Ginger root has a multitude of health benefits, from aiding digestion and reducing muscle pain to helping fight infections. Whether you're a stressed out college student or an avid athlete, adding ginger to your diet can be a wise health choice. Fresh ginger, however, can be used for so much more than you'd think. There are ways to use fresh ginger in your daily life through meal prepping, decorating your dorm or home, or adding a kick to beverages. Here's how to use fresh ginger in 13 different ways: 

1.  Make Your Own Potpourri

Mixing ginger with other spices, essential oils, and flower petals is a recipe for relaxation. I enjoy using ginger in potpourri as an air freshener because it's organic and non-toxic, compared to aerosol spray fragrances. Making your own potpourri only takes two hours in the oven, or less time if you choose a stove-top option. 

2. Make Ginger Tea From Scratch

tea, afternoon tea, tea time, green tea, tea cup, tea pot
Jocelyn Hsu

Drinking ginger tea on a cold rainy day feels like a warm hug for your insides. Rainy, muggy, or snowy weather can cause you to feel sluggish or even depressed. When coffee doesn't give me the spark and I need to continue with my day, I turn to wellness tea. I enjoy this ginger tea recipe because it only uses four ingredients, but is still full of tasty, spiced-honey flavor. 

3. Sprinkle Ginger Into Tea

Green, tea, teacup
Rebecca Buechler

If ginger tea isn't your favorite but you still want the benefits of fresh ginger in your system, no worries. Using a grater, you can shave fresh ginger root into your favorite tea for an added kick. I personally enjoy ginger sprinkled into green tea with a squirt of lemon juice. This concoction is my go-to when my sinuses are stuffy and my throat feels scratchy. After two cups I can smell the ginger I'm grating into my tea once again.

4. Create a Marinade 

chicken, barbecue, sauce, meat
Katherine Richter

Meal prepping doesn't have to be limited to boring meat, rice, and broccoli every week. Add some spice (literally) to your choice of protein by creating a ginger marinade. Grate some fresh ginger to use as a rub along with pepper, salt, cloves, and thyme. Place the protein in a plastic bag (I suggest chicken, salmon, or tofu) along with teriyaki sauce for sweetness, then massage the bag. Leave the bag overnight and cook it the next day.

When I eat this dish, I enjoy the sweetness from the teriyaki playing with the spice from the ginger and the mellowed notes from the thyme. Meal prepping just got more interesting!

5. Add to a Smoothie

milk, coffee, smoothie, sweet, milkshake, cream, yogurt
Christin Urso

There's nothing better than starting your day with a ginger-packed smoothie. Ginger will help with indigestion and any bloating you might be experiencing. Check out this mango ginger kale smoothie recipe for an at-home version of the Jamba Juice smoothie.

6. DIY Ginger Essential Oil

Claire Waggoner

Ginger can be distilled into an essential oil in your very own kitchen. Using only three ingredients, this recipe found on The Indian Spot is easy to follow for the inexperienced essential oil maker (like me). Once the oil is made, you can use it directly on your skin or in a diffuser. 

7. Make an Anti-Frizz Spray

alcohol, wine, beer, liquor
Aspenn Ward

This essential oil anti-frizz spray uses aloe vera gel, coconut oil, water, and lavender oil. Replacing the lavender oil with homemade ginger oil in this recipe provides more stimulation to your senses. Instead of feeling sleepy, you'll have a bit of pep in your step as you go about your day, and your hair will look pretty damn good too!

8. Amp Up a Stir-Fry

vegetable, pepper, stir-fry, broccoli, salad, onion
Maxwell Faucher

Amp up your dinner game with this veggie ginger stir-fry recipe. Using all vegan ingredients, this dish is good for your gut and tasty on the tongue. 

9. Use in Sangria

ginger, ginger ale
Savannah Carter

When in doubt, make sangria. At your next dinner event, consider crafting this ginger pear white sangria. The fresh notes from the pear and the crisp white wine will make this the beverage of choice at summer parties. I personally enjoy this ginger sangria with grilled lemon chicken or a fresh salad.

10. Make Gingersnap Cookies

chocolate, cookie, sweet, molasses, pastry, ginger, candy, cake, gingerbread, bread
Maya Giaquinta

Gingersnaps aren't just a holiday cookie. They're enjoyable all year round as a late night snack and are even better when paired with a cup of tea. Try this homemade gingersnap recipe the next time you have late night craving.

11. Bake a Gingerbread Loaf

bread, brown bread, sweet, chocolate, cake, wheat, pastry, rye bread
Helena Lin

Forget the rock hard cookies you grew up eating, and make this pillowy gingerbread loaf instead. Add whipped cream or cream cheese frosting to this recipe to turn it into an after dinner dessert. The spice from the ginger and the sweetness of the cinnamon mingle together playfully with every bite.

12. Slurp up Ginger Soup

It's an old wives tale to drink chicken broth when you're sick. Modernize this idea by grating some fresh ginger in your family's chicken soup recipe. The ginger will help rev-up your immune system, speeding up you're recovery time. I like making this chicken garlic ginger healing soup when I'm feeling ill.

#SpoonTip: Portion out the soup in advance and keep it in the freezer. The leftovers will last longer and will be ready to heat up the next time you're not feeling too great.

13. Season Your Seafood 

Ginger pairs well with most fish. This sweet soy and ginger fish recipe is a good beginner's recipe if you're new to the world of fresh ginger. You'll impress your loved ones with your cooking skills if you whip this out at the next dinner party. 

As you can see, fresh ginger has a lot of potential. Ginger can be used for everyting from soups to marinades to air fresheners. Next time you're at the grocery store, pick up some fresh ginger and challenge yourself to use it in new ways.