By Nellie Palmer

Ginger is incredibly versatile. It has long been used in Chinese medicine to treat a whole range of ailments and conditions. In some Eastern cultures, particularly in Japan, slices of ginger are eaten between dinner courses in order to clear the palate. In Western culture, ginger is often used to prevent travel sickness and morning sickness during pregnancy. It is also sometimes used to treat colic, flatulence, and other stomach and intestinal disorders. In cooking, fresh root ginger, dried ginger, or ground ginger can be used to add a spicy tang to sweet or savory dishes. The oil from ginger is also sometimes distilled so it can be used in perfumes. Here are five health and beauty benefits of ginger:

1. Ginger can stimulate hair growth by improving blood circulation. Finely grate a small piece of fresh ginger and then extract the juice by passing it through a fine sieve or piece of cheesecloth. Mix the ginger juice with a little avocado oil and massage into your scalp. Leave for 30 minutes before washing out.

2. Ginger may provide relief from migraine headaches and the accompanying symptoms. Research has been conducted into the affect of ginger on migraines and the results have been encouraging. Ginger is thought to help by stopping prostaglandins from causing the dilation of blood vessels, which is a common cause of migraines.

3. Including fresh ginger as a regular part of your diet could help to alleviate the pain of arthritis. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory and has been successful in helping to relieve the pain and inflammation of arthritis in some people. The effect is cumulative, so you need to eat the spice regularly to feel the full benefits.

4. Ginger can boost your immune system and help to fight off colds and infections. For an immune-boosting drink, infuse some slices of fresh ginger in a cup of boiling water, and add a squeeze of lemon and a spoonful of honey for additional benefits. The drink can also help to clear your sinuses and settle your stomach.

5. Ginger can help to clear spots and treat acne. Finely grate a piece of ginger and extract the juice using a sieve. Dab the juice directly onto spots, pimples and areas that are prone to acne. Leave it for thirty minutes before rinsing off with cold water. 

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