Ginger is an ingredient well-known and favoured by chefs for its unique aroma and spicy taste. Beyond its culinary qualities, ginger also has benefits for the skin and hair and can be used in cosmetics. Among the virtues attributed to it, is a stimulating effect on blood circulation. But what is the reality of this? Continue reading to find out.
Using ginger to improve blood circulation?
- A closer look at blood circulation
- Oral intake of ginger to enhance blood circulation
- Can topical application of ginger improve blood circulation?
A closer look at blood circulation.
Blood circulation plays a key role in the functioning of the body and in overall well-being. Its tasks are varied: delivery of nutrients to cells, maintenance of arterial pressure, thermoregulation... In terms of the skin, the blood network is only present in the dermis, the middle layer, and the hypodermis, the deepest layer. The epidermis is not vascularised and obtains its nutrients through absorption from the capillary networks of the dermal papillae.
When blood circulation is slowed or disrupted, several discomforts can occur, among which are feelings of heavy legs, cramps, a change in skin colour, delays in the healing process, or even a decrease in local body temperature. Over time, it is natural for microcirculation to be altered as there is a gradual decrease in angiogenesis, that is, the formation of new blood vessels from existing ones. Fortunately, certain techniques and active ingredients can boost circulation.
Oral intake of ginger to enhance blood circulation.
Originating from India and China, ginger is a perennial herbaceous plant that thrives in warm and humid environments. It produces beautiful white and yellow flowers and has rhizomes that are widely used in Indian cuisine. In addition to its distinctive taste, ginger is known for its ability to improve blood circulation. However, it should be noted that this property of ginger has been the subject of limited studies, and more scientific evidence is needed to definitively assert that ginger stimulates blood circulation.
Nevertheless, it is suggested that regular consumption of this ingredient may help to improve blood circulation by promoting the dilation of blood vessels. This dilation facilitates blood flow, thereby reducing resistance in the vessels and helping to lower blood pressure. This vasodilatory property of the ginger is believed to come from gingerol, one of its main bioactive compounds.
Ginger is also regarded as a natural anticoagulant, helping to prevent the formation of blood clots, and therefore the development of cardiovascular diseases. This antiplatelet effect is once again attributed to gingerol.
Please note : while ginger may potentially help improve blood circulation, overconsumption can lead to undesirable digestive effects. Before you start supplementing, we recommend that you seek advice from your general practitioner.
Can topical application of ginger improve blood circulation?
While the effects of ginger on blood circulation have been studied when taken orally, little research has been conducted on this property in topical application. Some sources suggest that the use of ginger extract in massage oil can stimulate blood circulation, but this effect has not been scientifically demonstrated in topical application.
If you're looking to enhance your blood flow with a natural extract, we would instead recommend using peppermint or aloe vera gel, two ingredients whose effects on circulation have been more extensively studied.
Indeed, the acemannan molecule found in aloe vera gel stimulates angiogenesis by initiating the ATK/mTOR signalling pathway, which is involved in the proliferation of endothelial cells that line the inner surface of blood vessels. As for peppermint, it is the monoterpenes it contains that act to stimulate blood circulation.
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Dr COUIC MARINIER F. The Terre Vivante Guide to Essential Oils. Terre Vivante (2017).
ZAAKU J. S. & al. Medicinal properties of ginger and garlic: A review. Current Trends in Biomedical Engineering & Biosciences (2019).
LI J. & al. Aloe vera: A medicinal plant utilised in skin wound healing. Tissue Engineering (2021).