By Dr. Kaycee Reyes
Nature is, indeed, a healer. Aside from nourishing our bodies with food, it also harnesses healing powers like magic. As with other plants, fruits, stems, and roots, ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been used across cultures and generations for thousands of years, primarily as a medicinal herb for a lot of ailments: It is used to treat an upset stomach, improve digestion and nutrient absorption, act as an antihistamine that prevent colds, ease migraines, and encourage blood circulation. More recently, studies have shown anti-cancer potential due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Ginger originated in Southeast Asia, but has also been reported to be popularly grown in other countries and used in other cultures, from the Indians, the Romans, to the Arabs and the Chinese. In the Philippines, we call ginger agat, baseng, laiya, and more commonly, luya.
Ginger, a rhizome (an underground stem), has an uneven, irregular shape with brownish outer skin and yellowish insides. It also has a strong and sharp odor. A versatile spice, it can be used on its own, or crushed, grated, pickled, and mixed with other ingredients. Aside from the general health benefits it provides when ingested, it also promotes healthier hair and skin.
1. Add ginger to your next antiaging treatment. Packed with antioxidants, ginger is an excellent wrinkle smoother as it fights against free radicals that cause inflammation and premature aging. It also helps even out skin tone, giving your skin a radiant glow.
2. Anything that offers anti-acne benefits is good, and ginger is one of those. Ginger is a natural antiseptic, making it a great way to treat bacteria-causing acne, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation! And since it is natural, it also won’t hurt sensitive skin.
3. Too much fun in the sun? Soothe burns with slices of ginger that promotes skin healing also due to its antiseptic properties.
4. Stop hair loss and encourage hair growth with ginger. When applied directly, it increases blood circulation to the scalp, making roots stronger and shinier naturally. It even repairs split ends and brittle hair.
5. Ginger’s antiseptic properties make it an effective anti-dandruff treatment as well.
Because ginger is an all-around spice, it is easy to incorporate ginger to your skin and hair care routine! For the face, mix a DIY mask combining ginger, honey, and lemon juice. Apply on clean face, leave for 30 minutes, and rinse. To use ginger on the hair, add ginger oil to your favorite shampoo or simply make a hair mask by combining powdered ginger with oil. Massage on scalp for half an hour, rinse, and shampoo as usual.
Whoa, ginger! Who knew this spice is something else? Aside from adding ginger to your diet, try ginger-based products or DIY and see if they work for you. But before you add this super spice to your regimen, it is always best to consult a dermatologist and test a small portion on your skin for possible irritation, even if it is rare. If no irritation occurs, ginger away! Never take nature for granted, as they say, because the cure may most likely be found there.