If you’re into natural beauty and health at all, you know all about the myriad benefits of ginger. But why settle for squeezing this awesome little rhizome into cold-pressed juices when there are so, so many other ways you can enjoy it?
Here’s a little roundup of the many ways to use ginger for everything from head to toe (and all the parts in between)!
Sip on some ginger tea
Ah, lovely ginger tea. There’s no wonder why it’s one of the most popular ways to use ginger. It soothes indigestion. It relieves menstrual cramps. Its been shown to actually kill cancer cells. Its zingy spice battles sore throats and clears up congestion. As such, it is my first line of defense against any sign of a cold and also when I’m just in the mood for something deliciously zingy.
It’s super easy to do and you can boil longer if you love the taste of ginger. I let mine stew for around 20 minutes.
Oh, and did we mention that ginger tea has been implicated in weight loss?
Soak yourself in ginger
For a seriously relaxing, reinvigorating bath time, grate up some ginger zest and soak it in a bathtub – you can use a nut milk bag to hold the zest or even a regular old tea infuser. Around 8 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger ought to do the trick for a full bathtub.
If you’re using ginger powder, just 2 teaspoons will do.
Whichever form you use, this may be the most energizing bath time you’ve ever experienced – ginger baths are often compared to saunas since they’re a powerful, DIY way of deep detoxing and increasing blood circulation. You’ll be surprised by just how much sweat you can eliminate simply by soaking in a warm ginger bath!
Ginger body scrub
Want to really get your blood flowing? By far, one of the most brilliant ways to use ginger is to make a body scrub out of it. And why not, right? While you’re bathing in it, you might as well scrub yourself down with some ginger 🙂
This particular sugar scrub recipe is simple and smells heavenly. To make, you’ll need…
white sugar (or salt or sand)
grated ginger (lots of it!)
cinnamon (just a tad)
olive oil (or coconut or jojoba or avocado – you get the drift)
honey (whichever kind your heart desires)
Ginger foot soak
Flip-flops were my go-to footwear this summer and as comfy as they were, they’ve left me with a hard and crusty ridge of callous skin around my heels (I know, TMI).
Well, thank goodness for ginger – it makes for a very tingly, warming foot soak to help aid those callouses to peel right off.
Ginger poultice for even skin tone
I honestly don’t know if ginger works for long-term or genetic hypopigmentation but I do know that I developed a smattering of pale white, hypopigmented skin on one hand after several months of living on a beach last year. These little white spots just sort of popped up one day and I freaked out thinking it was skin cancer. Turns out it’s something called vitiligo, which is non-cancerous but still something that I really wanted to get rid of.
Here’s what I did: I grated fresh, peeled ginger. I applied it on the spotty patch on my hand and then covered it with a band-aid big enough to hold the ginger in place.
And I just left it on like that, for an hour or two a day. You can do this with a slice of ginger as well, but it’s pretty annoying to keep the slice in place and I preferred to grate it to release the juices. The band-aid, of course, kept the “poultice” in place and allowed me to get on with my day.
In around a month, the spots vanished. I honestly don’t know if it was the ginger or just the passing of time. I just know that the spots are gone and if they ever reappear, the first thing I’d be reaching for is a handful of fresh ginger.
Herb-y Ginger toner
Gingerol and shogaol, both components found in ginger, have been shown to have anti-tumor properties that suppress carcinogenesis in the skin. As such, a little bit of ginger in your daily toner can go a mighty long way in maintaining skin health and vitality.
Shogaol is only present in dried or cooked ginger so we’ll be using either dried ginger powder or cooked ginger for this toner along with a few of my favorite skin-care herbs.
What you’ll need:
Ginger powder or slices of fresh ginger
Fresh or dried mint leaves
Fresh or dried basil leaves
Ginger, Cinnamon & Persimmon Tea (Soo Jung Gwa)
One of my absolute, all-time favorite ways to use ginger is to battle oncoming colds and fight sore throats. I shared a super simple ginger tea recipe above, but here’s another I adore. This tea is adapted from a popular Korean drink called soo jung gwa. It’s slightly spicy, zingy, and incredibly refreshing. I love it ice cold, but will drink it fiery hot whenever I feel a sore throat coming on.
Update 9/5/18: I started brewing pots of this stuff this week after my sis took off to college and left her cold symptoms behind with me. My throat felt like it was on fire and I drank almost a dozen cups of this stuff in 2 days. It was strong. But before the second day was over, my throat was no longer sore. I still have runny nose and foggy head, but least my throat is in the clear.
Here’s what you need to make it:
1/2 cup of dried cinnamon bark or cinnamon sticks (eyeball it)
1/2 cup of sliced, fresh ginger
2 – 3 dried persimmons (with the pretty flower-shaped stems removed)
around 10 cups of water
optional: pine nuts (garnish)
Note: If you have a cold and/or sore throat coming on and you just can’t go out of your way to find dried persimmons – skip them. The tea is just as effective for soothing sore throat without them, albeit not quite as yummy.
Here’s how you make it:
Simply toss the cinnamon and ginger into a big pot of water, bring to a strong boil, and then softly boil (or strongly simmer) for half an hour.
If you don’t have dried persimmons, drink the concoction like this, with some honey stirred in. I swear, it works wonders for sore throats.
If you’ve got the persimmons and want the full taste, strain the liquid into a glass jar (I keep the cinnamon bark and add in a little extra fresh ginger and repeat the process again for more tea), add the stem-less dried persimmons to the hot liquid, screw the lid on, and then pop it in the fridge for a few hours (I prefer overnight).
Add honey to taste and sip cold or boil again to enjoy hot. Oh, the big perk of going the dried persimmon route is you get to eat the hell out of those deliciously spicy-sweet persimmons 🙂
Haven’t had your share of ginger yet? Here’s a smattering of other awesome things you can do with the spicy rhizome, culled from a bevy of smart and savvy ginger fans:
One last ginger tip:
For organic ginger – as well as a lot of other organic produce – I like to leave just a bit of the peel on. To do this, I use a metal scrubber (like the ones you scrub pots and pans with) rather than a peeler to gently take the peel off.