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Ginger essential oil: history, properties and uses

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is an herbaceous plant whose usage is indispensable in Asian cuisine and in the crafting of various pastry recipes.

Though much of its current fame stems from its diverse culinary uses, ginger’s applications extend far beyond, increasingly valued in sectors such as perfumery and ambiance, thanks to the olfactive properties offered by its essential oil.

Originating from southern China and India, ginger cultivation has expanded over time to a multitude of countries, including the Netherlands, Peru, and Nigeria.

In its natural habitat, ginger can reach heights of up to 2 meters, thriving mostly in semi-shaded areas with warm temperatures and light rainfall.

The most prized part of this plant is its underground stem or rhizome, from which its essential oil can be extracted through various methods, with one of the most common being steam distillation.

The scent of ginger essential oil is fresh, featuring spicy nuances that blend harmoniously with citrus and floral fragrances.



The rhizome of ginger has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. It’s interesting to note how contemporary medical research seems to corroborate that ginger indeed possesses many of the beneficial properties attributed to it in the past[1][2]. Ginger also stands as one of the earliest spices imported from Asia, finding use among the ancient Greeks and Romans.

In medieval Europe, ginger was primarily employed as a culinary ingredient, giving rise to delights such as gingerbread cookies.

For several centuries, this spice, like many others from the East, would maintain an exorbitant price. In 14th century England, a pound of ginger could cost as much as a sheep.



Today, ginger essential oil finds use in a wide array of industries, including pharmacy, perfumery, cosmetics, ambiance and food.

Medicinally, ginger essential oil is known for its antiemetic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, among others.

Its essential oil is also utilized to breathe life into exotic and distinctive scents, boasting fresh olfactive notes that blend seamlessly with citruses like yuzu or bergamot.

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