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Zingiber officinale

Ginger has been used for food and medicine for so long that nobody knows exactly where it originally came from. The oldest documented use dates back to China in about 2000BC. In all likelihood it was there that Ginger was first cultivated. It is one of the most ubiquitous spices of Asian cuisine, but is equally valued as a medicine. The English name 'Ginger' seems to have derived from Sanskrit 'shringavera', which means 'antler shaped root'. Ginger is in fact a rhizome rather than a root, which proved very handy as it can be transported in a dormant state, ready to be planted even in our northern climes. However, it is not winter hardy and dies at the slightest hint of frost. Surprisingly, Ginger was much more commonly used in Britain and Europe in the past than it is today. In fact it was almost as common as salt and pepper. Grated Ginger was freely available in pubs to spice the ale. The idea was later marketed as a separate concoction, which became known as ginger ale. Sussex Farmers are said to have rubbed a smidgen of Ginger on their nags backsides to impart a little spunkiness. What is good for horses is good for men - Ginger has a longstanding reputation as an aphrodisiac and is sometime used in the treatment of impotency.

Ginger is very stimulating and warming. It acts as a digestive aid, warms the stomach and dispels wind. It is one of the best oils for nausea, motion or morning sickness. It stimulates appetite and improves digestion. Its warming qualities are also used in the treatment of colds and catarrhs, coughs, respiratory congestion, sinusitis and sore throats. It is diaphoretic and can be useful for treating feverish conditions. Ginger stimulates the circulation and can be added to a base oil to make a warming, rubefacient oil for rheumatism, arthritis, muscle aches sprains and strains. It boosts energy levels and can be used for nervous exhaustion, general weakness, malaise and fatigue.

Ginger 'energises' all magical works and may help focussing on the intent. It is used for courage and concentration. Its aphrodisiac properties make it well suitable for use in sex magic and tantric rituals. Ginger may also be included in love philtres and potions. It sensitises the third eye and can be used as an energy transmitter in spiritual healing.

A pungent, warm, fresh, sweet, spicy scent. Blends well with Vetivert, Patchouli, Frankincense, Ho-wood, Orange, Neroli and Amyris.

Sheng Jiang.

Country of origin