Sweet Birch Oil ("Wintergreen") Betula


Footed glass display vial with ground glass stopper and a paper label on the foot: "OIL SWEET BIRCH / "WINTERGREEN" / BETULA." This vial contains a yellowish oil - oil of sweet birch, which is distilled from the bark of the Betula lenta trees.

One of seven (7) objects including two specimens of salicylic acid, four specimens of salicylates, and one specimen of sweet birch oil (“wintergreen”), donated to the museum in 1928 by the William S. Merrell Company. This material replaced specimens donated in 1917 for a display on the manufacture of salicylates which included a model of a birch oil still.

Both birch oil and oil of wintergreen are a source for methyl salicylate from which other salicylates are derived. Salicylates were first isolated from plants in the early 19th century. They have been used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation, particularly joint inflammation associated with rheumatism. Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), introduced 1899, is the most commonly used salicylate.

Date Made: 1928

Maker: William S. Merrell Company

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Ohio, Cincinnati

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Medicine


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of William S. Merrell Company

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MG.M-02575Accession Number: 1985.0516Catalog Number: 1985.0516.004Accession Number: 103745

Object Name: pharmaceutical

Physical Description: glass (container material)

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b3-e219-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1874733

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