Zingiber cassumunar, now thought to be a synonym of Zingiber montanum, is a species of plant in the ginger family and is also a relative of galangal. Plai essential oil has long been in the "toolkit" of Thai massage therapists, and is highly regarded for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, rejuvenative and relaxing therapeutic properties. Although from the same family as Ginger, its properties are considered more potent. It also has very high levels of Terpinine-4ol, the constituent in Tea Tree considered to give the oil most of its antimicrobial properties - which makes this an exceptional, all-around healing oil!
Plai essential oil's foremost use is for the relief of pain and inflammation in a great number of conditions involving the joints and muscles. Plai seems to be beneficial whether the pain is from an injury, arthritis, rheumatism, or other source. The oil has been tested eve for post-operative pain and inflammation, significantly reducing both pain and visible inflammation.
For muscle, tendon and joint pain and inflammation, Plai has been most often used in a 10% dilution (this is 3ml — 90 drops — essential oil per ounce of carrier). It may also be used 'neat' in spot locations where the pain or inflammation is considered near the surface of the skin.
For analgesic and anti-inflammatory applications, Plai may be blended with other essential oils for a synergistic effect. Other oils to consider are: Helichrysum, Ginger, Marjoram, Nutmeg and Black Pepper (all of which have known anti-inflammatory and potentially analgesic action), or soothing oils such as Lavender, Neroli, or even Bergamot. Plai, blended with Nutmeg and Lemon, was evaluated for relief of post-operative pain for knee surgery. Amazingly, it was noted that the normal course of pain-relieving drugs was not needed, as the essential oil formula was so effective! Plai essential oil has also been noted for its anti-histaminic action, with its cooling, anti-inflammatory action.