The Essence of Ginger

No modern medication can rival the range and variety of therapeutic effects that can be induced by ginger. However, the full awareness of the health benefits and value of the herbal ginger remedies is rather limited because of the monopolistic health-care systems and a historically biased regulatory environment in most countries. Out of the hundreds of species in the plant family Zingiberaceae, the ginger remains the most famous and popular herb. Ginger is a rhizome, according to the correct botanical classification, though the underground stem of the ginger is often mistaken to be a root. Many different varieties of the ginger herb exist in the wild and in cultivation, these varieties range from mild to spicy in taste, and all of them require tropical conditions and fertile soils to grow at an optimal rate. The ginger herb has traveled out from Southeast Asia to the new world, over a period spanning 5,000 years, and most regions of the world now cultivate it as a food crop.
The ancient trade in ginger helped shape nations and insured the universal cultivation and survival of the herb, it is considered a botanical treasure by some of the great figures of history. The interaction of over four hundred chemical constituents present in ginger produce the observed effects of herbal ginger remedies, these result producing compounds can be grouped into four major classes: those which affect the taste, those responsible for fragrance, and chemicals which act as nutrients and synergists in the human body. The pungent compounds which affect taste are the focus for most of the therapeutic value associated with ginger. These taste compounds are known as gingerols and shogaols, the protein-digesting enzymes and antioxidant compounds present in abundant quantities in the ginger are also key elements in its overall effects over the body. Most of the observable physical effects on the body, such as the anti-inflammatory action, the anti-parasitic effect, and the anti-microbial and the digestive remedial actions, may all be due to the presence of one principal action – which is enzyme action on the body. At the same time, the observed effect, namely an anti-inflammatory action, can also be due to the presence of a number of principal actions at the core, it can be due to enzymes, because of eicosanoid balance and due to the presence of antioxidants in the herbal remedy. The main key to understanding the diversity of the ginger’s overall action may lie in the dynamics of the eicosanoid compounds; indeed, these may represent the point to develop a full understanding of the various beneficial effects of the ginger remedy. The physiologically active compounds known as the eicosanoids are synthesized by the body from essential fatty acids already present from absorbed food. The development of an imbalance in these vital elements is the reason for a wide variety of diseases and conditions, which evolve in response to the imbalances. The modulation and control of the compounds known as eicosanoids have been attempted by pharmaceutical companies, in order to develop treatment methodologies for a host of disease conditions, this step is essentially a failed step, because of the many serious side effects such compounds can induce in the human body. The advantage of herbal ginger remedies is that the ginger helps in naturally bringing a balance to many of these vitally important eicosanoid compounds, without inducing any corresponding side effects in the body of the person using the herbal remedy.
ginger ale
The benefits of ginger herbs have been enjoyed by many millions of people, over the course of millennia, as part of herbal treatment strategies. Thus ginger remedies have been utilized for spiritual upliftment, they have been used to provide digestive comfort and physical strength, they have also been taken to stimulate and bring relief from an infirmity in the body, the herbal remedies made from the ginger have been touted as the herbal remedy of choice and most traditional Eastern herbal formulas consider ginger remedies as a part of their herbal treatment methodologies. The ancient Indian Sanskrit name for the ginger very appropriately vishwabhesaj, translated as the universal medicine. The early twentieth century saw more than 25,000 U.S. physicians called the eclectics, praising the pain-relieving and cold-fighting properties of the ginger. Traditional use of the ginger remedies was also made by many different cultures historically in many different regions of the world – these societies used the herb for some of the same basic therapeutic applications to which we put the herb to use. Some of these herbal remedies and applications of the ginger included its use as an analgesic, its anti-arthritic ability was utilized universally, the wound healing properties were utilized widely, the antihelmintic and anti-ulcerabilities were widely known and put to use, its actions as a stimulant and its aphrodisiac properties also found great use in traditional medicine.
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At the same time, traditional treatment of a variety of respiratory diseases, and problems in the reproductive and digestive systems were treated using herbal remedies derived from the ginger. For many types of cardiovascular diseases, ginger remains a primary preventive treatment especially in the treatment of critical cases of such conditions. Similar in action and usage to the common drug aspirin, the herbal remedies made from the ginger possesses a therapeutic potential and an ability to prevent thousands of deaths arising from sudden heart attacks and strokes as well as in the treatment of diseases such as cancer of the colon. The ginger has an advantage over aspirin, in that it will produce no side effects in the body whatsoever even after prolonged and continuous use. Ginger’s anti-ulcer effects are complemented on the whole by a host of other important beneficial properties pertaining to the digestive system, which includes immense relief from both diarrhea and constipation; it helps protect the liver and is an effective pro-biotic support agent. Ginger has also been documented as clearly having an effective anti-nausea effect. The ginger-based herbal remedies can thus be used to rid the body of nausea arising from the continuous use of chemotherapy and those which affect people during oceanic travels, it is also helpful during nausea from a term of pregnancy and in treating nausea following gynecological surgery, in all such cases, herbal remedies based on the ginger is the natural treatment of choice for nausea. The assistance that ginger gives to the digestive system marks it as a prominent bio-availability herb, and the ginger assists the digestion of other consumed nutrients and is a greatly recommended addition to the natural supplemental regimes during treatment processes for many digestive complaints. While not generally recognized, intestinal parasites pose a much greater threat to the industrialized world than they are credited for. Here too, the potent range of anti-parasitic activities displayed by the ginger can play a great role in the treatment of parasite infections. Historical observations of the ginger, place it in a role of an effective remedy for cold, this ability of the ginger arises from a combination of principal actions and benefits which can include eicosanoid balancing within the body, its pro-biotic supporting role, its anti-toxic and cytoprotective influences on the body among other beneficial effects.
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The remedies based on ginger also have a very significant anti-mutagenic potential, and these can be used to beat powerful carcinogens such as the compound benzopyrene and the more toxic burned byproducts of the amino acid tryptophan in the body. Ginger’s reputed anticancer abilities also deserve further research and study, this property of the herb must be further investigation and its role in cancer-treatment programs must be studied in the future so as to take advantage of any beneficial effects. In addition, to all of these abilities herbal remedies made from the ginger positively affect all other parameters of health such as levels of the compound cholesterol and the levels of blood sugar, at the same time, the herb helps in balancing a variety of vital body systems such as the performance of the circulatory system, the functioning of the respiratory and reproductive systems besides others. Topical remedies made from the ginger also have very positive and beneficial effects; the potency of the ginger in this topical role has been demonstrated during external treatments which showed dramatic results and improvement from a variety of skin disorders in many patients.
The safety of herbal remedies made from the ginger is remarkable. It can be said that almost no modern pharmaceutical products can compete with the range of therapeutic properties displayed by this herb and this does not even include the complete absence of all adverse physical side effects from prolonged use of the herbal remedy. However, when using ginger products during a term of pregnancy and before surgery, patients must be careful about doses and use the herb in moderation at such times. A general safe and preventive dosage of the herbal remedy for the use of the general population can be up to 1 gram a day of the powdered herbal remedy. Dietary use of therapeutic ginger remedies must be gradual and over a long period of time in all cases, as this will ensure the optimal benefits. The quality of the rhizome will also greatly influence the effectiveness of the remedy made from ginger. Organically certified ginger products are the best, as many of the commercial ginger products are normally subjected to many potential levels of chemical contamination, at different stages of the manufacturing process. For regular supplementation, both the fresh and the dry ginger herbal remedies are recommended and these two can even be used in tandem. Though the properties and benefits given by each will be slightly different and both will have specific strengths and weaknesses. Commercially the herbal remedies made from the ginger are available in many forms, which include the fresh and dried forms, ginger syrups, and as herbal capsules and extracts.

A Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Oil; Ginger Oil

Ginger Essential Oil or Ginger Root Oil is derived from the root of the Zingiber officinale herb, better known as Ginger, which is named after the Greek word “zingiberis” meaning “horn-shaped.” This flowering perennial belongs to the plant family that includes Turmeric and Cardamom and is native to the south of China; however, its growth has spread to other parts of Asia, India, the Moluccas – also known as the Spice Islands, West Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean.

For thousands of years, Ginger Root has been used in folk medicine for its ability to soothe inflammation, fevers, colds, respiratory discomforts, nausea, menstrual complaints, upset stomachs, arthritis, and rheumatism. It has also traditionally been used as an anti-microbial food preservative that prevents the growth of harmful bacteria, and it has been used as a spice for its flavoring and digestive properties. In Ayurvedic medicine, Ginger Oil has traditionally been believed to soothe emotional difficulties such as nervousness, sadness, low self-confidence, and a lack of enthusiasm.

The health benefits of Ginger Oil are the same as that of the herb from which it originates, with the oil even being considered to be more beneficial due to its higher Gingerol content, a constituent that is most reputable for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. With a warm, sweet, woody, and spicy scent that has an energizing effect, especially when used in aromatherapy, Ginger Oil has earned the nickname “The Oil of Empowerment” for the feeling of confidence that it is known to inspire.

BENEFITS OF GINGER ESSENTIAL OIL

The main chemical constituents of Ginger Oil are Camphene, B-Phellandrene, α-Pinene, Geranial, Zingiberene, β-Bisabolene, β-Sesquiphellandrene, and Curcumene.

CAMPHENE is known to:

  • Exhibit anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Be soothing

B-PHELLANDRENE is known to:

  • Exhibit a pleasant odor that has been described as peppery, minty, and/or slightly citrusy
  • Exhibit anti-septic, antiviral, bactericidal, and decongestant properties

PINENE is known to:

  • Have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and expectorant properties
  • Be a bronchodilator

GERANIAL is known to:

  • Be a fragrance ingredient with a Rose-like scent
  • Have insecticidal and anti-oxidant effects

ZINGIBERENE is known to:

  • Be the fragrance ingredient responsible for the characteristic scent of Ginger
  • Exhibit anti-viral, anti-oxidant, and antiseptic properties

Β-BISABOLENE is known to:

  • Be a fragrance agent
  • Exude a warm, woody, and fruity scent characteristic of “oriental” aromas
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties

Β-SESQUIPHELLANDRENE is known to:

  • Have anti-viral, carminative, and stomachic properties

CURCUMENE is known to:

  • Have hypotensive and analgesic effects
  • Exhibit anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties

Used in aromatherapy applications, Ginger Oil is known for its stimulating and warming effects, which can enhance concentration while soothing and reduce the feelings of stress, sadness, anxiety, lethargy, agitation, dizziness, and fatigue.

Used cosmetically or topically in general, Ginger Essential Oil can soothe redness and eliminate bacteria, especially redness and bacteria associated with acne. Its antioxidant properties are known to have a protective effect on the skin, inhibiting the signs of skin damage and aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines. Its stimulating properties make it an ideal ingredient in revitalizing moisturizers that restore color and radiance to a dull complexion. Used in hair, Ginger Oil’s rich mineral content contributes to the health of the scalp and the strands, while its antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties contribute their cleanliness while soothing dryness and itchiness characteristic of dandruff. By stimulating and improving circulation, it is known to enhance healthier hair growth.

 

Used medicinally, Ginger Essential Oil’s detoxifying and digestive properties facilitate the elimination of toxins and boost digestion. Additionally, it eases discomforts associated with the stomach and bowel, including flatulence, diarrhea, spasms, dyspepsia, stomach ache, and colic. For those with the intention of gaining weight, Ginger Oil is known to enhance the appetite. Its expectorant property works to eliminate mucus from the respiratory tract and to effectively reduce symptoms of respiratory ailments, including breathlessness, asthma, cough, cold, flu, and bronchitis. When massaged into the muscles, Ginger Oil’s analgesic property is known to soothe and reduce aches as well as inflammation, thus benefitting complaints such as headaches, migraines, arthritis, back pain, and contractions of the uterus, which are commonly referred to as menstrual cramps.

Ginger Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

    • COSMETIC: Tonic, Stimulant, Warming, Anti-Inflammatory, Firming
    • ODOROUS: Tonic, Stimulant, Warming, Expectorant, Analgesic, Anti-Inflammatory, Aphrodisiac, Memory-Enhancing, Soothing, Anti-Nausea, Appetite-Boosting, Immune-Boosting
  • MEDICINAL: Antiseptic, Laxative, Tonic, Stimulant, Warming, Digestive, Carminative, Expectorant, Analgesic, Anti-Inflammatory, Antispasmodic, Soothing, Anti-nausea, Appetite-Boosting, Circulatory, Diuretic, Detoxifying, Immune-Boosting, Sudorific

GINGER ESSENTIAL OIL USES

Used in aromatherapy applications, diffusing 2-3 drops of Ginger Oil in a diffuser of personal preference can improve a negative mood and low libido. By facilitating the onset of sleep and improving sleep quality, diffusing Ginger Oil is known to benefit those suffering from insomnia. It is also believed to enhance energy levels by inspiring positive and hopeful feelings and promoting a balanced and grounded mindset.

For a calming and heartening diffuser blend with a tropical nuance that releases anxiety, fatigue, and sadness, combine and diffuse 3 drops Ginger Essential Oil, 2 drops Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, and 2 drops Wild Orange Essential Oil.

For a diffuser blend that is reputed to enhance the feeling of self-empowerment, combine and diffuse 3 drops Ginger Essential Oil, 2 drops Bergamot Essential Oil, and 2 drops Patchouli Essential Oil. This blend is also known to create a sense of mental and emotional balance. For a blend that eases the mind and lifts the spirit, combine and diffuse 2 drops each of Ginger, Geranium, and Orange essential oils.

For a diffuser blend that eases congestion and irritation of the respiratory tract by reducing mucus and inflammation, simply combine 2 drops each of the following essential oils before adding the mixture to a diffuser, based on the amount indicated by the diffuser: Ginger, Tea Tree, Sage, and Eucalyptus. This blend also eases stress, balances the hormones, and alleviates symptoms of allergies. To soothe nausea and an upset stomach, blend and diffuse 3 drops Ginger Essential Oil, 3 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil, and 2 drops Peppermint Essential Oil.

Ginger Essential Oil blends well with any of the following oils, contributing to scent combinations that are aromatically appealing: Bergamot, Cassia, Cedarwood Atlas, Cinnamon, Coriander, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium, Juniper Berry, Lemon, Lime, Myrtle, Neroli, Orange, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Rose, Rosemary, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Vetiver, and Ylang Ylang.

Used in cosmetic applications, Ginger Essential Oil is known to inhibit cellular oxidation that is responsible for skin damage and signs of aging. For a facial scrub that reveals a softer, healthier layer of skin by removing dead and dull skin, combine ½ cup Brown Sugar, ½ cup Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil, 10 drops Ginger Essential Oil, and 5 drops Lime Essential Oil in a bowl, then transfer the mixture to an airtight container. To use this Ginger Oil-infused facial exfoliant, with the fingertips scoop a small amount into the hands and gently massage it into the face until the sugar softens. Rinse off the scrub with warm water and pat the skin dry with a soft, clean towel. This scrub is known to soothe inflammation, such as that associated with acne, and to smooth the look of fine lines. For a scrub that diminishes the appearance of cellulite, an exfoliating mixture can be made by using the aforementioned recipe and replacing the Brown Sugar with ¼ cup Coffee Powder and ¼ cup Cocoa Powder.

To create a toning and nourishing face mask with softening, illuminating, and even aphrodisiac qualities, thoroughly combine 5 drops Ginger Essential Oil, 2 Tbsp. Raw Organic Honey, and 1 Tsp. Lemon Juice, then refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes. Apply this blend to the face like a mask and leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water. This mask is known to have a rejuvenating effect on the complexion.

To naturally and effectively soothe a scalp afflicted with dandruff, 2 drops of Ginger Essential Oil can be added to regular shampoo. For an anti-dandruff Ginger Oil hair mask, combine 10 drops Ginger Essential Oil, 5 drops Extra Virgin Olive Carrier Oil and 1 tsp. Lemon Juice. Massage this anti-septic hair blend into the scalp and leave it on for 15-30 minutes before rinsing it out with a regular mild shampoo. This treatment can be repeated three times a week to prevent a dry and itchy scalp and to stimulate hair growth.

For a hair mask that stimulates hair growth by boosting circulation to the scalp, combine 10 drops Ginger Essential Oil and 10 drops Jojoba Carrier Oil in a small bowl. In circular motions, massage this blend into the scalp and leave it on for a minimum of 30 minutes, before rinsing it off in the shower and shampooing the hair as usual. This mask will not only inhibit the thinning and loss of hair, but it will also nourish the strands with fatty acids, thereby stimulating hair growth.

Used in medicinal applications, Ginger Oil eliminates bacterial infections on the skin with its antiseptic property. To avert or treat topical infections, dilute 1-3 drops of Ginger Essential Oil in 1 tsp. of Coconut Carrier Oil – or any other carrier oil of personal preference – and gently massage it into the affected area.

To soothe sore muscles, headaches, backaches, and menstrual cramps, simply dilute 2-3 drops of Ginger Essential Oil in a bathtub filled with water that is comfortably warm rather than hot, as the oil itself has warming properties. Soak in this Ginger Oil-infused bath until the water cools. This also alleviates inflammation while soothing the digestive system to enhance its function. For a bath blend that is reputed to promote an overall sense of well-being, dilute 3 drops Ginger Essential Oil and 2 drops Cardamom Essential Oil.

For a massage blend that soothes aches, in a dark bottle mix 5 drops Ginger Essential Oil, 5 drops Orange Essential Oil, and 5 drops Jojoba Carrier Oil. Cap the bottle and gently shake it to thoroughly combine all the ingredients before applying it as any massage oil. For a more complex blend that can be used in both a hot bath and a massage, combine 4 drops Ginger Essential Oil, 4 drops Rosemary Essential Oil, 2 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil and 4 Tsp. carrier oil of personal preference.

A GUIDE TO GINGER OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

GINGER ORGANIC ESSENTIAL OIL / GINGER ROOT ESSENTIAL OIL (DRIED) / GINGER ROOT ESSENTIAL OIL (FRESH)

Botanical Name: Zingiber officinale

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Steam Distillation; the Ginger root is macerated and distilled over high heat, from which the oil is extracted.

Country of Origin: Sri Lanka / China / Indonesia

Believed to:

    • Ease nausea, menstrual discomfort, upset stomach, anxiety, muscle soreness, and joint pain
    • Even out skin tone and enhance skin elasticity
    • Have a warming and stimulating effect on the skin and mind
    • Exhibit anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties
    • Display tonic, laxative, digestive, and anti-spasmodic activity
    • Reduce or eliminate mucus from the respiratory tract to soothe irritation and congestion
    • Promote easier breathing by opening up airways and diminishing inflammation
    • Reduce symptoms of colds, flu, and fever
    • Enhance libido by arousing sensuality, calmness, and confidence
    • Replace negative emotions such as stress, fatigue, and sadness with enthusiastic energy
    • Boost circulation and thereby stimulate the growth of stronger and healthier hair and skin
    • Facilitate the fading of scars and cellulite
  • Promote a smooth, clear, and radiant complexion

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR GINGER OIL

Ginger Essential Oil is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Ginger Oil without the medical advice of a physician, as it may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, and other heart-related ailments, skin disorders, liver damage, or hormone-related ailments. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.

Prior to using Ginger Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the Essential Oil in 4 drops of a Carrier Oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Ginger Oil must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Ginger Oil include low blood pressure. Due to the potential phototoxicity of this oil, it is recommended that the areas of the application be protected from sunlight exposure for 24 hours.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this essential oil as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

GINGER ESSENCE…

    • Ginger Essential Oil or Ginger Root Oil is derived from the root of the Zingiber officinale herb, better known as Ginger.
    • Ginger Essential Oil has earned the nickname “The Oil of Empowerment” for the feeling of confidence that it is known to inspire.
    • Used in aromatherapy applications, Ginger Essential Oil is stimulating and warming. It can enhance concentration and it can soothe and reduce feelings of stress, sadness, anxiety, lethargy, agitation, dizziness, and fatigue.
    • Used topically, Ginger Essential Oil soothes redness, eliminates bacteria, inhibits the signs of skin damage and aging, and restores color and radiance to a dull complexion.
    • Used in hair, Ginger Essential Oil contributes to the health and cleanliness of the scalp, soothes dryness and itchiness, and enhances healthier hair growth by stimulating and improving circulation to the scalp.
  • Used medicinally, Ginger Essential Oil facilitates the elimination of toxins, boosts digestion, eases discomforts of the stomach and bowel, enhances appetite, clears the respiratory tract, soothes aches, and reduces inflammation.