When is "Natural" Natural?
Another subterfuge to fool the trusting oil shopper is the word, "natural." Any compound that can be produced synthetically by a laboratory that is also found in nature can be legally labeled and sold as "natural," even though the process by which it was produced was totally unnatural and the raw products from which it was manufactured may have been petroleum, coal, or natural gas.
A comparative chemical analysis of the synthetic and the natural component would be identical for a specific compound, such as methyl salicylate, whether produced in a chemical factory or by a wintergreen plant (Galtheria procumberis), or a birch tree (Betula alleghaniansis). But the synthetically produced version will not have the same isomeric mix as the naturally produced version. In other words, the same proportions of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen will be present in both the manufactured and the natural methyl salicylate, but the assortment of structural arrangements at a molecular level will be different, thus giving the two seemingly "identical" compounds different properties when applied to the human body. Since precise determinations of isomeric proportions are difficult and often impossible, the true composition of a natural ingredient of an oil cannot be duplicated.
Chemistry Isn't Everything
Furthermore, the living element, energy template, or electromagnetic frequencies present in the natural oils of wintergreen and birch is absent in the synthetically produced version. The chemical and structural formulas of a compound are not complete descriptions of that substance. Its history and origin are also pertinent. Electromagnetic frequency is another factor they cannot duplicate. Thus, all of the relevant factors are not considered by chemists in synthesizing an oil or even one compound of an oil. A chemical analysis, however meticulous, isn't sufficient to adequately describe a therapeutic grade oil. There is electricity, life force, and subtle energies that are beyond chemistry.
Since the healing oils of wintergreen and birch are chemically more than 85% methyl salicylate, there are some places, such as in England, where pure synthetic methyl salicylate is sold and labeled as if it were natural wintergreen. A chemist, with all his or her equipment, may not be able to determine the difference between the natural and the laboratory produced products, but the discerning powers of the human body can tell the two apart instantly and reacts accordingly.
Synthetically produced methyl salicylate is toxic, while its naturally grown cousin is not. In addition to being non-toxic, the natural product also has curative powers while its artificial counterpart does not.
Some aromatherapists don't understand this and decline to use wintergreen or birch oils for any purpose. They are especially alarmed at the idea of applying these oils neat, as is done in raindrop technique. What they don't realize is that the toxicities they may have experienced or read of do not exist with true therapeutic grade oils, only with synthetic or adulterated grades.
For more information see The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple (pp. 324). This book has a whole section entitled "Beyond Chemistry."
Young Living Essential Wintergreen Oil -- How to use:
For topical and aromatic use.
Possible skin sensitivity. If pregnant or under a doctor's care, consult your physician. Always dilute before applying to the skin or diffusing for aromatic use. Keep out of reach of children.