Madagascan Ginger to spice up your Day!
March 2018, posted by Emma
Hurrah for March, the month when we climb from winter’s depths to bask in spring’s vibrant hues. Despite the temperature outside creeping upwards the spring months can still feel chilly, so I’m not packing away my warming essential oils just yet.
One of my favourite oil for chilly days is ginger (zingiber officinalis), described by the 16th centruary herbalist Gerard as being, “…of an heating and digesting qualitie, and is profitable for the stomacke…”.
The essential oil of this perennial herb is distilled from its rhizome, or underground stem, rather than the root as is often believed. It’s indigenous to South East Asia and happily grows in tropical climes;
Our current batch is grown and distilled in Madagascar. The Madagascan oil is quite characteristic and easily recognisable. It is sweet, sharp, bouncy and clear without any of the grassy undertone of the Indian and Nepalese versions of the oil. It smells and tastes just like candied ginger. 2 drops on a teaspoon of honey is an absolute delight. A treat not to be abused.
The Madagascan oil is not always available. Although dearer than its Indian counterparts, its quality speaks for itself. Currently on special offer for a short while.
Apparently the Ancient Greeks ate ginger wrapped in bread, which evolved over time into the much-loved children’s snack – gingerbread! Medicinally, Ancient Indians recommended ginger for vertigo and the Ancient Chinese for leprosy. Arriving in Europe in the Middle Ages this fiery stem became a much loved food flavouring and medicinal ingredient. Traditional Chinese Medical practitioners continue to recommend fresh ginger root for colds, partly to rid the body of excess mucus – try adding the essential oil to a steam inhalation for chesty coughs. Many of us are familiar with combining this spice with lemon and honey and drinking it as ‘tea’ (or herbal infusion) at the on-set of a cold. An added benefit is that ginger can gently revive our energy, which is often low when viruses strike.
When applied topically Ginger essential oil promotes the peripheral blood circulation. To use its medical term it’s rubefacient, which explains it’s ability to warm the skin and help us feel cozy. Chemically, a 2014 study of medicinal plants native to Burkino Faso found ginger’s key sesquiterpenes (beta-bisabolene and zingiberene), to be anti-inflammatory; these compounds are both typically found in high levels in Zingiber officinale. Ginger oil may be useful in supporting arthritic joints and I often include it in blends for clients who are struggling with painful knees and fingers. Another use can be to ease nausea – one travel-sick prone client of mine now doesn’t travel without her ginger essential oil inhaler.
Along with curcuma and cumin, Ginger is a powerful anti-oxydant,
It is useful to soothe stomach ulcers caused by the helicobacter pylori bacteria. Studies have demonstrated the ability of ginger to inhibit its proliferation along with herbs and spices such as rosemary, garlic and curcuma.
It also useful for asthma sufferers as ginger helps the muscles of the bronchi to relax allowing the free passage of the breath.
Echoing its use in far-away Burkina Faso I find ginger wonderful in massage blends for joint and muscle aches, particularly if the person is of a chilly disposition or if the weather outside is inclement. Simply inhaling ginger can feel comforting and subtly invigorating, like combining a snuggly blanket with a strong cup of tea. Ginger essential oil is a friend I always reach for when I need relief from lingering chills; it continues to comfort me whilst I wait for the sun’s rays to get a little stronger.
Spice up your day!
Blend the following essential oils as directed below and make up your own bath oil/salt, massage oil or shower gel
Add the essential oil blend to 1 tablespoon or 10ml of a good quality vegetable oil or solubol and add to your bath water for a warming soak.
Add the bath oil mix as described above to 100 gr of dead sea salt.
Add the essential oil blend to 10 ml almond or jojoba and 10 ml calendula herbal oil and massage into achy muscles
To 200 ml of organic shower gel base, multiply the no of drops given by 4 or 5
3G Morning Zing
6 drops Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
3 drops Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
1 drops Galbanum (Ferula galbaniflua)
2 drops Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
3 drops Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
5 drops Cypress (Cupressus sempivirens)
• Bayala B, Bassole IH et al (2014), Chemical Composition, Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Proliferative Activities of Essential Oils of Plants from Burkina Faso, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3963878/, accessed 07/02/18
• Davis P (1988) Aromatherapy an A-Z, Saffron Weldon: Daniel
• Swerdlow JL (publishing date unknown) Nature’s Medicine, plants that heal: National Geographic
• Mojay G (1996) Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit (1996) London: Gaia Books Limited
• Mojay G (2015) Aromatherapy & Oriental Medicine Reference Notes (ITHMA course text, unpublished).
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• Tisserand R & Young R (2014) Essential Oil Safety (second edition), Edinburgh, London, New York et al: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier
• Woodward M (editor), 1994, Gerard’s Herbal, The History of Plants, Guernsey: Studio Editions Ltd: