The Science of Ginger
Ginger - that spicy, sharp but warming smell well known in Indian and Oriental cooking. Christmas Gingerbread would not be the same without the spice of ginger! It is is a perennial herb with creeping horizontal or tuberous roots, that you can easily grow in your garden. The Ginger or Zingiberaceae family consists of about 1600 flowering plants scattered across the tropical Asian, American, and African continents. It is no surprise that other aromatic members include turmeric and cardamom, both of which are also used as essential oils.
Known in Latin as Zingiber officinale, Ginger oil is extracted via steam distillation to reveal a pale yellow to deep yellow oil with a warming aroma with hints of Lemon and Pepper. A newer method of extraction via CO2 produces an even more potent oil. Besides its unmistakable addition to cooking, the root has a long history of use as a medicinal herb. It is often used to calm and soothe tummy troubles such as nausea, indigestion and inflammation.
Ginger essential oil has a high percentage of sesquiterpene components. Feel free to Google that, but just think "anti-inflammatories and antioxidants". No wonder it is often used in creams for inflammatory conditions such as strains, sprains and osteoarthritis!
Research shows its protective effects on the kidneys and liver, as well as being useful for respiratory ailments. Studies show constituents of the essential oil were effective against E.coli, Staph and even Candida, as well as being an effective antiseptic agent.
The Useful Bits
If you haven’t already got a bottle of Ginger Essential Oil then now is the time to buy! Get that spicy, uplifting smell diffusing through your home, and banishing bugs along the way.
Use Ginger oil in the bath to promote relaxation and ease sore muscles - make sure to dilute it first for safety. Pop a couple of drops of oil onto your Epsom Salts or Magnesium Flakes before sprinkling them into your bathwater.
Inhalation can help relieve anxiety and also settle queasy tummies. Use a few drops in your personal inhaler or diffuser, or on your hankie (for those of you who are old enough to remember those).
Blend your own massage oil with Ginger to promote blood flow and lymphatic drainage around swollen sprains and joints. Use a max 2.5% overall dilution - that's 15 drops in 30ml of carrier oil. To help work out pesky dilution ratios, keep one of our handy Dilutions & Measurements cards nearby!
Ginger oil is especially useful during winter to banish colds and flu for good. Use it to assist with:
- Cold, flu, cough, bronchitis and even asthma
- As a skin antiseptic
- Inflammation such as muscles aches and joint sprains
- Stomach upsets, nausea and general digestion
- Provide anxiety relief
- Easing menstrual cramps
- Boosting sexual desire
On an esoteric level, Ginger is considered the ideal oil for when you are feeling emotionally 'cold'. It can help give a boost to your personal drive to help manifest your desires and take action on your goals.
Ginger has been classified as Generally Recognised as Safe (GRAS) by the FDA which means you can take it internally at very low doses. However, we recommend that you should be under the guidance of a clinical aromatherapist who can take your underlying health conditions into account. Ingestion is not recommended for pregnant women, diabetics or children.
It may also cause skin irritation, and may be slightly phototoxic in some people. Do not use this oil topically on children under 2 years of age, or on damaged or diseased skin. Dilution is recommended to avoid skin sensitisation especially with the CO2 extractions as this oil is potent.
Certain medications can be affected by Ginger, either when taken internally or used externally. The list includes some anticoagulants/anti-platelet drugs, calcium channel blockers and diabetic drugs. Please consult with your health care professional before use.
For more information about Ginger including safety concerns, check out these very informative articles:
Ginger Oil Blends
If you like the thought of Ginger's wellness benefits but aren't too fond of the spicy smell, you might like to try some of our blends which have Ginger essential oil in them.
We'd love to hear about your favourite uses for Ginger Essential Oil so please share them with us below!