Ginger is a well-known ingredient in cooking for the unique flavor it brings to dishes. Its use also extends to therapeutic and cosmetic fields due to its numerous benefits for the skin and hair. Can it also be considered an anti-inflammatory? Let's discover this together.
Is Ginger an Effective Natural Anti-Inflammatory?
Natural anti-inflammatory properties of ginger?
Ginger is a root that originates from Asia, specifically India and China. It has been used for millennia in cooking, medicine, and in the field of facial and body care. Ginger has a spicy scent and a unique warming taste. It is attributed with several benefits due to its unique specific composition, particularly its anti-inflammatory properties.
Among the active ingredients found in ginger that are responsible for its anti-inflammatory activity, we can mention gingerol, shogaol, and citral. These molecules act at different levels within the cells of the epidermis to reduce inflammation and soothe the skin and scalp. Gingerol, in particular, is capable of inhibiting the activity of several pro-inflammatory cytokines, as well as the COX (cyclooxygenase) enzyme, which is responsible for the production of prostaglandins, chemical mediators of inflammation.
Shogaol, which has a chemical structure similar to gingerol, operates through a slightly different mechanism. To reduce inflammation, it inhibits the activation of the NF-κB protein by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which results inpreventing the induction of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), an enzyme involved in the processes of inflammation.
Finally, the actions of gingerol and shogaol are complemented by that of geranial, one of the two isomers of citral. Studies have shown that this active ingredient reduces the activity of the NLRP3 inflammasome complex, triggering a pathway of inflammatory signaling and the synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin-1β and interleukin-4).
How to use ginger to combat inflammation?
When the skin is assaulted, a complex defense mechanism is activated: the inflammatory response. Various chemical mediators are then mobilized, among which histamine, secreted by mast cells to increase vasodilation and the permeability of blood vessels, and cytokines, which play a significant role in communication between immune cells.
It is easy to recognize inflammation when it occurs on the outer surface of the skin. It is characterized by the appearance of redness and a slight increase in temperature in the affected area. Inflammation can be accompanied by irritation and itching, which is uncomfortable for the person affected.
Ginger can help soothe the skin and calm inflammation, whether it's from a minor burn or caused by acne, eczema, or psoriasis. In the case of acne, for example, applying a cream enriched with ginger can reduce inflammation of the sebaceous glands , which are exacerbated by the bacterium Cutibacterium acnes . Ginger also alleviates the redness and itching characteristic of atopic dermatitis and decreases sensitivity to pain .
How to use ginger?
In topical treatment, it is possible to use ginger extract:
In a warm compress: by mixing a few drops with water, then soaking a cloth in the mixture and applying it to the inflamed area for 10 to 15 minutes.
As a massage oil: by mixing a few drops with calendula oil or sweet almond oil, and gently massaging the targeted area.
Please note : if you are using ginger essential oil, the recommended dilution in a vegetable oil is 1 to 2%, as a higher concentration may irritate the skin.
KORLAKUNTA J. N. & al. Comparative antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of -gingerol, -gingerol, -gingerol and -shogaol. Journal of ethnopharmarcology
PAZYAR N. Effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale) on skin conditions: A non quantitative review article. Journal of the Turkish Academy of Dermatology (2013).
KRASTANOV A. & al. Composition and comprehensive antioxidant activity of ginger (Zingiber officinale) essential oil from Ecuador. Natural Product Communication (2015).
FANG J. & al. Activation of Nrf2 target enzymes conferring protection against oxidative stress in PC12 cells by ginger principal constituent 6-shogaol. Food and Function (2015).