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11 min read / 16 October 2023 / yasmin sharp

10 Benefits and Uses of Ginger Oil

Warming ginger has a vast range of medicinal benefits, and can even act as an aphrodisiac.

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Ginger has retained a long and proven association with wellness and upkeep through the ages, with this warm and sweet spice retaining its place as a key ingredient in countless herbal remedies.

Whether it’s adding ginger root and honey to hot water to ease cold symptoms or applying a diluted oil mixture to parts of the body for pain relief, it’s easy to see why it remains an integral part of natural and holistic medicine systems.

In the West, ginger is more commonly used as a culinary ingredient, adding depth and spice to a host of sweet cooking recipes, producing things like ginger ale and gingerbread.

However, that has begun to change in recent years as more people look towards aromatherapy for additional physical and mental health support, learning more about ginger oil benefits and what it has to offer.

We cover all that and more in this guide, giving you more insight into its history, practical uses and common questions asked.

What is ginger oil?

Ginger is a tropical plant that is also known by its botanical name Zingiber Offcianale.

It is native to several regions in Asia and is extracted from the ginger rhizome following a steam distillation process.

Once extracted, the oil has a natural yellow colour, with a sharp yet slightly sweet aroma that adds to its overall warmth.

There are several different types of ginger oil, which are separated by their levels of zingiberene – a key component of the plant that varies depending on the type of soil the rhizome plant is grown in.

How does ginger oil work?

Ginger essential oil is rich in antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that are derived from two compounds called monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.

Once inhaled via diffusion or applied to the skin after being diluted with a carrier oil, these compounds work to combat the negative effects of free radicals, which can reduce inflammation and prevent related cell damage.

From supporting digestion and relieving cold symptoms to regenerating the skin and providing pain relief, ginger oil offers a wide range of health benefits that can be used to treat a host of ailments that affect both body and mind.

Large piece of flowering ginger root

Benefits of ginger oil

The benefits of ginger oil continue to be studied by scientists around the world, producing results that find it can:

1. Support better digestion

When it comes to treating gastric complaints, ginger essential oil is often seen as the go-to option for many people.

This has also been backed up by various studies over the years.

For example, in 2015 researchers oversaw an animal study that found the growth of ulcers could be inhibited by ginger essential oil by up to 85%.

They also learned that the gastroprotective properties of ginger oil could prove effective at treating diarrhoea, indigestion and even colic.

Another study, conducted in 2014, found that patients inhaling ginger oil after a surgical procedure were able to reduce feelings of nausea – results which offer some confirmation as to why so many people use ginger as a natural remedy for sickness and vomiting.

2. Ease cold symptoms

It is a long-held belief in many households that ginger can prove very effective at reducing cold symptoms.

This is because it is a natural expectorant, helping mucus to move through blocked airways, whilst also flushing away harmful bacteria.

Once extracted into ginger essential oil, it also retains its antiseptic properties that offer protection against infections and the ability to kill cold-related pathogens.

The oil’s anti-inflammatory properties are derived from its gingerol and zingiberene components, which can also help to open airways and soothe lung swelling.

Researchers looking into cold relief abilities of ginger oil found that it can quickly relax airway smooth muscles, which supports better breathing through a stuffy nose.

3. Offer pain relief

Ginger oil contains a component called zingiberene, that has been found to have significant pain-relieving properties.

This was put to the test by researchers in 2001 who found that ginger oil was linked to the reduction of inflammation-induced pain and proved effective at treating symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.

A later study, conducted in 2010, also found that exercise-induced muscle pain could be reduced through use of ginger oil by as much as 25%.

It is also believed that ginger essential oil can reduce the number of prostaglandins in the body – compounds associated with pain sensation.

4. Lift low moods

The warm, stimulating properties of ginger essential oil is enjoyed through diffusion by many people who rely on the fragrance to manage feelings of stress or anxiety.

A study in 2010 found that the human serotonin receptor could be triggered through interaction with ginger oil.

This offers a possible explanation as to why ginger has long been associated with happiness and confidence.

In another study, researchers wanted to discover if using ginger could help to reduce premenstrual syndrome symptoms.

Participants in the clinical trial were asked to take two ginger capsules daily seven days before menstruation and three days after menstruation for three cycles.

After 1, 2 and 3 months of treatment, scientists saw there was a significant reduction in the severity of mood, behavioural and physical symptoms of PMS, suggesting ginger could provide a very effective natural remedy.

5. Improve skin condition

The antioxidant properties contained in ginger essential oil offer protection against free radicals that are responsible for several issues, such as premature ageing.

These properties can restore elasticity to the skin, whilst other ginger oil benefits can also work as an astringent, which can reduce hyperpigmentation, scars and blemishes.

This is also the reason why it is widely held belief that ginger oil can also benefit the scalp, supporting all-round hair health by combatting flaking and itching.

If you intend to apply ginger essential oil to your scalp or any other area of skin, we always advise that you dilute it with a carrier oil to minimise the possibility of experiencing irritation or an allergic reaction.

First-time users should ideally complete a patch test before using the oil on large areas of skin.

Pile of ginger roots

6. Treat and heal infections

The antiseptic properties of ginger essential oil can prove effective at tackling infections caused by microorganisms and bacteria.

This includes bacterial dysentery, food poisoning and intestinal infections.

Scientists have also learned that the oil contains antifungal properties.

For example, an in vitro study found that ginger oil compounds were effective against Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

Researchers involved in the study discovered that ginger oil possessed the ability to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans, a common yeast that lives on the body in small amounts in the skin, mouth and intestines, and is responsible for thrush and vaginal yeast infections.

7. Strengthen heart health

Cholesterol levels and blood clotting could also be addressed through the consumption of ginger, although these findings are purely preliminary at this stage.

The ability to lower cholesterol levels and blood clotting could offer a natural treatment for various heart diseases, reducing the likelihood of blood vessels becoming blocked and heart attacks occurring.

One animal study published in 2000, showed that when ginger extract was given to mice for 10 weeks, LDL cholesterol and plasma triglycerides were significantly reduced.

Dialysis patients took part in a 2016 study that required them to take 1,000 milligrams of ginger every day for 10 weeks.

Researchers found that serum triglyceride levels were lowered by up to 15% compared to a placebo group.

8. Boost sex drive

Ginger oil uses are wide and varied, and its benefits also extend to addressing issues such as loss of libido and impotence.

Whilst research is limited in this area, studies have found that ginger can help to increase blood flow, which could enhance libido and sexual arousal.

In a review of six studies, a conclusion was reached that systolic and diastolic blood pressure could be reduced by ginger supplementation.

This could be beneficial for people with low libidos, as other studies have learned that sexual dysfunction is more likely in men and women with increased blood pressure.

9. Improve liver function

The potential and hepatoprotective activity of ginger essential oil was put through its paces by researchers in a 2013 animal study.

They investigated how effective it could be at treating alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is closely associated with liver cancer and hepatic cirrhosis.

Mice with alcoholic fatty liver disease were given ginger essential oil every day for four weeks.

After the treatment had finished, researchers concluded that it had hepatoprotective activity.

And once alcohol had been administered, the number of metabolites increased, with the treatment group then seeing levels eventually recover.

10. Help improve sleep patterns

Whilst there are other essential oils like lavender that are closely associated with aiding sleep, diffused ginger essential oil can also offer some support.

The warm and spicy notes of the oil are perfect for aromatherapy, providing a sense of comfort and relaxing calm.

This can work wonders for people who struggle to relax before going to bed at night, with the natural fragrance helping to set the right mood and ambience to facilitate a good night’s rest.

Small cup of ginger tea next to chopped ginger root

How to use ginger oil

Common uses of ginger oil range from massage treatments to hair care applications. You can also use it:

As an aromatherapy oil

Introducing aromatherapy practices into your daily routine can help you experience some of the many ginger oil benefits it has to offer.

To diffuse the oil, mix 5-7 drops with water and add to an oil burner or diffuser, which will slowly release the aroma into the room.

Alternatively, you can add a few drops to a tissue or inhale directly from the bottle.

As a skincare solution

The antibacterial properties of ginger essential oil can help when spot treating certain areas of skin, whilst also working as a skin-tightening cleanser.

Before applying to the skin, mix a couple of drops with a carrier oil (such as jojoba oil or sweet almond oil) or your favourite skincare lotion and apply evenly into the target areas.

History of ginger oil

Ancient Greek, Chinese, Arabian and Roman civilisations were keenly aware of the benefits of ginger essential oil, with the root variety commonly used in traditional medicine practices.

And in Ayurvedic medicine, ginger was considered a “universal remedy” for centuries.

In fact, its gastric health benefits were so renowned that legendary Chinese philosopher Confucius was said to always be in possession of ginger when he ate.

And quite amusingly, during the 13th and 14th centuries, ginger was so highly valued that it was seen as equivalent to one sheep.

This helps to explain why it remained such a sought after commodity throughout history, and even today it is one of the most traded spices in the world.

Black and white illustration of ginger root

Ginger Oil FAQ

How does ginger affect the body?

Ginger oil can help the body in several ways.

This includes the cleansing and tightening of skin and easing feelings of nausea and sickness.

Scientists continue to look into the health benefits of ginger oil, with some studies analysing its potential as a weight loss tool, although no solid evidence has been found to support this idea.

Can ginger reduce inflammation?

The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger oil are one the biggest benefits it can provide, with its naturally high levels of zingiberene helping to soothe inflamed skin.

This compound offers strong pain-relieving qualities that can soothe irritation and reduce redness, calming the skin to make various conditions more bearable to live with.

Can anyone use ginger essential oil?

Ginger essential oil is generally recognised as safe, with few reported adverse side effects.

As is true of all essential oils, ginger oil is highly concentrated and should never be applied directly to the skin undiluted.

If you are worried about experiencing a reaction or you are a first-time user, it is a good idea to complete a patch test to ensure it is suitable for your skin.

Product Name

100% Pure Ginger (Chinese) Essential Oil
Botanical Name Zingiber Officianale
Scent Type Spices
Benefits & Uses Aids Digestion, Mood Boosting, Decongestant
Suitable for Diffusers? Yes, this ginger (chinese) essential oil is perfect for diffusers.
Suitable for Candles and Soaps? Yes, this ginger (chinese) essential oil is perfect for candle and soap making.
Extraction Method Steam Distillation
Bottle Type Tamper proof and UV resistant

 


References

[1] Vijayasteltar B Liju et al. (2015) Gastroprotective activity of essential oils from turmeric and ginger https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24756059/

[2] Susanna Stea et al. (2014) Essential Oils for Complementary Treatment of Surgical Patients: State of the Art https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3953654/

[3] Elizabeth A. Townsend et al. (2013) Effects of Ginger and Its Constituents on Airway Smooth Muscle Relaxation and Calcium Regulation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3604064/

[4] R D Altman et al. (2001) Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11710709/

[5] Christopher D. Black et al. (2010) Daily ginger consumption eases muscle pain by 25 percent, study suggests https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100519131130.htm

[6] Andreas Nievergelt et al. (2010) Identification of serotonin 5-HT1A receptor partial agonists in ginger https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20363635/

[7] Samira Khayat et al. (2014) Effect of Treatment with Ginger on the Severity of Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4040198/

[8] Yuva Bellik (2014) Total antioxidant activity and antimicrobial potency of the essential oil and oleoresin of Zingiber officinale Roscoe https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4027350/

[9] B Fuhrman et al. (2000) Ginger extract consumption reduces plasma cholesterol, inhibits LDL oxidation and attenuates development of atherosclerosis in atherosclerotic, apolipoprotein E-deficient mice https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10801908/

[10] Hadi Tabibi et al. (2016) Effects of Ginger on Serum Lipids and Lipoproteins in Peritoneal Dialysis Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26475844/

[11] F Cour et al. (2013) Anatomy and physiology of sexuality https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23830249/

[12] Hossein Hasani et al. (2019) Does ginger supplementation lower blood pressure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30972845/

[13] Arto Heikkilä et al. (2017) Relationship of Blood Pressure and Erectile Dysfunction in Men Without Previously Diagnosed Hypertension https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28993149/

[14] E R Nascimento et al. (2015) Sexual dysfunction in arterial hypertension women: The role of depression and anxiety https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25942437/

[15] Chun-Ting Liu et al. (2013) Metabolomics of ginger essential oil against alcoholic fatty liver in mice https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24171385/

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Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult your personal physician for any advice or treatment regarding specific health questions. Neither the article editor, writer, nor the organisation of Nikura takes any responsibility for possible health consequences following the information given in any article. All readers should consult their physician before taking any advice given within these articles.

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