Ginger Oil Guide - Benefits, Properties, Characteristics & Composition


Ginger is one of the most used spices in the world, especially in India and China. Ginger oil, like ginger, has a number of health benefits owning to its numerous properties, most notably analgesic, antiemetic, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, carminative, expectorant, stimulant and tonic. Read on to learn characteristics, composition, properties and benefits of ginger oil.

ginger essential oil - roots


The botanical name of ginger is Zingiber officinale. Ginger is also known as common ginger, Jamaica ginger and Garden ginger.
Common ginger is different from Chinese ginger which is a type of Galangal and its botanical name is Boesenbergia rotunda.


Ginger belongs to Zingiberaceae family and is an erect perennial flowering plant with a thick, spreading, tuberous rhizome pungent root. It grows upto 1 metre in height and it has a green reedlike stalk with narrow spear-shaped leaves and white or yellow flowers growing directly from the root.

It is a tropical plant and needs plenty of heat and humidity for good growth. Ginger is native to southern Asia, especially India and is now extensively cultivated all over the tropics. The largest ginger producing countries in the world are India, Nigeria, China, Indonesia, Nepal and Thailand. [1]

Family Zingiberaceae consists of the large number of medicinal plants that play a major role in Indian System of Medicine, Ayurveda.

History of Use of Ginger

Ginger has been used as a spice and as a remedy for thousands of years, especially in the East.

Ginger in fact has the distinction of being one of the very few herbal remedies used for the last two millennia in all three extant major systems of traditional medicine, Chinese, Ayurvedic and Greek. Textbooks of all three systems agree (for once!) as to its warming, stimulating and gently pain-relieving effects, recommending its use essentially for cold conditions.

Fresh ginger is used in China for many complaints including rheumatism, bacterial dysentery, toothache, malaria, and for cold and moist conditions such as excess mucus and diarrhoea.

During the medieval times, ginger was exported from India to other parts of the world. The ancient Greeks and Romans knew ginger mainly as a spice and warming remedy that came from India. With the resurgence of the spice trade with the Middle East in the post-crusadal Middle Ages, ginger roots began pouring into the hungry ports of Venice and Genoa. As a costly, exotic cooking spice it was distributed to wealthy princely, imperial and ecclesiastical households, where it was prized for its complex spicy yet sweet-tart flavour.

Ginger was first imported to Spain from Jamaica in 1547. In the West, ginger is best known as a digestive aid. In the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia it is specifically indicated for flatulent intestinal colic.


Ginger oil is extracted from the root of the ginger plant by steam distillation and sometimes hydro-diffusion. Hydro-diffusion leads to a more intense, golden colour and produces oil rich in ginger notes and full-bodied ginger aroma. Extraction yield of ginger oil ranges from 1.5% to 3%.

Ginger is also used to produce absolute and oleoresin. Ginger absolute is a thick, reddish-amber liquid with a deep, rich spicy-sweet-woody aroma. Ginger absolute contain shogaols and gingerols, which are principal constituents of ginger and provide absolute a stinging quality. Absolute is best used as a component in blends.

In comparison, steam-distilled essential oil is a warm, gentle, soft, without the sharp components. It is better suited for topical application than the CO2 extract.

Characteristics of Ginger Oil

Ginger oil is a pale yellow to amber liquid with a spicy, peppered, warm and lemony scent.

Name Ginger Oil
Botanical Name Zingiber officinale
Family Zingiberaceae
Genus Zingiber
Colour Pale Yellow to Amber
Aroma Warm, Slightly Green, Fresh, Woody-spicy
Note Middle-Base

Composition of Ginger Oil

Ginger oil contains over 70 constituents and the chief constituents are sesquiterpene hydrocarbons which are responsible for the aroma. There is a difference in the composition of the oil extracted from dry and fresh ginger. Fresh ginger oil contains more of oxygenated compounds (29%) and lesser of hydrocarbon compounds compared to dry ginger oil (14%).

α-Zingiberene is the major compound found both in fresh and dry ginger essential oils. The other important constituents of ginger oil are the mono and sesquiterpenes; camphene, alpha-phellandrene, curcumene, cineole, geranyl acetate, terphineol, terpenes, borneol, geraniol, limonene, beta-elemene, zingiberol, linalool, alpha-zingiberene, beta- sesquiphellandrene, beta-bisabolene, zingiberenol and alpha-farmesene.

The details of composition of ginger oil are as follow:

  • Sesquiterpenes 55% (incl. α-zingiberene 12–51%, beta-sesquiphellandrene2–9%, beta-farnesene 19%, ar-curcumene, alpha-copaene, betaelemene, germacrenes B and D, calamenene, cyclosativene, cyclocopacamphene, sesquithujene, beta-ylangene, beta-caryophyllene, α-amphorphene, zonarene, 10-epizonarene, cis-gamma-bisabolene)
  • Monoterpenes 20% (incl. camphene, alphaand beta-pinene, beta-phellandrene, sabinene, myrcene, limonene)
  • Monoterpenols (incl. linalool 1–6%, citronellol 6%, 2-nonanol, 2-butanol, 2-methyl-butenol)
  • Sesquiterpenols (incl. nerolidol 1–9%, cis-sesquisabinene hydrate, elemol, betabisabolol, zingiberol, beta-eudesmol)
  • Hydrocarbons (incl. undecane, dodecane, haxadecane, toluene, p-cymene)
  • Ketones (incl. acetone, 2-hexanone, 2-heptanone, methyl-heptanone, cryptone, 2-nonanone, gingerone, carvotanacetone)


Ginger essential oil blends well with spicy and citrus essentials oil including black pepper, carrot seed, cedar-wood, cinnamon leaf, coriander, eucalyptus, frankincense, fennel, helichrysum, lemongrass, lime, neroli, orange, patchouli, rose, rosewood, sandalwood and vetiver.

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Properties of Ginger Oil

Ginger oil has analgesic, antiemetic, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitussive, aperitif, aphrodisiac, bactericidal, carminative, cephalic, diaphoretic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, rubefacient, stimulant, stomachic, tonic properties.

Benefits of Ginger Oil

Ginger oil is a popular digestive aid and it is helpful in relieving toothache, cramps, loss of appetite, indigestion, constipation, heartburn, stomachache, anorexia and flatulence.

Stomach Issues: Ginger oil is an effective natural remedy in case of indigestion, stomach ache, nausea, dyspepsia, diarrheas, spasms, flatulence and other stomach and bowel related problems. Ginger oil is used to treat colic in babies, indigestion in people of all ages, nausea, diarrheas, and vomiting. In addition, it is also considered useful to increase appetite.

According to the study conducted to test the anti-ulcer activity of ginger oil against ethanol-induced ulcers in male Wistar rats, it is found that ginger oil inhibited ulcer by 85.1%, thus suggesting that ginger oil could reduce the gastric ulcer in rat stomach as seen from the ulcer index and histopathology of the stomach. [2]

For the best results, apply a few drops on stomach or add few drops to bath or ingest with a tea or water.

Nausea: Ginger oil is an effective natural remedy for treatment for nausea, hangover and motion sickness because of its antiemetic properties.

According to a study conducted to compare the effect of ginger essence on nausea and vomiting after open versus laparoscopic nephrectomies found ginger essence to be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting not only in the subjects who underwent open nephrectomy but also in the subjects of laparoscopic nephrectomy. The study concluded that in comparison with the placebo, ginger essence could effectively reduce the mean nausea severity in patients who underwent either open or laparoscopic nephrectomy. [3]

A number of other studies has also concluded the effectiveness of ginger oil in treatment of nausea, motion sickness.

Prevent Infection: Ginger oil is a natural antiseptic making it effective measure for infectious disease. Ginger oil can be used to treat intestinal infections, bacterial dysentery and food poisoning. In addition, tonic actions of ginger oil helps in strengthening immune system.

Ginger oil exhibited significant antioxidant and antimicrobial activities and can be used in the treatment of many bacterial and fungal diseases as well as a naturally food additives and preservatives. In particular, ginger oil has been found to be effective in inhibiting the growth of Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus and Candida albicans. [4]

Pain Reliever: Ginger oil is effective in relieving muscle and joint aches and pains, sprains and strains and joint stiffness, inflammatory bowel and celiac disease because of its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antispasmodic properties. Ginger oil improves blood circulation and is helpful for relieving symptoms of headache, angina, arthritis and rheumatism.

Research was conducted using ginger and sweet orange aromatic essential oil for massage among elderly patients with moderate to severe knee pain. There was marked change reported for knee pain intensity, stiffness and physical function among all those receiving massage with aromatic oils. [5]

For best results, take a drop or two of ginger essential oil every day to help reduce headaches, muscle soreness, backaches, and menstrual cramps. To treat muscle pain or joint inflammation, rub the oil over the affected area instead of taking it orally.

Treatment of Hangover and Alcohol Use Disorder:  Ginger oil can be helpful in treating discomfort after excessive alcohol ingestion, detoxification the injuries of alcohol abuse and alcoholic fatty liver disease caused by alcohol consumption.

In China, a mixture of pith of citrus tangerine, the rhizome of Zingiber officinale and brown sugar (KSS formula) has been traditionally used for treatment of discomfort after excessive alcohol ingestion.

A study conducted to investigate the role of water extracts of ginger as natural product extracts to detoxify the injuries of alcohol abuse on liver and brain of mice found that water extracts of ginger has detoxifying and antioxidant effects and is recommended to use to avoid alcohol toxicity. The water extract of ginger could decrease the levels of both liver function enzymes, l-γ-glutamyl transpeptidase and butyryl cholinesterase. [6]

Another study found that ginger could be used as a candidate to the prevention and treatment of hangover and organ damages induced by overconsumption of alcohol through its antioxidant action. The ginger oil and citral exhibited hepatoprotective activity against AFLD in mice as per the study. [7]

Respiratory Issues: Ginger oil is useful for treating illnesses caused by cold and dampness like the cold and flu, chills, fever, bronchitis, congestion, cough and sinusitis. Because of expectorant, soothing and stimulating properties, ginger oil is effective in removing mucus and soothing sore throat.

Stimulant: As a stimulant, ginger oil helps to improve circulation, increases body temperature and cellular respiration and may be useful for combating jet lag.

Alertness: Ginger oil help you to recover when you’re feeling physically and emotionally burnt out, depleted or exhausted due to its restorative properties. Try fresh ginger root oil for relieving debility, nervous exhaustion and oversensitivity and to help ground and sharpen the senses.

Other Usages: Ginger oil is widely used in food and flavouring industries for flavouring of products such as drinks, food, etc.


Ginger oil is non-toxic and non-irritant, except in high concentration. It is also slightly photo-toxic and may cause sensitization in some individuals. It is preferable to conduct a patch test before using topically. Dilute with a carrier oil before each use. Use in a weak dilution of less than one percent.

Consult your healthcare provider if you’re pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or being treated for other health challenges. Keep out of reach of children.

Care must be taken in storing ginger oil. Must be stored in a cold and dark place. The shelf life of ginger oil is around 6-8 years.


The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is for educational purposes only, it is not intended to treat, cure, prevent or, diagnose any disease or condition. Nor is it intended to prescribe in any way. This information is for educational purposes only and may not be complete, nor may its data be accurate.

Konstantine, Ramit. Essential Oils: A Complete Guide to Healing With Natural Herbal Remedies, Alternative Therapies, and Using Essential Oils For Beauty, Essential Oils For Stress and Weight Loss
White, Gregory Lee. “Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: How to Use Essential Oils for Beauty, Health, and Spirituality
Julia Lawless. “Encyclopedia of Essential Oils
Konstantine, Ramit. “Essential Oils: A Complete Guide to Healing With Natural Herbal Remedies, Alternative Therapies, and Using Essential Oils For Beauty, Essential Oils For Stress and Weight Loss
KG Stiles. “The Essential Oils Complete Reference Guide
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