Ginger

I don't know about you, but when I think of December and the holidays, I think of ginger and Mom-ma’s warm gingerbread cake! Additionally, the cold and flu season has begun, which means I'm stocking up on ginger tea and ginger root.


Ginger has a long history of medicinal use and has been mentioned in most ancient medical texts. It is widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and was even mentioned in the Chinese Classic Book of Herbs written in 3000 BC. It’s known as the “universal remedy.”


Ginger is a warming herb, perfect for cold winter days! It promotes circulation and is one of the most versatile of the herbal stimulants. It has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiviral agents, as well as antioxidants that boost the immune system and protect the body from free radical damage. It's beneficial to the stomach, intestines and respiratory system, and has been used throughout history to relieve nausea, particularly morning sickness and motion sickness. Ginger is also recommended by herbalists for indigestion, flatulence and stomach cramps.


I always recommend ginger during my seasonal detoxes because it induces sweating, one important way we remove toxins. Additionally, it increases bile acid secretion, also beneficial during a detox. However, if you have gallstones or gallbladder disease, you might need to avoid it. The same is true if you’re on blood thinners, since ginger is a natural blood thinner. Ginger in normal amounts is generally considered safe. 


Ginger tea is a delicious and gentle treatment for colds and flu. It helps break up phlegm, soothes the throat, warms the body, and has antimicrobial properties. You can make ginger tea by simply grating fresh ginger into a saucepan and boiling it for 5-10 minutes.  Strain and add honey and lemon for taste. This coats, soothes and disinfects a sore throat.


Women have used ginger throughout the ages as well, and not just for morning sickness. It has antispasmodic properties and therefore is often used to relieve menstrual cramps. However, due to its ability to stimulate circulation, it is also recommended to promote menstruation in certain circumstances. 


Perhaps the best and most popular use of ginger is in the kitchen! Gingerbread men, gingerbread houses, gingerbread muffins, ginger snaps... It is believed that adding ginger to meat removes toxins. Ginger is one of my favorite herbs! I start the day with ginger by adding some to my morning smoothie, and I end the day with a cup of ginger tea after dinner. There are few things better than sitting in front of the fire, sipping ginger tea, and reading a good book! In fact, I might just do that tonight! 


References:

American Botanical Council

Gladstar, Herbal Healing for Women (©1993)

Grieve, A Modern Herbal (©1931)

Tierra, The Way of Herbs (©1980)

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™