Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Thing About Ginger...

I think, sometimes, people have a certain idea of how an essential oil should smell. Even if they have never inhaled the pure volatile oil before, they still have it in their heads what the oil should smell like.

Take ginger essential oil (Zingiber officinale), for instance. And I have to admit, the first time I smelled it, I was a bit taken aback. I had it in my head that ginger oil should smell sweetly and not at all medicinal, not even in the slightest way. I was really sure of what ginger should smell like, and it took me a while to understand that real, true ginger oil has an earthy-woody quality to it that has nothing to do with candied ginger from the market. That's a whole different process. Ginger oil smells warmly, and is warming to the touch. It is spicy, but I would not call it sweet.

To get a little sweetness into ginger oil, consider adding some florals or citrus oils. Ginger oil blends well with eucalyptus, frankincense, rose geranium and rosemary, too.

Ginger is a great oil for massage therapy. I really like it mixed with a thin oil and rubbed into shoulders and knees. Between the friction and the warming action of the ginger, the heat feels fantastic.

A word of caution: ginger oil is somewhat photo-toxic, so please stay out of the sun for 24 hours after application.

Thai Ginger Warming Oil


Blend fixed oils in a stainless bowl. Blend essential oils and add to fixed oils. Stir and bottle in "squeeze" type bottles.


4 parts grape seed oil
1 part avocado oil
½ part wheat germ oil
1 part jojoba oil

Essential oils

sandalwood essential oil - 10 drops
ylang ylang essential oil - 5 drops
lemongrass essential oil - 3 drops
Ginger essential oil - 7 drops
Vetiver essential oil - 2 drops
Black pepper essential oil - 1 drop

The scent of this mix is rather earthy-spicy and warm. If you like it sweeter, add more ylang ylang and less sandalwood and only 1 drop of vetiver (or skip the vetiver entirely).

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