Sometimes referred to as the “natural wonder oil of the earth,” gingergrass oil offers a variety of benefits, from seasoning food to healing the mind, body, and spirit. Gingergrass is in the same family as lemongrass and has a similar grassy, citrus, woodsy scent that blends well with a variety of aromatherapy oils.
In its essential oil form, gingergrass is much more than a tasty herb. This essential oil benefits the body from head to toe by healing skin, reducing joint pain, alleviating congestion, soothing the stomach, improving mood, relaxing muscles, and reducing stress.
Gingergrass may not be the world’s most popular or most-used essential oil, but it’s a hidden gem worth learning about.
The History of Gingergrass
Gingergrass is native to Maharashtra, India, and was first steam distilled to an oil in the 18th century. The gingergrass plant is perennial, dense, and herby with long, slender stems adorned with purple colored flowers reaching up to four feet in height. The plants usually grow in lower altitudes with high levels of rainfall and humidity.
Since ancient times, gingergrass oil has been appreciated for its distinct scent, as well as its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties.1 The oil is also used in candles and soaps because of its scent and mood-boosting properties. Gingergrass is also a well-known treatment for bodily ailments like upset stomachs, congestion, and muscle and joint aches and pains.
Gingergrass is different from the ginger root. In fact, gingergrass is most commonly confused with palmarosa (palm rose oil). Both gingergrass and palmarosa oils are distilled from different varieties of the same plant. While the two are similar, there are certain components in the chemical makeup of gingergrass that allow for its unique healing properties.2
Gingergrass, or Cymbopogon martinii var. sofia, is a tetraploid with four sets of chromosomes. Its main component is the terpene geraniol, which helps give gingergrass its sharp scent and may help ward off insects.
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Many other chemical compounds provide gingergrass with its healing properties. Small amounts of ethers, like elemicin, give the oil anesthetic properties that aid in reducing joint and muscle pain upon topical application. Monoterpenes such as limonene, camphene, and tricyclene help improve mood and stimulate the mind. Monoterpenols and sesquiterpenols, most notably geraniol and borneol, allow gingergrass to nourish the skin and promote a healthy complexion. Finally, sesquiterpenes serve as anti-inflammatories that calm troubled skin and soothe inflamed muscle tissue.
Other components that make up the unique chemical composition in gingergrass include:
Each of these chemical components contributes to the health benefits that gingergrass essential oil provides.
Uses for Gingergrass Essential Oil
Gingergrass essential oil can be an Ayurvedic oil as it treats the individual as a whole instead of focusing on a specific part of the body. The holistic healing that gingergrass provides can be achieved through topical application or aromatic use.
With its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, gingergrass oil is notorious for its skincare benefits. In fact, the herb has been used for centuries in India to make soaps, wrinkle creams, and scar creams.
When mixed with a carrier oil or lotion, gingergrass is effective in the treatment of acne, including blackheads, whiteheads, boils, and painful cystic zits. Putting a couple drops of gingergrass oil in your usual daily moisturizer or skin cream can do the trick. Gingergrass can even be made into a face mask by mixing a few drops with cold-pressed olive oil. Apply to the face, let sit for 30 minutes, and wash with warm water for best results.
Gingergrass is great in clearing up and preventing acne, and it can be a powerful treatment for other skin conditions as well. The antifungal properties in gingergrass make it an effective remedy for conditions like athlete’s foot, ringworm, or common rashes. Mix gingergrass with a carrier oil and a variety of other antifungal oils for an easy, at-home fungal remedy.
Gingergrass also has antiseptic properties and can help fight infection. Use a drop of diluted gingergrass essential oil on cuts, burns, and breaks in the skin to prevent infection.
Gingergrass oil is a natural, yet powerful, insect repellant. In fact, the Malaria Research Center in India found the oil to be potent and effective for up to 12 hours. According to the study, gingergrass oil provided 96.3 percent protection against a species of mosquitoes known to carry malaria and other harmful diseases.3
Using gingergrass essential oil as an insect repellant is easy. Simply mix with a carrier oil and apply to exposed skin, or use the oil in a nearby diffuser. When spending time or traveling outdoors, gingergrass can be mixed with other repellants like citronella for maximum efficacy.
There are two main reasons to use gingergrass instead of store-bought insect repellants. First, you avoid using harmful chemical compounds like Deet that can lead to negative side-effects after prolonged use. Gingergrass is safe for long-term use and is effective for longer stretches of time, meaning fewer applications. Additionally, gingergrass has a much more pleasant scent than commercial insect repellants. The light, grassy, aroma of gingergrass is the perfect compliment to outdoor activities.
Gingergrass has anti-inflammatory properties which make this oil ideal for soothing aching joints and muscles. The oil works when applied topically by increasing circulation and stimulating blood flow to affected areas. Gingergrass promotes relaxation so muscles can rest and heal. Try gingergrass diluted in a carrier oil to treat pain from arthritis, tendonitis, muscle fatigue, joint stiffness, or exhaustion.
In addition to soothing sore muscles, gingergrass can combat the aches and pains of congestion, sinus infections, and the common cold. When used in a diffuser or humidifier, the oil acts as a decongestant to loosen mucus and an expectorant to remove it from the body.
Additionally, the antibacterial nature of gingergrass can speed up recovery time and might prevent future illness.
Improves Emotional Well-Being
Gingergrass essential oil is integral in healing the entire body, which includes the mind. The oil can be used in stress relief aromatherapy to uplift mood. The oil is commonplace in massage therapy and is easily used in the bath or shower by placing a few drops in the bottom of the tub. It can also be used in a diffuser to add positive, happy energy to an entire room.
There are many essential oils that can be used alongside gingergrass to promote a good mood and relaxed spirit. Gingergrass, specifically, boasts both soothing and uplifting properties. This means the oil can calm anxiety while increasing energy and focus. Try incorporating gingergrass into aromatherapy during working hours or use it before bed for restful sleep.
Reduce Muscle Tension
Gingergrass essential oil is an excellent addition to massage therapy. When diluted in massage oil and applied topically, gingergrass can help improve circulation to relieve muscle tension. Ultimately, it can lead to a deeper, more satisfying massage.
One of the most common uses for gingergrass today is in colognes and perfumes. The scent of gingergrass has been described in a number of ways, including earthy, warm, woodsy, sharp, spicy, peppery, lemony, and clean.4
Gingergrass oil mixes well with a variety of other scents, including rosewood, bergamot, lemon, lemongrass, lavender, sandalwood, cedarwood, and other essential oils. Combining gingergrass with can provide a range of mental health benefits including mood elevation, restful sleep, relaxation, and focus.
Safety and Precautions
While mostly mild and safe to use by healthy adults, there are a few things you should be aware of before incorporating gingergrass into your normal routine.
Gingergrass oil, unlike ginger root or the gingergrass herb, should not be consumed in oil form. The essential oil is highly concentrated and may lead to an upset stomach if consumed in large quantities.
Gingergrass may cause skin irritation for some when applied topically. Always test a new essential oil on a small patch of skin to ensure you do not have any allergic reactions. Additionally, the essential oils should also always with a carrier oil to reduce the risk of irritation.
Gingergrass can be slightly phototoxic, so avoid long exposure to direct sunlight if using the oil topically.
Consult with a doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult with a doctor before using gingergrass essential oil.
Gingergrass essential oil has been used to promote holistic healing for centuries and has many modern-day uses. The oil benefits the body by treating skin conditions, repelling insects, and alleviating pain. Gingergrass also benefits the mind and spirit by elevating mood and promoting positivity.
As an Ayurvedic essential oil, gingergrass aims to treat the entire body as opposed to a single issue. It mixes well with a variety of other essential oils and can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. Use gingergrass alongside any one of our personal and portable essential oil diffusers in your journey towards a happier and healthier life.