Every two weeks I will profile an essential oil and the blend in which I use it:
Cultivated throughout the world, the essential oil and oleoresins come from plants grown in China, India, Jamaica, Madagascar, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka.
Native to Asia, ginger was introduced to Europe via the ‘spice route’ in the Middle Ages. It was valued as both a spice and medicine. The first documented pharmacological record is from the Chinese ‘Canon of Herbs’ by Pen-ts’ao Ching. Its medicinal properties are also recorded in Sanskrit texts and its scientific name Zingiber originates from the Sanskrit ‘sringabera’ which means ‘horn shape’. Later Confucius, Dioscorides and Galen extolled ginger’s virtues in their writings.
Anecdotally through the ages ginger had an affinity with digestive problems, winter ills, stress and inflammatory conditions. That is borne out by the actions of its chemical compounds, amongst which are: camphene, cineol, citral, ginegerin, ginegerone, gingerol, linalol, phellandrene, shogaol and zingiberine. These in varying degrees affect our cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, lymphatic (immune), nervous and respiratory systems.
A rubefacient, it can irritate the skin if used in high concentrations.
Ginger has a complex aroma that is sharp, warm and spicy, with earthy undertones. It blends particularly well with citrus and woody oils.
I utilise ginger within my muscle ease blend that I developed 20 years ago, which is still a hit with massage clients. I also use it within my summer zest blend that can be used to perk oneself up. It can also be beneficial for those who follow cyclical living (around the time of the full moon) and for those who menstruate (if used at ovulation).
29 Oct: helichrysum, which I use in my spring blend.