Ginger root has been used by cultures across the globe for thousands of years in everything from cooking, medicine, and even as an aphrodisiac. As it turns out, it’s also one of nature’s best beauty gifts.
Ginger reduces inflammation
WAVEBREAKMEDIA/SHUTTERSTOCKYou know that pesky swelling, puffiness, and redness you sometimes experience on your skin—even on your face? Whether it’s caused by your diet or behaviors, such as drinking or smoking, it’s not a pretty picture—inside and out. In fact, high inflammation is the root cause of most diseases. “Inflammation is actually one of your body’s own self-preservation functions, but too much, of course, can cause problems with all areas of the body,” explains Jennifer Van Horn, MS, nutritional consultant for Fruitive. Ginger can help. “Ginger is a miraculous natural medicine because it is anti-inflammatory, antiviral and even antibacterial,” Horn adds. “It’s always in my kitchen, my secret weapon to have on hand especially during the cold and flu season.”
Ginger can burn fat
ALEXEILOGVINOVICH/SHUTTERSTOCKYes, you read that right! Ginger is a metabolism booster, which means it helps your body burn calories. It also helps promote feelings of satiety, or fullness, according to several studies, including one conducted by the Institute for Human Nutrition at Columbia University. In this study, researchers analyzed two groups of obese men—giving one group a hot beverage containing dissolved ginger powder and the other group a hot drink without ginger. The men who consumed the ginger drink felt significantly more full throughout the rest of the day than the other group. Pretty cool, right? To curb your appetite, Horn recommends infusing a few fresh ginger slices into your water before your biggest meal of the day.
Ginger promotes hair growthPUHHHA/SHUTTERSTOCK
Dealing with thinning hair—or pesky patches of baldness? Make ginger your go-to. “Ginger is excellent in aiding the hair growth process,” says Shadoh Punnapuzha, founder of all-natural, Ayurvedic-inspired skincare line Arya Essentials. “It stimulates scalp follicles, nourishes strands and combats hair loss.” On a weekly basis, she recommends trying this hair treatment to enjoy healthy hair: Take a tablespoon of fresh ginger and squeeze out the juice into half a cup of virgin coconut oil. Mix well and apply to dry hair. Leave on for about 20 to 30 minutes and wash out.
Ginger improves the skin’s texture—and fights signs of aging
GOODLUZ/SHUTTERSTOCK“Ginger has been revered as an anti-aging ingredient in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years,” says Punnapuzha. “The antioxidants present in ginger increases collagen production, reduce skin damage, and inflammation.” Ginger has also been known to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation (dark blotches of skin). Medina Tshibemba, facialist at Bare Alchemy, recommends rubbing a small slice of fresh ginger on hypopigmented scars about two to three times a day. “For optimum results, repeat this process for at least six weeks,” she adds.
Ginger helps fight acne
CHOMBOSAN/SHUTTERSTOCKBattling breakouts left and right with no sign of clear skin in sight? Put the store-bought products on pause and let old ginger work its magic. Hey, our ancestors have been using the stuff for thousands of years, right? And experts agree, it works! “The antiseptic and anti-oxidant ingredients in ginger respectively help fight against the bacteria and free radicals that cause acne,” says Tshibemba. “It also helps promote skin renewal, improve blood circulation and reduces blemishes.” She recommends adding some ginger juice (grate fresh ginger and squeeze out the juice) to your favorite mask for acne treatment. Here are other natural acne-fighting supplements that may clear up your pimples once and for all.
Ginger eliminates dandruff
CRM/SHUTTERSTOCKFlaky, itchy, dry skin on your scalp is frustrating to deal with—and finding a fix isn’t always easy. But instead of testing out every dandruff-fighting product at your local drugstore, give all-natural ginger a try. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, ginger works hard to effectively battle the flakes. Tshibemba recommends mixing 3 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger with 4 tablespoons of jojoba oil and massaging the mixture deep into your scalp. “This treatment is ideal to use overnight. Just wear a plastic cap secured with a comfortable head wrap and rinse out with shampoo in the a.m.” Find out more natural treatments to fight your flakes.
Ginger helps fight off environmental toxins
ESTRADA ANTON/SHUTTERSTOCKFree radicals are all around us—in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, etc. It’s inevitable that we’re going to be exposed to these molecules no matter our environment. While some amount of free radicals in the body is totally normal (our body even produces the stuff in the processes of digestion, cell reaction, etc.), the goal is to limit external free radicals, as they cause excess stress on the body and harm and age the body—both internally and externally—over time, notes Punnapuzha. What helps counteract the impact of free radicals the most are antioxidants. “Ginger happens to be unusually high in antioxidants, so it can help prevent and repair the damage to your body’s tissues caused by free radicals,” says Punnapuzha. A great way to up your intake aside from eating the stuff straight (which can be spicy!) is by taking supplements.
Ginger reduces cellulite
DIMID_86/SHUTTERSTOCKNo one likes cellulite—but we pretty much all have it. Instead of splurging on expensive creams and scrubs that promise to tighten and firm your derriere, give ginger a go. “Ginger increases circulation and cell regeneration which in turn helps fight cellulite,” explains Punnapuzha. You can make your own DIY ginger scrub and apply it directly to your skin in the shower! For an invigorating, whole-body detox scrub, Tshibemba suggests combining 1 cup of organic sugar, ½ cup of olive oil, 4 tablespoons of grated ginger and squeezed juice from ½ of a lemon. “Rub this mixture onto your skin using circular motions while focusing on the most problematic areas and rinse with cold water.” Find out all the things dermatologists wish women knew about cellulite.
Ginger can heal and repair cuts and wounds
BAIMIENG/SHUTTERSTOCKYep—just as ginger can help with hyperpigmentation and spots on your skin, it can also help with scars and wounds. “Armed with strong antiseptic properties, ginger is a great agent for helping heal cuts and abrasions,” says Punnapuzha. “It is known to aid in keeping away infections while encouraging cell regeneration.” She suggests either making ginger a part of your daily diet or, if you’re not into the taste, simply pat a wound with a piece of fresh ginger to quicken the healing process. Just make sure to never ignore these signs of an infected cut.
Ginger boosts your brainpower
FILE404/SHUTTERSTOCKOk—this might not have to do with your physical beauty, but we like to think they go hand in hand! Ginger is a certified brain-booster, inhibiting an inflammatory response in the brain that can help increase your brain function. “Recent studies have found ginger to help with memory loss and dementia, and improve other cognitive functions,” says Van Horn. “Oxidative stress, along with chronic inflammation accelerates our aging process.” She suggests adding some fresh ginger to your morning smoothie for a quick pick-me-up.