Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is an herb that is familiar to many people. But have you heard of ginger root oil? If not, read on because it truly is an amazing plant that can work wonders on a body.
Anyone who has munched on a ginger snap or quaffed a ginger ale or ginger beer has experienced its signature sharp, distinctive taste. The pungent heat is due to the acrid compound gingerol.
Ginger is related to cardamom and turmeric. It is grown primarily in India, Jamaica, Fiji, Indonesia, and Australia. Did you know that ginger is one of the most commonly consumed dietary condiments in the world?
Ginger root oil from yellow ginger is a pretty amber color. Some varieties of ginger are white or red in color. Officially, ginger is considered to be an underground rhizome – the horizontal stem from which the roots grow. (Irises also have rhizomes.)
Ginger has been used as a medicinal tonic and as a culinary flavoring for over 5,000 years in India and China. The ancient Indians, Chinese, and Greeks all cultivated and sang the praises of ginger. Ayurvedic medicine regards ginger as a key plant.
Ginger was a popular trade plant which traveled west from Asia into the Roman Empire and along the fabled trade route to the East. By the 1300s, ginger was as commonly traded as black pepper. One pound of ginger could be traded for a sheep.
Look at all the bodily systems ginger root oil aids:
• Digestive (ingested food is acted upon by physical and chemical means to provide the body with absorbable nutrients and to excrete waste products)
• Carminative (expulses gas from the stomach or bowel)
• Expectorant (promotes the discharge of phlegm or other fluid from the respiratory tract
• Antiseptic (prevents infection in an injury, especially by killing bacteria)
• Analgesic (relieves pain without loss of consciousness)
• Anti-inflammatory (reduces certain signs of inflammation, such as swelling, tenderness, fever, and pain)
• Stimulating (excites a nerve, gland, etc. to its functional activity)
• Aphrodisiac (arouses sexual desire)
Ginger root oil – or simply ginger oil – is used to treat stomach problems, nausea, heart strokes, indigestion, inflammation, respiratory problems, and menstrual disorders. “Ginger oil is composed of 90 percent sesquiterpenes, which are responsible for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and other healing properties,” according to Mercola.
Because ginger oil has antiseptic and carminative properties, as noted above, it can counteract food poisoning. It may help reduce gut infections and is used to relieve indigestion, stomach ache, dyspepsia, colic, spasms, diarrhea, flatulence, and other problems linked to the stomach and bowel.
Ginger oil is a completely natural remedy for lymphatic drainage, edema (fluid accumulation under the skin), pain, spider and varicose veins. Simply massage the oil once or twice a day and watch for remarkable and noticeable results. You may want to mix the ginger oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil.
When rubbed into the skin, ginger oil rapidly reduces swelling from lymphedema (chronic tissue swelling). Patients often experience postoperative lymphedema after having a mastectomy, other cancer surgery, or lymph node removal.
Lymph is a clear liquid that collects bacteria, viruses, metabolic debris and other harmful substances for elimination through the lymph nodes, along the circulatory system, finally to be flushed out of the body through urination. Slow-moving or stagnant lymph impairs the immune system and may cause local inflammation and infection.
Some massage practitioners have training in manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) which helps reduce excess fluid and aid healing by reducing bruises and swelling. Massage Magazine explains the technique:
“Manual lymphatic drainage uses a light, repetitive skin stretching movement that is very specific: the skin is stretched in a specific direction and sequence to help speed the rate at which the lymphatic fluid reaches the appropriate lymph node groups for filtration and decongestion of the tissues.”
Drained, unclogged lymph nodes help the immune system and flush waste products and toxins from the body. Massaging in ginger oil stimulates lymph flow which is vital to good health.
Ginger oil may reduce adipose tissues and fat cells. It reduces sugar cravings and helps the body absorb nutrients. It is a natural carbohydrate blocker that stops starches and sugars from racing into the bloodstream. Add one drop of ginger oil to some water for drinking.
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger oil “reduce all inflammation in the body, including the type of inflammation that causes insulin resistance, thyroid problems and metabolic disorders such as Type 2 Diabetes.”
As with all medicinal herbs, proceed with caution in case you experience unpleasant side effects. Ginger is likely safe when taken by mouth and possibly safe when applied to the skin – apply a small amount and check for irritation before using more. Ginger may worsen some heart conditions, cause miscarriage or other pregnancy problems, aggravate bleeding disorders, and interfere with diabetes medicines.
Ginger oil is available in health food and herbal stores, online, or you can make it yourself:
1. Rinse and let dry for a few hours one cup of fresh ginger.
2. Pour 1-1/2 cups of olive oil into an oven-safe bowl.
3. Chop one or more ginger roots (depending on their size) with the skin on, shred the chopped ginger with a grater, and add this to the olive oil.
4. Cook in an oven at low heat (150 F) for at least 2 hours.
5. Remove the mixture from the oven and allow to cool before filtering it through an unbleached cheesecloth. Squeeze the cloth to extract all the oil from the bits of ginger.
6. Pour the ginger oil in clean vials or bottles (a funnel can be useful) and store in a cool dry place.
Add some delicious spice to your life with ginger oil and reap its health benefits as a welcome bonus!