Ginger is a flowering plant that grows in China, India, Africa, and tropical areas like the Caribbean. Ginger has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal qualities and to add flavor when cooking. Centuries ago, people discovered ginger's ability to help with nausea and pain. More recently, it has gained popularity for helping with hair growth. Read on to learn if you can use ginger for hair growth.
Ginger comes from the flowering plant, Zingiber officinale, which grows in Africa, India, Asia, and the Caribbean.
Studies have not proven that ginger helps hair growth.
Ginger may help regrow hair if it is lost due to scalp inflammation, such as in cases of seborrheic dermatitis or alopecia areata.
Many apply different formulations of ginger topically or ingest it orally.
Ginger may cause side effects and may not be suitable for use by everyone, so check with your doctor before starting it.
What is ginger?
Ginger comes from the Zingiber officinale plant. It has culinary and medicinal qualities. It can add zing to food in powder form or as slices. Many consume it in the form of tea or candy. If you want to reap its medicinal benefits as an anti-nausea or pain-relieving remedy, you can ingest it or take it as a supplement. Many puree it to create a paste or combine it with carrier oils for topical use.
Benefits of ginger for scalp and hair
Ginger contains compounds that can help the skin on the scalp, but most are anecdotal. A better, healthier scalp is less likely to lead to premature hair loss. However, more studies are needed to confirm ginger's benefits.
Here are some properties that may encourage hair growth in certain situations:
- Antioxidant. Ginger contains antioxidant compounds that scavenge up free radicals emitted from the sun that damage the skin and may contribute to hair loss.
- Anti-inflammatory. Ginger has potent anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritated, inflamed scalp skin, such as in cases of dandruff. Inflammation of the scalp can lead to hair loss.
- Increase circulation. Increasing circulation to the scalp brings in more nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, to nourish the skin and promote hair growth.
- Reduce brittleness and increase hair strength. Since ginger contains fatty acids, it may help moisturize hair to reduce brittleness and make it stronger.
- Inhibit 5-alpha reductase. This is an enzyme responsible for patterned baldness. Ginger has compounds that may inhibit this enzyme and prevent hair loss.
- Help with breakouts. Since ginger has antimicrobial properties, it may help with acne breakouts on the scalp. Acne could lead to hair loss.
Is ginger good for hair growth?
Just because ginger can improve the skin on the scalp, that does not mean it grows hair. It may improve the skin quality to prevent abnormal hair loss due to certain conditions, like the inflammation caused by dandruff or alopecia areata. However, there is no evidence that supports or promotes the use of ginger for hair growth. In fact, one study demonstrated that it inhibited hair growth and suggested it may help with hair removal.
How to use ginger
If you have certain scalp conditions associated with hair loss that are amenable to treatment with ginger, topical application may be more beneficial than supplements. There are no studies supporting the use of one over the other or what the exact dose should be. Topical treatments may have greater efficacy because they work locally in the affected area where it is needed most. Oral supplements must travel through the bloodstream to get to the area needing help.
Types of topical ginger hair products
Many different types of commercially available hair products contain ginger. These products take out the guesswork and work of making your own homemade products. They include shampoos, conditioners, leave-in treatments, serums, scrubs, ointments, hair butter, gels, and oils.
Homemade ginger treatments for hair
There are several treatments you can make at home to help your hair and scalp. They are made from fresh ginger. You can use them as a mask that you leave on for 30–60 minutes, then wash off. You can repeat these masks 2–3 times a week for best results.
These treatments include:
- Pureed ginger root
- Ginger oil mixed with a carrier oil, like argan, coconut, or almond
- Ginger juice
- Ginger paste
Side effects of ginger
The side effects of ginger depend on whether you are applying it topically or ingesting it. If you apply it to the skin, you must try a test spot first, especially if you have sensitive skin. Possible side effects of topical ginger include redness, hives, itching, burning, and irritation. Before ingesting ginger, check with your doctor first to ensure it is safe for you. Side effects of ingesting ginger include cramps, diarrhea, heartburn, and stomach upset.
Who should not use ginger?
Ginger is generally well-tolerated but may not be best for everyone. Some people are allergic to it. Also, some patients with sensitive skin may not be able to tolerate using it. Before starting a regimen, talk to your doctor first. It may not be safe for you if you take certain medications or suffer from certain medical conditions. Patients with a bleeding disorder or who take blood thinners, diabetes, or blood pressure medicine should avoid taking ginger.
While ginger contains many great properties that may help certain conditions, studies have not proven it can help hair grow. If you have hair loss due to certain problems, such as scalp inflammation, it may help hair grow back. If you are interested in trying ginger, talk to your doctor first to ensure it is the right treatment for you and will benefit your particular case.
- PLOS One. 6-Gingerol inhibits hair shaft growth in cultured human hair follicles and modulates hair growth in mice.
- Anais da Academia Brasiliera Ciencias. 6-Gingerol inhibits the hair cycle via induction of MMP2 and MMP9 expression.
- Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice. Ginger (Zingiber officinale (L.) Rosc) improves oxidative stress and trace elements status in patients with alopecia areata.