The wonder of Nature: the Shampoo Plant….

Ever seen or heard of a flower cone that can be extracted and its “suds” to be used for shampoo? Meet the Zingiber zerumbet, commonly known as the Shampoo Ginger Lily.

Image ref: Almost Eden

If you think you’ve seen the best of nature, you should take a rethink.

The Zingiber zerumbet plant is native to tropical India, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is widely cultivated in the Asian tropics including Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, India, Laos, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Pacific Islands including Taiwan and China (Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan).  This plant has been transported overtime to many tropical areas in the Pacific Ocean with subsequent naturalization. Polynesians carried the plant to Hawaii in canoes many years ago. The plant goes dormant in winter and is cultivated worldwide for its culinary and medical purpose.

While the Shampoo Ginger Lily has a beautiful and exotic look, it actually has some amazing benefits. Its flowers and rhizomes are fragrant and have a pleasant warm ginger spice scent. They produce a light red juice that collects inside of the flower cone that can be extracted and “suds” to be used for a shampoo which is where the name Shampoo Ginger Lily comes from.

Image ref: Homestead Wishing

You can simply squeeze the cone-shaped flower to collect the sap which can then be massaged into the skin and hair. One more awesome thing about this plant is that if you leave them planted in the group, the sap will refill on its own. 

Aside from using it as a shampoo or skin cleanser, it can actually be eaten and used for medicinal purposes.

Research shows various benefits because some of the substances contained are good if absorbed by the body.

Image ref: Buzz Feed

Here are a few acclaimed health benefits of Shampoo ginger;

Prevent the Progression of Cancer:

Content contained in shampoo ginger has the ability to inhibit cancer cells that grow in the body.

Increase Appetite:

Users claim that Shampoo ginger has content similar to the health benefits of Curcuma (Turmetic) which is able to increase appetite.

Overcome Diarrhoea and Dysentery:

The plant is very effective for dealing with diarrhoea and even dysentery – the disorders that attack the body’s digestive system are prone to attack children, adults and even the elderly.

Overcome Hemorrhoids:

Haemorrhoids can be a dangerous health disorder if ignored. The shampoo ginger relieves the symptoms. 

Relieve Fever:

The Shampoo ginger, used as traditional medicine can relieve the heat because of the content of anti-seizure substances in it, which include properties that are found in Paracetamol.

Other uses are to relieve skin irritation, cough, colds, lower blood pressure, rheumatism.

Culinary Uses:

  • The flower buds are boiled and eaten as vegetables.
  • Young shoots and rhizome are used as a spices or condiments, just like ginger.
  • The young ends of rhizomes, peeled or unpeeled, are eaten raw with rice and sauce.
  • Young flower spikes, without the bracts, can also be eaten raw or cooked.
Image ref: Paticheri

The fragrant leaves and leaf stalks were used back in the days in baking to enhance the flavour of pork and fish as they cooked. Also, traditionally, the aromatic underground rhizomes were sliced, dried, and then pounded to powder and then added to the folds of stored clothes for a fine smell.

Perhaps the most common use of the plant is as a shampoo and conditioner as the clear fragrant juice present in the mature flower heads are used for softening and bringing shininess to the hair.

Do you have any question or comment? Do share with us in the comment section.

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