Ginger is a spice with a rich history in folk medicine and cuisine. Its unique taste, energizing smell, and the impressive array of health benefits have made it a popular herb worldwide.
For more than 5,000 years, ginger has been used in both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine.1 It is believed that its wide use in Asian cuisine is a result of its taste, as well as its ability to promote digestion. However, ginger is known to bring many more health benefits than just improved digestion.
The root of this flowering perennial plant is packed full of benefits because of its natural compounds that provide powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Additionally, ginger may help improve memory and learning, reduce inflammatory pain, maintain hormonal balance, and reduce feelings of fatigue.
When it comes to the best form of ginger to use, many will recommend ginger essential oil because it’s the richest source of the bioactive compound found in ginger: 6-gingerol.2 Ginger essential oil can be taken orally, used topically, or enjoyed via aromatherapy.
When used in aromatherapy, ginger’s warm scent is believed to offer a boost in energy, courage, and confidence.
Nootropic Benefits of Ginger Essential Oil
Some refer to ginger as a nootropic because of its ability to protect the brain from damage, improve memory and focus, and fight lethargy. Highlighted below are the top three nootropic uses of ginger essential oil.
Chronic inflammation is involved in the pathogenesis of many of the chronic disease states and health issues that millions battle daily. When people are exposed to unhealthy diets, stress, alcohol, drugs, pollution, and more, an inflammatory response is initiated in the body’s attempt to heal itself.3
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However, if this inflammation stays around for too long, it ends up causing damage to the cells in the body. Researchers have found that higher levels of peripheral inflammation are associated with a reduction in learning, memory, executive function, and spatial reasoning as seen in volunteers aged 30 to 54.4
Over time, this damage can lead to more serious diseases and accelerate the aging process. Even age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases are thought to be partially linked to damage caused by chronic inflammation.
Because people cannot avoid everything that causes an inflammatory response in the body, it’s important to fight inflammation. Plants are one of the primary tools in the inflammation-fighting arsenal with ginger being one of the most promising an anti-inflammatory agents.
The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger have been extensively studied in both humans and animals. A meta-analysis of human studies examining the effects of ginger supplementation on one biomarker of inflammation, C-reactive protein, concluded that ginger significantly reduces inflammation as measured by decreased concentrations of this protein.5
As ginger essential oil is the richest source of the primary active component of the ginger root, 6-gingerol, using it orally may help decrease inflammation, leading to improvements in overall mental and physical health.
Improves Memory and Focus
Most people could use a small (or large) boost in focus and memory from time-to-time. This need increases with the more responsibilities and tasks that people have on their plates. Nootropics can be an option to help enhance brain function.
In one study, healthy adult women were given either 400 mg ginger extract, 80 mg ginger extract, or placebo daily for two months. Before, during, and after this period, multiple aspects of memory and cognitive function were measured.
Supports Adrenal Health
When people experience stress, either mental or physical, the body initiates a stress response via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis that results in the release of stress hormones (primarily cortisol).7
When people are stressed for long periods of time and the adrenal glands are continuously queued to release stress hormones, it can disrupt the normal release of cortisol.
In a study on military cadets who underwent five days of stressful training, it was found that their normal circadian release of stress hormones was still irregular following four to five days of rest.8 This irregular cortisol secretion was linked to performance deterioration and fatigue.
While the term “adrenal fatigue” itself is debated, a chronically elevated stress response or dysfunctional HPA axis can lead to fatigue and mood troubles.
Ginger may be able to help reduce the damage that is caused by chronic stress through its adaptogenic properties. Supplementing with ginger will help adapt to stress responses by balancing stress hormones, which may help reduce symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
With a range of health benefits that go far beyond simply boosting digestive health, ginger essential oil can bring a range of nootropic benefits when added to your daily routine. Try using ginger essential oil topically or in a personal diffuser like Forest or Vibrant MONQ for optimal effects.
Photo credits: MadeleineSteinbach/shutterstock.com, DmytroZinkevych/shutterstock.com, FlamingoImages/shutterstock.com, AmyLv/shutterstock.com