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Zingiber officinale

Ginger (Zingiber officinale), a perennial tropical native of Malabar (India) belongs to the Zingiberaceae family.

It is about ninety centimetres tall; its persistent leaves are lanceolate. The plant grows from a fleshy and well developed rhizome divided in nodes, which is used in medicine and cooking. After flowering, a club-like spike containing encapsulated seeds appears at the tip of a short scaled stem. The leaves are very fragrant when crushed.

Main aromatic molecules: Monoterpenes (camphene), monoterpenols (borneol, geraniol, linalool), sesquiterpenes (ar-curcumene, sesquiphellandrene, zingiberene), vanilloids (gingerols)
Family: Zingiberaceae.
Producing organs: Fresh rhizomes.
Yield: 1.5 to 3kg of essential oil per 100kg of rhizomes.
Equivalence: 1ml → 32 drops (dosage calculated for a calibrated dropper European Pharmacopoeia)


Skin application

Oral route

Respiratory route

Described over more than three thousand years, especially in the Vedic texts, ginger has been the major remedy of Indian medicine to treatment digestive disorders since time immemorial. Women consumed it during pregnancy to prevent nausea. It was one of the exotic spices, along with pepper, clove and cinnamon, with potent odour and flavour that the Romans went to find in the East to spice their cooking and preserve their meats. It is thus in a high position in the ”list of essential spices for the home” written in the 1st century A.D. by the famous gourmet Apicius. Dioscorides and Pliny also attribute aphrodisiac properties to ginger. Its root, in the ”Edict of Maximum” from 301 A.D., must be sold 400 denarii a pound, the high price being indicative of its scarcity.


Extracts from the book ’Aromatherapia – All about essential oils’, by Isabelle Pacchioni, watercolors by Patrick MORIN, Aroma Thera Editions . Extracts from the book ’41 essential oils essential for treating yourself differently’ and ’48 essential oils which every home needs to be healthy’ by Isabelle Delaleu and Isabelle Pacchioni, Publications of the Mandadori France group. Botanical illustrations by Agathe Haevermans.

The properties, benefits and method of use are given for information; they cannot in any case constitute or replace medical information that only health professionals can provide. For any use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, please consult your GP or pharmacist.

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