I used to have hair.
It was quite long at one point. Long enough to put into plaits, long enough to attempt to form dreadlocks, but they got too itchy.
I had hair when I visited Punta Mona Finca Organica in Costa Rica and first stumbled across zingiber zerumbet, or what they told me was the shampoo plant.
It looked nice.
It smelt quite fragrant too.
So, every morning as I strolled past the plants on the way to breakfast, I would bend down, place my head under the plant and give it a shake. The watery sap would spill out of the flowering heads and onto my head and I rubbed it through my hair.
I’m sure it give my hair extra body and bounce, it plumped the hair shaft and gave it extra fullness and texture. Needless to say, it became part of my daily beauty routine.
The structure of the plant allows it to easily store water from the endless tropical downpours that hit Punta Mona and it is said that the liquid can be drunk, while the leaves have also been used for flavouring food or as medicine.
Zingiber zerumbet is a tropical plant but can be grown in other climates, with sufficient moisture, fertile soil and full sun or partial shade.
It may make an attractive, fragrant and useful addition to your garden… if you have hair.
Image: Rachelle Blake.