Ginger is a popular plant, which has been used as a spice in Asian cuisines for thousands of years.
Thanks to its soothing effects on the digestive tract, this herbaceous perennial is also used in folk medicines. The ginger essential oil also has the same properties as fresh ginger as it contains high amounts of gingerol.
Ginger essential oil has carminative, expectorant, antiseptic, analgesic, stimulating and aphrodisiac properties which provide many health benefits.
Its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties exhibit cancer-preventing properties.
Let us learn more about ginger essential oil and its numerous health benefits.
What is ginger essential oil?
Ginger essential oil is derived from the root of the Zingiber officinale plant, better known as ginger.
This perennial flowering plant belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, which also includes turmeric and cardamom. Ginger plant is native to Southern Asia and can grow up to four feet high.
Ginger oil is thin in consistency and has a pale yellow color. It has a sweet, woody, spicy, and warm scent, which can vary according to the quality of ginger used.
Ginger oil contains powerful mono and sesquiterpenoids like neral, geranial, 1.8-cineole, zingiberene, B-bisabolene, and B-sesquiphellandrene, which provide it many health benefits.
Ginger oil also contains a-pinene, b-pinene, camphene, linalool, borneol, y-terpineol, nerol, Geraniol, and geranyl acetate.
When used aromatically, ginger oil can bring on the feelings of self-assurance and courageousness, which is why it is also known as the ‘oil of empowerment.’
History of ginger essential oil
The word ‘ginger’ comes from the Greek word ‘zingiberis’ which means horn-shaped.
Ginger has been used in folk medicine for thousands of years to treat ailments like rheumatism, arthritis, upset stomach, menstrual problems, nausea, respiratory issues, fever, cold, and inflammation.
Thanks to its anti-microbial properties, it is also used to preserve food. In Ayurvedic medicine, ginger oil is used to alleviate nervousness, sadness, improve low self-confidence and lack of enthusiasm.
The Indians and Chinese have used ginger as a tonic for over 5000 years. It was an essential article of trade between India and the Roman Empire over 2000 years ago, as it was valued for its medicinal properties.
Even after the fall of the Roman Empire, it was a sought after commodity in Europe. The Arab traders controlled the trade in ginger for centuries. In the 13th century, the value of a pound of ginger was equivalent to the cost of a sheep.
During Medieval times, ginger was imported in preserved form and used in sweets. Queen Elizabeth 1 of England is credited with the invention of the gingerbread man, which became of favorite Christmas treat (1).
Health benefits of ginger essential oil
1. Promotes digestive health
Ginger oil helps improve digestion. It is an efficient natural remedy for colic, diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, indigestion, and other bowel-related issues.
Its anti-inflammatory properties can soothe an upset stomach. Its antiseptic properties can also help treat food poisoning, intestinal infections, and bacterial dysentery.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Basic and Clinical physiology and pharmacology, evaluated the gastroprotective activity of ginger essential oil and turmeric essential oil in rats.
The results showed that ginger essential oil reduced ulcers by 85.1% in rats. The histopathological evaluation also showed that ethanol-induced lesions like necrosis, erosion, and hemorrhage of the stomach were also significantly reduced after oral administration if these oils (2).
2. Treats respiratory problems
Ginger essential oil is a natural remedy for cold, cough, flu, asthma, and bronchitis. It removes mucus from the throat and the lungs and eases inflamed sinuses.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, ginger and its isolated active components, -ginferol, -gingerol, and -shogaol, relax airway smooth muscle, and -gingerol attenuates airway hyperresponsiveness.
According to the researchers, these purified components of ginger oil; either alone or in combination with accepted therapeutics, provide therapeutic options for diseases such as asthma (3 ).
3. Improves heart health
Ginger oil has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for improving heart health. Now modern research has also proven that ginger oil can strengthen the heart.
Ginger oil reduces cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers investigated the effects of ginger extract on the development of atherosclerosis in mice in relation to plasma cholesterol levels.
When researchers gave ginger extract to mice for ten weeks, it resulted in a significant reduction in plasma triglyceride and LDL levels (4).
Another, more recent study showed that when peritoneal dialysis patients were given 1000 mg ginger daily for ten weeks, their serum triglyceride concentrations reduced by 15 %. This helped reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (5).
4. Prevents and treats infections
Ginger oil is a natural antiseptic that helps kill infections caused by bacteria and other microorganisms. It helps treat intestinal infections, dysentery, and food poisoning. You can also use it on your skin to kill bacteria that may cause acne.
According to a study from A. Mira University, Algeria, the ginger essential oil is effective against Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Staphylococcus aureus. It also showed antifungal activity against Candida albicans (6).
5. Reduces inflammation
Zingibain, a component of the ginger essential oil provides ginger its natural anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used to treat headaches and migraines as they are caused by inflamed blood vessels.
According to a study by Odense University, Denmark, ginger exerts abortive and prophylactic effects in migraine headaches without any side-effects (7).
It also helps treat muscle aches, arthritis, celiac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.
According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, when mice were treated with ginger oil for one month, it reduces inflammation levels and increases the levels of enzymes.
This shows that ginger oil possesses antioxidant activity as well as significant anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive property (8).
Also known as the oil of empowerment, ginger oil can ease anxiety, stress, depression, and tiredness and stimulate feelings of courage and ease. Its warming scent boosts both energy and confidence.
According to a 2010 study from Switzerland, ginger oil activates the human serotonin receptor, which may be the reason why it reduces anxiety (9).
Add some drops of ginger essential oil to your diffuser or bath water to help calm your mind and boost confidence.
7. Alleviates menstrual cramps
Ginger oil contains pain reducing components like zingibain that help reduce menstrual cramps. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger oil lessen the production of prostaglandins, which can lead to uterine cramps.
8. Treats skin problems
Ginger essential oil protects the skin from free radical damage as it contains powerful antioxidants. It inhibits the signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines.
It helps to treat skin allergies, eczema, acne and pimples. This oil is also known to reduce scars that are left behind after injuries. You can dilute this oil with a carrier oil and use it on your skin.
9. Improves liver function
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to alcoholic fatty liver disease. Fatty liver is also associated with liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. The ginger essential oil has antioxidant and hepatoprotective activities that can help prevent fatty liver.
According to a study from National University Taiwan, when rats when researchers administered ginger oil to rats with fatty liver disease for four weeks, it improved their condition. The researchers concluded that ginger possesses hepatoprotective properties against liver disease (10).
The earthy and musky aroma is said to have aphrodisiac qualities. This warm oil gets the blood flowing and helps build physical courage and confidence. It also helps treat issues such as erectile dysfunction and loss of libido.
11. Prevents cancer
Gingerol and zerumbone in ginger oil have strong antioxidant properties that can help prevent cancer (11). These contents of ginger oil encourage apoptosis in cancerous cells.
Zerumbone causes pancreatic and colorectal cancer cells to become more sensitive to radiation, which makes radiation therapy more effective. It also prevents the growth and survival of skin cancer cells.
Ginger also helps combat nausea associated with chemotherapy.
12. Protects against malaria
Ginger oil can repel Anopheles culicifacies mosquito which is the primary carrier of malaria. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help reduce body pain caused by malaria.
Ginger oil stimulates the hair follicles, which helps improve hair growth. It also enhances the shine of the hair and makes them healthy and smooth. This oil can also be used for treating dandruff. The antiseptic properties of ginger oil help in preventing scalp infections.
Ways to use ginger essential oil
You can use ginger essential oil topically, internally and aromatically to treat various conditions.
- Add some drops of ginger essential oil to warm bath water and soak in it till the water cools. This ginger infused bath helps to alleviate inflammation, soothes the digestive system, and treats headaches, muscle aches, and menstrual cramps.
- To treat skin infections dilute ginger oil in coconut oil and apply on the infected area.
- Mix equal amounts of ginger oil and jojoba oil and apply on the scalp in a circular motion to stimulate hair growth.
- Diffuse this oil in a diffuser to boost mood and the feeling of courage.
Side effects of ginger essential oil
Ginger oil is generally considered safe for use. However, in some rare conditions, it can cause side effects. These include skin irritation, heartburn, diarrhea, stomach discomfort, heavy menstrual flow, and allergic reactions.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking ginger oil. People who are taking medications for blood thinning, diabetes or blood pressure should avoid using this oil.
Ginger essential oil is derived from the root of the Zingiber officinale plant. Ginger oil has a pale yellow color and a sweet, spicy, woody and warm scent.
This essential oil can be used to treat many health problems like indigestion, flu, respiratory problems, skin infections, and cancer. You can use ginger oil aromatically, topically and internally. However, you must always dilute it and use it in safe amounts.