Methyl Salicylate Uses

What is Methyl Salicylate?

Methyl Salicylate sometimes called wintergreen oil, this sweet-smelling member of the aspirin family is one of the most widely used counterirritants. Although it is extremely toxic, manufacturers use methyl salicylate in very low concentrations as a flavouring agent in candy, chewing gum, cough drops and toothpaste.

Methyl salicylate has anti-inflammatory properties and is still used, incorporated into liniments and ointments for joint and muscle pains and for rheumatic conditions.

Methyl Salicylate Structure

Methyl salicylate


Uses and Natural Occurrences

Sources of synthetic Origin: Structurally it is the methyl ester of salicylic acid. Hence, it can be produced from the condensation reaction of salicylic acid and methanol.

1. Cosmetic Products

Methyl salicylate is used in cosmetics as a warming agent and in sport massage products as a rubefacient. The corresponding finished products may contain 3-9% methyl salicylate. It is used in perfumery as a modifier in blossom fragrance and in oral hygiene products as a mild antiseptic. As a denaturant and flavouring agent at concentrations in the range of  0.0001% to 0.6%. As a flavouring agent in toothpastes up to 1%.

The prime purpose of the sports cream/ massage products is to alleviate certain discomforts arising occasionally in connection with sports and physical exercises. They in fact remove muscle aches, it is used as anti-inflammatory, because it would make these products subject to the medicinal products regulations.

Salons proving aromatherapy also use wintergreen oil with a methyl salicylate content of up to 98%. Wintergreen oil is an essential oil. According to their working codex, essential oils are blended with other “base” oils at concentrations in the range of 0.5-5%.

2. In Foodstuff

Methyl salicylate is used as a flavouring agent in chewing gum, baked goods, syrups, candy, non-alcoholic beverages and ice cream. The compound occurs naturally in various vegetables and edible berries.

3. In Medicine

Methyl salicylate has anti-inflammatory properties and is still used, incorporated into liniments and ointments for joint and muscle pains and for rheumatic conditions, but apart from this no plant extract with salicylate is now available in western pharmacies. 12 different methyl salicylate containing topical products to relieve muscle pain, these contain 3-18% methyl salicylate.

Methyl salicylate has the actions of salicylates , as described under Sodium Salicylate , but it is seldom given by mouth . It is readily absorbed through the skin and is applied in liniments and ointments for the relief of pain

Frequently Asked Questions on Methyl Salicylate

What is methyl salicylate used for?

Topical methyl salicylate (for the skin) is used for acute muscle relaxation or joint pain caused by strains, sprains, inflammation, swelling, or backaches. Methyl salicylate topical can also be used for uses that are not mentioned in this drug guide.

Is methyl salicylate dangerous to humans?

There is no question that when ingested, methyl salicylate can be toxic but most cases of human toxicity are due to topical over-application! … Methyl salicylate toxicity warning symptoms vary from fatigue, nausea , headaches, dizziness, trouble breathing, convulsions, ear ringing and vomiting.</

How does methyl salicylate relieve pain?

Methyl salicylate is used to treat mild muscle / joint aches and pains (for example, arthritis, backache, sprains). Menthol and methyl salicylate work by making the skin feel cool and moist, afterwards. These feelings on the skin distract you from feeling your muscles and joints deeper in the aches / pains.

Is methyl salicylate an anti inflammatory?

In a group of medications called salicylates, methyl salicylate is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID). Camphor, lidocaine, and topical methyl salicylate (for the skin) is a combination drug used to temporarily alleviate mild to moderate muscle and joint aches and pains.

What are the side effects of methyl salicylate?

Clean the skin and get medical attention immediately if you have extreme burning, discomfort, swelling, or blistering of the skin where this drug was applied. Less severe side effects may include a slight sense of cold or burning.

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