For centuries, ginger has been used for gastronomic and therapeutic purposes. It can be consumed directly, chopped, grated or powdered, or even drunk as an infusion.
Another way to take advantage of all its properties, especially those of its active component, gingerol, is through its oil. Here we tell you what to use it for and how to do it.
Ginger oil is obtained from the root of Zingiber officinale, a plant popularly known as ginger, through steam distillation.
This oil is characterized by its yellow color and slightly spicy aroma (the fresher the roots, the more aromatic the oil will be).
It is usually used as a preservative, flavoring and meat tenderizer, however, it is advisable not to consume it as it can be toxic.
- Ginger: what are its uses and how to take advantage of it
The ideal is to inhale it or use it topically combined with other oils, such as sesame, jojoba or olive, or essential oils, such as eucalyptus, frankincense, lime, lemon, orange, patchouli, rosemary, or sandalwood, to take advantage of all its benefits.
There is evidence that ginger oil massages help reduce prostaglandins, compounds that stimulate nerve endings for pain.
It also appears to be effective in relieving muscle tension, and thanks to the presence of gingerol, it is believed that it can act as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, reducing the damage caused by muscle aches, rheumatic conditions, or migraines.
For a long time it was claimed that it could cure arthritis. This is false, however, it can be useful to calm the pain that this disease causes and limit the intake of anti-inflammatory drugs, which in the long run can lead to dependence and side effects.
You can make a preparation to massage the inflamed or affected areas by pain, with 3 drops of ginger oil for each tablespoon of carrier oil (sesame, jojoba or olive). Apply and massage for 5 to 10 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day.
Take care of the skin and hair
It is common to find ginger oil among the ingredients of many cosmetic or hygiene products. This is due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.
From traditional medicine, ginger oil is used to strengthen hair, controlling hair loss, preventing the appearance of dandruff or dryness, and providing shine.
You can add a couple of drops to your shampoo or make a hair preparation with other oils (such as almond) to promote blood supply and strengthen hair follicles.
Because it promotes blood circulation, it is also useful for taking care of skin health: it helps prevent the appearance of wrinkles and acne, accelerates the recovery of wounds, and guarantees the elasticity of the skin.
Both the ginger root and the oil are good expectorants, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, which is why they have been used for centuries to treat respiratory problems, such as asthma, bronchitis, flu, cold, or cough.
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You can make inhalations of ginger oil, diluting 3 or 4 drops in a pot of hot water, or place it in a diffuser. You can also make a preparation in a carrier oil and massage the chest to find relief.
Protect the heart
For centuries, ginger oil was used to prevent different heart conditions, since in addition to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, it favors the metabolization of fats, elimination of accumulated cholesterol and prevention of clots.
By controlling these factors, the risk of heart attacks or strokes is greatly reduced.
Ginger oil is also linked to better liver and digestive function, by soothing an upset stomach when rubbed on the abdomen.
Experts advise that ginger oil is very potent, so it must be used carefully.
Although it has few side effects, if consumed or applied in large amounts to the skin, it can cause diarrhea, stomach pain, and mouth and skin irritation.
There is also the risk of interaction with certain medications, such as anticoagulants (causing more bleeding), for diabetes (drastically lowering blood sugar levels), or for hypertension (lowering blood pressure levels).
Until significant scientific evidence from human trials is available, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should exercise extreme caution.
Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.
Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.
Sources consulted: Comprehensive Natural Medicines Database, US National Library of Medicine, US Department of Agriculture, National Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.