The Surprising Thing You Should Add To Your Bath When You're Sick

If you love to sip ginger tea for an upset stomach or when you have a headache, soaking in a ginger bath might feel doubly soothing when you're sick, some holistic practitioners say (via Well + Good).

Jennifer Palmer, a holistic wellness coach with a doctorate in traditional naturopathy and owner of the wellness center Nourishing Journey in Columbia, Maryland, told Well + Good that a ginger bath is "a fabulous option for sweating out toxins," such as the chemicals we're exposed to daily through cosmetics, pesticides, plastics, and other products. Because ginger increases your circulation, soaking in a ginger bath may help improve your metabolism, reduce inflammation, and assist your digestion, she said.

While there hasn't been much scientific evidence supporting the benefits of adding ginger to bathwater, at least one study found that ginger is an excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant when ingested in foods or tea (via the International Journal of Preventive Medicine). Another study noted that drinking ginger daily can boost immunity and potentially lower the risk of some heart disease (via Nutrition). 

Ginger powder or sliced ginger root turns your tub into a giant detox

Before you immerse yourself in a tubful of ginger water, test whether your skin finds ginger irritating. (You might be able to tolerate it only in a tea or foods.) Dab some freshly grated ginger or a paste made from water and powdered ginger on the back of your hand or inside of your wrist. Wait 3 to 5 minutes. If no irritation develops, you're good to soak (via Well + Good).

Creating the bath is simple: Add 1/2 cup of freshly grated ginger or 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger to water as warm as you can comfortably handle. Soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Ginger can turn the water brown or yellow, so don't be alarmed by the color. Also, don't get the water in your eyes; it'll sting (via Well + Good).

To ensure that you don't overheat, keep a cool, damp cloth nearby to cover your neck or forehead if needed. Also, drink plenty of water before, during, and after you're in the tub. Because this bath is a detox, prepare to sweat for an hour or two afterward. To cool off faster, consider taking a shower right after you soak. 

Don't use a ginger bath on children ages two and younger, or if you have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Also, if you take blood thinners, if you're pregnant, or if you have a liver condition, check with your doctor first about experimenting with a ginger bath.