Don’t walk past the fresh ginger next time you’re out buying your fruit and veg. This unassuming root is a nugget of glory, crammed with antiseptic properties and antioxidants. Forget your expensive lotions and potions – ginger packs a serious beauty punch for your pennies.
Ginger is part of the same plant family as turmeric and cardamom. It originated in Southeast Asia, but has been prevalent in Europe for thousands of years since the Romans imported it from India. Today, India produces nearly a third of the world’s ginger, with China, Nepal, and Indonesia also being large exporters of the plant.
Is your skin looking blotchy and blah after winter? A natural mask made from organic powdered ginger and raw honey will restore your skin’s radiance. Simply mix to a paste, apply directly to your face (avoiding your eyes) and wash off after five minutes. Its antioxidant properties will help remove toxins, increase circulation, and generally make your skin look amazing. It’s best to try a patch test first, to make sure it is suitable for your skin.
You don’t have to have red hair for it to benefit from the ginger treatment. Fresh ginger contains minerals and vitamins including phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium, which all strengthen hair. Ginger is a common ingredient in Ayurveda treatment in India to promote hair growth. Grate a thumb sized piece of raw ginger and mix with a tablespoon of olive oil before rubbing it into your scalp. Leave for half an hour then wash with shampoo, but don’t condition. It is also an effective anti-dandruff treatment.
Another use of ginger is to improve sluggish circulation, which is why your skin may feel warm and tingly when it is applied.
If you’re feeling run down and tired, as if you’re about to come down with a cold, try this footbath. Mix a thumb sized piece of fresh grated ginger with two tablespoons of mustard powder in your bath, add enough warm water to cover your feet, then sit with your feet in the water for twenty minutes to half an hour. You could also do this in a smaller tub, just reduce the ingredients accordingly.
As well as having beauty benefits, ginger has numerous health properties. As far back as Ancient Greece, people have been using ginger as a digestion aid, either by using it in cooking or by eating it in small quantities after a meal. It is also useful for relieving heartburn and nausea, which is why ginger biscuits are so popular with pregnant women.
As if all of the above reasons weren’t enough, it has been shown that ginger even helps to prevent fatty deposits in the arteries, reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack. With so much to recommend it, why wouldn’t you want more ginger in your life?