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A perennial herb, ginger plants have bright yellow or white flowers and a spreading rhizome root. Ginger aromatherapy oils are distilled from dried, unpeeled ground roots and generally have a succulent, woodsy aroma. The oil usually has an amber color and is recommended to be used in small doses. These oils are renowned for their healing properties, especially stimulating circulation, soothing muscle pain, and reducing swelling. They can be inhaled on a tissue to help relieve indigestion and nausea as well.
Ginger has long been used for cooking and for medicinal purposes. In ancient times, the Chinese touted its use for toothaches, diarrhea, and arthritis. African women used to string ginger from a belt to invigorate the libido of men; ginger aromatherapy oils have since earned the reputation as an aphrodisiac. Originally grown in Southern Asia, ginger has spread its roots to be grown throughout China, Japan, Jamaica, and India.
In aromatherapy, oil is absorbed into the body’s circulatory system through the skin or airways. Once the oils are in the blood, they can travel to each organ and deliver healing effects. Ginger aromatherapy oils are used largely as digestive aids but can also relieve inflammation, flatulence, and stuffiness.
Typical aromatherapy delivery methods include inhalation, massage, bathing, and spray. A hot compress sprinkled with ginger aromatherapy oils and placed across the chest typically will relieve congestion; a few drops rubbed across the abdomen usually will help alleviate cramps. Ginger aromatherapy oils also can be mixed with distilled water and isopropyl alcohol to be sprayed on bedding, pillows, and towels, or they can be placed in a diffuser to enhance the aroma of a room.
Ginger aromatherapy oils can be added to a warm bath to ease muscle pain. The oils can be mixed with olive oil or grape seed oil to create an after-bath treatment. Also, they can be infused with a base lotion to create a body rub to thwart effects of arthritis. Ginger aromatherapy oils are also said to have germicidal properties and are thought to combat infections.
Highly fragrant, ginger aromatherapy oils can cause a reaction on sensitive skin and should be used sparingly. Ginger is not to be confused with Galangal, which is from the same plant family. Though sometimes called ginger root or Chinese ginger, Galangal does not have the same properties as true ginger.