It’s almost impossible to list all the benefits and uses of ginger. This highly medicinal rhizome is a potent anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, anticancer, analgesic, antioxidant spice. Making ginger oil is simple and increases ginger’s versatility while prolonging shelf life. Read on to find out how to make your own ginger oil and why you should give it a try.
Why Try Ginger Oil?
Perhaps ginger’s best-known application as a medicine is for digestive woes. It doesn’t stop there, however: there’s much more to it than that. Preparing ginger oil allows you to easily use it topically, as well as internally.
You can combine herbs with the ginger oil to target a wider variety of health conditions:
- bergamot – reduces anxiety and relieves stress; reduces blood pressure and heart rate
- frankincense – reduces inflammation; relieves pain; neuroprotective
- neroli – relieves anxiety and depression; promotes healthy digestion; relieves insomnia
- sandalwood – relieves a headache; promotes circulation
- ylang-ylang – calming and soothing; promotes relaxation and balances hormones
Ginger contains dozens of healing phytochemicals, including mono- and sesqui- terpenoids 1,8-cineole, nerol, geraniol, B-bisabolene, B-sesquiphellandrene, zingiberene, linalool, α- and β-pinene, borneol, camphene, gingerol, and y-terpineol. These aromatic chemicals lend ginger not only its scent and flavor but its analgesic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Ginger has been clinically shown effective for the many ailments that “folk remedies” have used it for thousands of years. (1)
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Uses for Ginger Oil
Ginger oil is more useful than you think
1. Chronic Disease
In general, ginger is used for so many different ailments because its nutritional profile is exceptional. A precursor to almost every chronic disease is inflammation and ginger arrests it. Antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer properties in ginger kill a slew of potential pathogens. (2)
A recent study of over 4600 adults tested the effect of daily ginger consumption on various common chronic diseases: diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease (CHD), hyperlipidemia (high concentration of fats in the blood), cerebrovascular (brain and its blood vessels) disease, fatty liver, anemia, and cancer.
Researchers concluded: “…ginger has a potential preventive property against some chronic diseases, especially hypertension and CHD, as well as its ability to reduce the probability of illness…the probability of illness (hypertension or CHD) decreased when the level of daily ginger intake increased.” (3)
2. Food Poisoning
Since this very unpleasant condition is caused by bacteria and ginger is a potent antiseptic, it’s a no-brainer remedy. In fact, ginger has been proven to kill the common bacteria that contaminate food. (4)
When using ginger oil for bacterial infection, use linseed as the carrier oil, as these work synergistically to bring out the best in ginger. (5)
3. Heart Health
Ginger reduces cholesterol levels in the blood, thereby preventing the development of atherosclerosis and reducing lesions caused by heart disease. (6) The way that ginger does this is by way of its anti-inflammatory antioxidant compounds. (7)
Metabolism in the body works through electrical pathways and signals. Ginger reduces blood pressure by blocking the electricity in calcium channels to promote normal levels between cells. (8) It can reduce blood pressure and heart rate in heart-healthy people. (9) People taking heart or blood pressure medication should consult their healthcare providers before using ginger as a supplement.
5. Malaria, Dengue, and Yellow Fever
These insect-borne diseases are caused by a parasite (malaria) or virus (dengue and yellow fevers) that infects the mosquito that bites you. Ginger is effective at killing the offending parasite and stopping the progression of the viruses that cause these sometimes life-threatening illnesses. (10, 11)
6. Pain Relief
Ginger is an effective pain reliever, whether taken internally or applied topically. (12) One of the ways it works is by inhibiting prostaglandins, which are fatty acids that act like hormones. Prostaglandins are important for healing tissue damage but can also cause inflammation and muscle constriction, which are often the source of pain. (13)
Ginger has been shown to be especially effective for reducing symptoms of PMS and easing menstrual cramping. (14)
Additionally: “Topical ginger treatment has the potential to relieve symptoms, improve the overall health, and increase independence of people with chronic osteoarthritis.” (15)
Mix 2-3 drops of ginger oil with 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (almond, avocado, coconut, olive, jojoba, etc.) and rub into sore muscles and joints to relieve pain and stiffness and improve circulation. Alternatively, add 10-20 drops of ginger oil to a hot bath or a few drops to a clean cloth for a hot or cold compress.
7. Respiratory Problems
Ginger breaks up phlegm, reduces inflammation and irritation, and relieves cough. Ginger has been used to treat chronic conditions like asthma and bronchitis. (16) It’s also anti-viral, which will help the immune system to combat colds and flu.
Place 2-3 drops of ginger oil in a diffuser, vaporizer, or a bowl of steaming hot water. Inhale the steam to absorb into the lungs to clear them; ease irritation of the nose, throat, and lungs; and promote a general feeling of revitalization. You can do this any time for a burst of ginger energy.
8. Stomach, Bowel, and Digestive Issues
Ginger relieves flatulence, diarrhea, upset stomach, nausea, and motion sickness. (17) Ginger can even ease nausea that follows chemotherapy, according to a 2009 study. (18) It also increases appetite.
To use against gas and digestive issues, apply a drop or two to the lower abdomen and gently massage into the skin.
How to Make Ginger Oil
You can make a batch that’ll last up to 6 months so you always have some on hand. Be sure to store the oil in a dark, cool, dry place.
- Oven-safe bowl
- Cheese grater
- Cheese cloth
- 1 cup fresh ginger, whole and unpeeled
- 1 ½ cups olive oil, organic extra virgin
- Rinse the ginger thoroughly and allow to air dry (it’ll take a few hours).
- When the ginger is dry, preheat the oven to 150°F/65°.
- Pour the olive oil into an oven-safe bowl.
- Shred the ginger with a cheese grater. Add to the olive oil and mix well.
- Put the mixture in the oven and leave it to cook for at least 2 hours.
- When cool enough to handle, pour the oil into another (glass or ceramic) bowl or large glass measuring cup through an unbleached cheese cloth to filter out the solid bits of ginger. Squeeze out the oil from the cheese cloth into the bowl/cup so you don’t waste one precious drop.
- Pour the ginger oil into clean vials or bottles with lids and store in a cool, dry place.
Cautions When Using Ginger Oil
- Ginger oil can make your skin sensitive to the sun, so avoid exposure within 24 hours of application.
- If it’s your first time using ginger oil, test a drop on a small spot (the inside of the elbow works well) and wait 24 hours to check for any skin reaction.
- Because it’s concentrated, if you take ginger oil internally, it can cause stomach upset. Use sparingly and mix with a carrier oil or food.
- If you are taking any medication, consult your healthcare provider before using ginger oil in any way. It’s powerful stuff.
- Safe use during pregnancy is not definitive; most studies found no or few minor side effects. Some even found that ginger oil can reduce morning sickness during the first trimester. (19) Best to check with your midwife first.
Ginger is a great healing tool, all you need to do is use it correctly. If you have any questions or doubts, consult a naturopath before making your own ginger oil.