True birch oil has very low production anymore and can be quite difficult to find. As a result, many people have been asking me about alternatives. Most of you may already know, but for those who don't, wintergreen oil is a perfect replacement for birch oil as they are chemically almost identical, both consisting of 99%+ methyl salicylate. But an interesting tidbit that you may not know about these oils is that the methyl salicylate is not actually in either of these plants. The wintergreen leaves and the birch bark have to be soaked in warm water for many hours in order to liberate the methyl salicylate through a chemical reaction, only then can the methyl salicylate be distilled. The fact is that many essential oil plants have components that form during processing or during the actual steam distillation process as well as other components that get destroyed. Another example of how essential oils, while naturally derived, are not natural products, they still require man made processes to isolate them and during these processes reactions occur making the EO different than the original oil that was in the plant. Just something that people should realize, especially the natural purists out there that think anything man made is bad. Lets not forget that without man, there is no essential oil.