Wild morning to you all! it is December and it is cold. Yes, rather freezing. That’s why I decided to dedicate this month’s plant title to…(drumroll): ginger! Yes, the lovely juicy and spicy ginger. Its presence makes a difference and I love it in my drink, on my plate, and on my face! I love the ginger skin and hair benefits and I love the ginger smell on a cold December morning.
Ginger love story
I’ve always loved ginger. There are definitely some weird ways in which people use ginger (coating it in chocolate as a dessert is one of them!) and I’m not the one to usually cook with it, I do use it for everything else. I started (ab)using ginger back in the day for any hint of flu, cold, fever, sore throat coming on. At times I would also grate it on a spoonful of honey and chew on it slowly. At times I make huge brews of ginger tea and then sip on it through the day. The thing with ginger is that it’s useful in every season. On my skin, or on my plate, ginger is always a welcome ingredient.
If we go back to basics, ginger is in Latin called Zingiber officinale. Pretty funny, huh? But the plant has been used all around the world for medicinal purposes in the traditional medicine. Ginger came to the West all the way from Asia. Not only that this tangy root is a hot and fragrant spice for the kitchen, it is one of the most important natural remedies in Ayurveda due to its therapeutic effects and it has been used in other areas due to ginger skin and hair benefits.
Ginger as a source of nutrition
Back in the Ancient Greece, the sailors used ginger to make gingerbread, because they were aware of the fact that ginger is very nutritious and would provide them with all necessary for long sails. This is where it all begins: ginger health benefits as well as ginger skin and hair benefits, all because
- Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antiviral properties
- Essential oils in the root (zingerone, gingerol, farnesene, shogaol…)
It is in these volatile oils where the powerful healing properties of the ginger lie, yet at the same time provide it with its typical smell and taste.
- Rich in antioxidants
- Contains vitamins (vitamin A, niacin)
- Contains minerals (potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron)
Ginger health benefits
Ginger offers a variety of benefits, some quite unexpected:
Relief for respiratory problems
Boosts the mucus removal from the lungs and the respiratory tract. Giger tea has soothing properties on the throat and the nose; it aids with a cough, common cold, flu and other respiratory problems.
Aids with stomach problems or food poisoning
Ginger is a very useful remedy for the digestive tract. It aids in various stomach problems, infections and even offers a mild relief when it comes to food poisoning.
A natural remedy for diarrhea
Used as a natural remedy to treat diarrhea back in the ancient China, ginger in any form (fresh or powder, tea or supplements) should offer a relief from cramps and diarrhea.
Aids in digestion
Ginger is a natural helping hand when it comes to the digestive process; it makes it easier and at the same time improves the absorption of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients of the food we consume. That’s why ginger is a popular aperitif.
Regulates blood sugar levels
By regulating blood sugar levels, ginger makes the process of digestion easier and more smooth. It soothes the stomach.
Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
Supposedly ginger supplements can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and at the same time reduce the risk of blood clots. Ginger boosts the circulation, widens the veins and aids with the problems of the cardiovascular system.
Beneficial for cramps
Ginger offers a relief in the case of menstrual cramps, but it helps with stomach cramps as well. Prepare and drink ginger tea for a DIY treatment.
Helps with flu, common cold or a sore throat
The myth of ginger for flu is not really a myth at all. Ginger has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for illnesses and infections due to its healing properties.
If it’s nausea, ginger can help nausea after operations, because of pregnancy or with travel or motion sickness. It provides a soothing feeling that eliminates the sickness and nausea.
Natural relief to muscle pain
A regular use of ginger root supposedly reduces muscle pain; ginger can be used internally or externally to provide a relief to muscles: drink ginger tea or supplements or, prepare a ginger bath with ginger essential oil or with a few slices of fresh ginger root instead.
Reduces free-radical damage
With its antioxidant properties, ginger helps to reduce free radical damage; it protects the cells of our bodies and therefore prevents any cell mutations that might lead to further infections.
Ginger as a beauty product
The uses of ginger may begin with maintaining a healthy body, but they definitely don’t stop there. Did you know that the Romans used it in their beauty parlors for the positive ginger skin and hair benefits? If they used it then why shouldn’t we?
Ginger skin benefits
Applied topically, there are several ginger skin benefits that might convince you to add ginger to your beauty routine.
The antioxidants in ginger help fight free radicals that damage skin cells. Another thing: ginger boosts blood circulation, which means more nutrients, happier and healthier skin. Altogether they reduce the signs of aging.
Reduces acne and blemishes
Ginger is a natural aid when it comes to acne or blemishes. With its antiseptic properties, ginger will help you keep your skin clean and smooth.
A natural skin toner
It has been said that one of ginger skin benefits is also improving and toning the complexion of the skin. The compound in ginger, called gingerol is the one responsible for the free-radical protection, smoothing the skin and evening out the skin tone.
Ginger hair benefits
If you thought that ginger benefits stop with at skin, you were wrong. Honestly, I had no idea that there are awesome ginger skin and hair benefits; I would just always use it in the kitchen and in my tea. But! Ginger can not only help with pretty and toned skin; if you have dandruff problems, you can use ginger as well. Or, in case you wish to boost your hair growth and you’re all out of castor oil.
Boosts hair growth
Apparently ginger stimulates hair growth by boosting the blood circulation to the scalp. Ginger has been a popular ingredient in hair products, because of its essential oils and antioxidants it contains.
Aids with split ends and dry hair
Ginger can aid and repair dry hair and split ends; I’ve never tried it but if you will, let me know if it really worked. You can apply fresh ginger juice or ginger essential oil (in a form of a hair mask with a carrier oil).
A natural remedy for dandruff
Antiseptic properties of ginger go beyond the traditional ginger tea drink. Because of ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural remedy for dandruff; it soothes the scalp and restores its health. It’s all because of powerful ginger skin and hair benefits.
Ginger as a kitchen ingredient
Last but not least, ginger is probably one of the most popular kitchen ingredients. Ginger powder or freshly chopped ginger root, both are beneficial and both belong in a stew, a smoothie, a tea or even a salad. I have two preferred ways of using fresh ginger:
Ginger and mango are, like, best friends. Mango gives a creamy texture to my smoothies while ginger makes it more refreshing and adds that extra spicy kick in there. Sprinkle your smoothie with chia seeds, some spirulina powder or chopped dried cranberries and you get a perfectly healthy vegan breakfast.
Ginger and cinnamon tea
My all-time favorite: some cinnamon with some lemon and some ginger and the magical brew that soothes my throat and fills my lungs with natural essential oils from ginger is definitely a must at least two times a week. I drink a lot of tea as it is during the winter, and this one is a classic that I make yearly. In case you want more ideas, head over here for homemade tea blends. (PS: they make a perfect gift too!)
What’re your favorite ginger skin and hair benefits?