Botanical Name: Zingiber officinale or common ginger
Common Method of Extraction: The common method of extraction of the oil is through steam distillation. The unpeeled and desiccated root (rhizome) yield 2 to 4% oil.
Parts Used: Root (Rhizomes)
Note Classification: Base to Middle
Aroma: Ginger oil has a very strong smell. It is sharp, warm and spicy with a suggestion of lemon and pepper. It smells a lot like the actual ginger. The aroma physically energizes you. The colour varies from pale yellow to dark amber colour. The viscosity of the oil is medium to watery.
Largest Producing Countries: The plant is supposed to be originated from India, Java and China. It is also a native of the Africa and the West Indies.
Traditional Use: There are records that the oil was used in Europe between 10th and 15th century as a spice and condiment. The plant has thick tuberous root and the plant grows up to 3-4 feet in height. This medicinal plant has been used in ancient times as a medicine and it is recorded in Sanskrit and Chinese manuscripts. It has early mention in Roman, Greek and Arabian manuscripts also. The name ginger was derived from the Gingi district in India. People in India still makae tea mixed with ginger for upset stomachs.
In many parts of Asia, dried ginger is used to cure stomach aches, nausea and diarrhoea. Chinese medicine uses this oil to boost the heart and to get relief from phlegm and mucus. Ginger oil is used for digestive problems, travel sickness and even morning sickness. It is used for the catarrhal lung conditions and rheumatic pains. On the skin it can be used to clear bruises. It is an analgesic, antiseptic, antiemetic, antispasmodic, carminative, cephalic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, stimulant, tonic, stomachic, rubefacient, bactericidal and sudorific. New sailors use this as a remedy for sea sickness. It is good idea to use it for hangovers.
It is used in the treatment of fractures, carbuncles, cold and flu, cough, sinusitis, sore throat, chills and fever. It is an ideal remedy for chest congestion, skin sore, colic and cramps. It warms up the body during winter and is an ideal medicine for winter depression and loneliness. It is widely used in vapour therapy and it can be blended with other essential oils for massage and for bath. It can be mixed as a base cream with other creams and applied on the body for arthritis, muscular pains, and rheumatic pains. It can be used with hot compresses for arthritis and other muscular pains. Ginger oil makes a good inhaler and for easy use you can apply a drop or two on the handkerchief during travel etc.
Blends Well With: Ginger oil blends well with citrus and spicy oils like rose, sandalwood, bergamot, frankincense, neroli and ylangylang.
Of Interest: One interesting fact is that the women in the West African country of Senegal weave belts of ginger to increase and bring back the sexual potency of their partners.
Safety Data: Ginger oil is non-irritant and non-toxic oil. But people with sensitive skin should be careful while using it because it may cause skin irritation. After using the oil exposure to sunlight within 24 hours may cause dermatitis. The oil is said to be photosensitive.