Ginger is one of the oldest and most popular natural remedies. It is also very easy to find in most places and extremely versatile. It is one herb I always keep on hand (I say that a lot….) for its uses in upset stomachs, respiratory issues and even skin problems!
What is Ginger?
It is a root (rhizome to be exact) that grows in many places. According to Mountain Rose Herbs:
- It is the most widely used and available herbal remedy on the planet, with billions of people using it every day as both food and medicine. A tropical perennial growing to a height of two feet, ginger has lance-shaped leaves and bears stalks of white or yellow flowers.
- It has long been the subject of fable and literature. For centuries, Europeans obtained it form Arab spice traders, who protected their sources by inviting stories of ginger field located in lands stalked by a fierce people called troglodytes. And Shakespeare wrote in Love’s Labour Lost, “had I but one penny in the world thou shouldst have it to buy ginger-bread.”
- A versatile herb, it is used either fresh or dried in nearly two thirds of all traditional Chinese and Japanese herbal formulas. Fresh is used to relieve dryness and heat, while dried is used to relieve dampness and chill.
Ginger is widely available as a fresh root in most grocery stores as well as dried and powdered for use as a spice.
Benefits of Ginger:
It has been used in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years and is said to help:
- Soothe digestive disturbances
- Alleviate nausea (great in early pregnancy)
- Reduce fever
- Calm coughing and respiratory troubles
- Stimulate the circulatory system
- Relieve muscle aches and pain
- Get rid of dandruff
- Emerging evidence shows it helps lower cholesterol
- Japanese research has found Ginger is effective in lowering blood pressure and cancer risk
Ways to Use:
Great for use in teas, tinctures, capsules or in cooking. It is an ingredient in my homemade Digestive Remedy. Other ways to use it:
- To make tea, simmer 3/4 teaspoon (0.5 to 1.0 grams) of chopped ginger in 1 cup of hot water for five minutes in a closed teapot.
- Add dried ginger powder or fresh ginger to homemade cough syrup, cough drops or remedies.
- Capsules can help with digestive troubles or morning sickness
- Ginger capsules are also often helpful in alleviating menstrual cramps
- From Nutritional Herbology: “A study in The Lancet (March 2, 1982) showed ginger to be effective in treating motion sickness. Two gelatin capsules of ginger are more effective than 100 mg of dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), an over-the-counter motion sickness remedy. To use ginger in this manner, take two capsules approximately 20-25 minutes before taking off in an airplane or boarding a ship and thereafter every 4 hours.”
- A few tablespoons of dried, powdered ginger root added to a hot bath is effective in relieving sore muscles or body aches (can also lower fever).
- Added to foods as a delicious spice.
- Fresh and dried seem to be equally effective in trials.
There are warnings in both Traditional Chinese Medicine and some medical texts about using ginger during pregnancy, though it is generally agreed that ginger can be used in moderation (always check with a doctor or midwife to be sure). Studies in the late 1990’s found that eating as much as 2 to 3 tablespoons of raw ginger or 5 to 8 tablespoons of dried ginger daily will not stimulate uterine contraction. Excessive use may cause gastro-intestinal upset.
Where to Get Ginger Root
Fresh organic ginger is available in most places and is a great option. For ease of storage, dried ginger root is another great option. I buy dried ginger root in bulk from here.
Recipes with Ginger:
- Carrot Ginger Soup
- How to Make a Ginger Bug
- Ginger Ale Recipe
- Spicy Cider Recipe
- Herbal Throat Spray Recipe
- Digestion Tincture Recipe
- Sweet Asian Salad Dressing Recipe
Have you ever used Ginger? How did it work for you? Share below!