories by esterifying salicylic acid with the right amount of methanol. The synthetic version is utilized in a number of industries where it serves as a vital ingredient in various products.
It is found in high concentrations in topical treatments for muscle and joint pain. Once absorbed by the body, it gets metabolized as different compounds including the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug salicylic acid. The effect is rather weak but it can be soothing for those experiencing acute pain.
It may also be added to candies and chewing gums to add a minty flavor. The pleasant odor has made it a popular fragrant additive to different products that may otherwise have an offensive smell. This chemical has antiseptic properties so it is frequently mixed into several hygiene products as well.