Ginger Essential Oil

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Ginger Essential Oil
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General Description

Ginger essential oil is obtained through steam distillation of fresh or dried ginger rhizomes, which rank as among the most widely consumed condiments all over the world due to their fragrance and flavor. Scientifically known as Zingiber officinale, ginger packs a long history of being used in alternative medicine in addition to being consumed as a spice and delicacy, although the rhizomes’ true mechanisms of action appear unclear and warrant further research. Ginger’s medicinal, chemical, and pharmacological properties have been comprehensively evaluated and investigated over the years, and to date, ginger shows promise as a potent dietary supplement, herbal remedy, and overall preventive or therapeutic agent with respect to effectiveness and safety. [1]

Ginger essential oil varies in color from pale yellow to dark amber [2] and exudes a warm, spicy, woody aroma that is medium in strength and reminiscent of both lemon and pepper. This essential oil has a rather thin consistency (medium to watery viscosity) and a middle perfumery note. [3]

Ginger Essential Oil – Uses and Reported Benefits

Included as part of the extensive list of ailments that supposedly can be remedied with ginger use and administration are colds, arthritis, migraines, and hypertension. [1] Aside from these ailments, in aromatherapy, ginger essential oil is regarded as providing beneficial support for relief of flu, nausea such as in motion sickness and morning sickness, rheumatism, and coughs, and due to its warming effect when added to blends for massages, the essential oil can soothe the aches in muscular cramps, spasms, and stiff joints. [3] Ginger essential oil use is said to alleviate anxiety, improve circulation, and restore vitality, and the oil can also be used as an uplifting aphrodisiac. [4] Predominantly in Asian countries, ginger is utilized to remedy stomach concerns such as stomachache and diarrhea. [2]

Ginger Essential Oil – Contraindications and Safety

The use of ginger essential oil is generally safe as used within general aromatherapy guidelines, [1] but could possibly cause irritation to sensitive skin as well as photosensitivity. Dilution is highly recommended, especially when ginger essential oil is intended to be applied on the face, neck, or genital area. Pregnant women are also advised to consult with their physician first prior to use. [5]

Ginger Essential Oil – Scientific Studies And Research

Ginger Essential Oil as immune booster – A substantial amount of research reveals the beneficial effect ginger essential oil has on immunological defense. A recent 2013 report had demonstrated the significant antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antinociceptive properties of ginger essential oil. In this Indian study, ginger essential oil exhibited scavenging activities against superoxide, DPPH, and hydroxyl radicals and prevented the lipid peroxidation of tissues in vitro. Intraperitoneal provision of ginger essential oil in mice resulted in the inhibition of superoxide radicals, whereas 1-month oral administration of this oil increased glutathione enzymes. Administration of ginger essential oil had reduced as well both acute and chronic forms of inflammation (p < 0.001). [6] Findings from a 2009 Brazilian study establish that in immunosuppressed mice, ginger essential oil aids in the recovery of humoral immune response, one of the two major arms of the immune system responsible for the proliferation of B cells and secretion of specific antibodies. [7]

Ginger Essential Oil as anti-inflammatory / pain reliever – Ginger essential oil’s use as an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving traditional medicine is widespread in Asian countries. A 2008 study which investigated aromatic essential oil massage as an alternative method for the relief of moderate to severe knee discomfort among the elderly, offers evidence of the efficacy of ginger essential oil in providing short-term knee pain relief when used in massage along with 0.5% orange oil. In this study, significant improvement in knee pain intensity, stiffness level, and physical function was apparent in the intervention group, who had six massage sessions with ginger and orange oils over a 3-week period. [8]

Ginger Essential Oil as stomach ulcer inhibitor – According to the study of Liju, Jeena, and Kuttan (2014), ginger essential oil provides gastroprotection and reduces gastric ulcers in male Wistar rats, as evidenced by parameters such as the ulcer index and stomach histopathology results in this study. Ginger essential oil inhibits ulcer by 85.1% per ulcer index and, when administered in combination with turmeric essential oil, significantly increases antioxidant enzymes and decreases lesions such as necrosis, erosion, and hemorrhage of the stomach wall. [9]

Ginger Essential Oil as antiviral – A good amount of evidence from numerous studies supports not only the antibacterial but also the antiviral role of ginger against common pathogens. A 2007 study published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy revealed the susceptibility of clinical isolates of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) to ginger essential oil as well as significant reduction of plaque formation upon essential oil administration. This effect might be attributed to ginger essential oil’s interference with virion envelope structures, which are vital for the adsorption to or entry into host cells, or the dissolution of the HSV envelope. [10] Another study likewise explored the virus-inhibiting effect of ginger essential oil, this time against herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), the virus that causes genital herpes. In the study of Koch et al. (2008), a dose-dependent virucidal activity from ginger essential oil was observed against HSV-2. Again, the inhibitory effect was probably due to the essential oil’s interaction with the viral envelope. [11]

Ginger Essential Oil as antimicrobial & antifungal – As mentioned, data from several research studies positively indicate the antimicrobial activity of ginger essential oil. In the study of Martins et al. (2001), ginger essential oil manifested antimicrobial activity against all Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria tested and also against yeasts and filamentous fungi. [12] The essential oil derived from ginger roots is active against Campylobacter jejuni, the most common cause of community-acquired inflammatory enteritis, [13] and, to a certain extent, against different fluconazole-resistant Candida species such as C. albicans and C. dubliniensis. [14]

Ginger – Molecular Components And Phytochemistry

Alpha-zingiberene, ar-curcumene (15.4%), and sesquiphellandrene are among the main components of ginger essential oil, as detected by GC/MS analysis. [6] A high content of other sesquiterpene hydrocarbons such as beta-bisabolene characterizes ginger essential oil too. [10] The oily resin derived from the roots of the ginger plant, in particular, contains a broad array of biologically important compounds that are purported to exert numerous pharmacological activities, such as [6] gingerol, the most abundant bioactive constituent of ginger root [1] and 6-shogaol, which has been found to cause apoptosis in human leukemia cells in lab tests. [15] Ginger’s distinctive spicy aroma is associated primarily with the presence of ketones, chiefly the gingerols.


[1] Bode A. M., Dong Z. (2011). The amazing and mighty ginger. In Benzie I. F. F., Wachtel-Galor S. (Eds.), Herbal medicine: biomolecular and clinical aspects (2nd ed.). Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press. Retrieved from

[2] Ginger essential oil information. Esoteric Oils. Retrieved from

[3] Ginger 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil- 10 ml. Amazon. Retrieved from

[4] Ginger (root) Essential Oil. 10 ml. 100% Pure, Undiluted, Therapeutic Grade. Amazon. Retrieved from

[5] Ginger essential oil. Young Living.

[6] Jeena K., Liju V. B., Kuttan R. (2013). Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities of essential oil from ginger. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 57(1): 51-62. Retrieved from

[7] Carrasco F. R. et al. (2009). Immunomodulatory activity of Zingiber officinale Roscoe, Salvia officinalis L. and Syzygium aromaticum L. essential oils: evidence for humor- and cell-mediated responses. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 61(7):961-7. doi:
10.1211/jpp/61.07.0017. Retrieved from

[8] Yip Y., Tam A. C. (2008). An experimental study on the effectiveness of massage with aromatic ginger and orange essential oil for moderate-to-severe knee pain among the elderly in Hong Kong. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 16(3): 131-138. doi:
10.1016/j.ctim.2007.12.003. Retrieved from

[9] Liju V. B., Jeena K., Kuttan R. (2014). Gastroprotective activity of essential oils from turmeric and ginger. Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology. doi: 10.1515/jbcpp-2013-0165. Retrieved from

[10] Schnitzler P., Koch C., Reichling J. (2007). Susceptibility of drug-resistant clinical herpes simplex virus type 1 strains to essential oils of ginger, thyme, hyssop, and sandalwood. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 51(5): 1859-1862. Retrieved from

[11] Koch C., Reichling J., Schneele J., Schnitzler P. (2008). Inhibitory effect of essential oils against herpes simplex virus type 2. Phytomedicine. 15(1-2): 71-78. Retrieved from

[12] Martins A. P. et al. (2001). Essential oil composition and antimicrobial activity of three Zingiberaceae from S. Tomé e Príncipe. Planta Medica. 67(6): 580-584. Retrieved from

[13] Friedman M., Henika P. R., Mandrell R. E. (2002). Bactericidal activities of plant essential oils and some of their isolated constituents against Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella enterica. Journal of Food Protection. 65(10): 1545-1560. Retrieved from

[14] Pozzatti P. et al. (2008). In vitro activity of essential oils extracted from plants used as spices against fluconazole-resistant and fluconazole-susceptible Candida spp. Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 54(11): 950-956. doi: 10.1139/w08-097. Retrieved from

[15] Qun Liu et. al. (2013). 6-Shogaol induces apoptosis in human leukemia cells through a process involving caspase-mediated cleavage of eIF2α.

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