As a kid I only knew ginger because of ginger ale and that one lady at church who put in in her spice cake. Imagine my surprise when I go to studying it. In looking back at the history of ginger, we know it was used in both China and ancient Rome before making it’s way to Western Europe in the 9th century. It became so popular among the wealthy it was added to the table as a condiment like salt or pepper to sprinkle on everything from soups, meats and beer ( ginger ale anyone) to the ever popular Gingerbread. In fact the royals LOVED it so much Elizabeth the 1st made sure each dinner guest be served a “gingerbread man” in his or her own likeness.
Ginger is the first “root”, we’ve talked about in this herbs most of us have series, but biologically speaking it’s a rhizome not a root, meaning it’s part of the underground stem of the plant not a root which takes in nutrients. Most of us are familiar with the dried pale powder in our spice rack which is totally fine to use but it all starts out as fresh ginger. I use them inter changeably depending on the recipe and my stock. Remember that dried herbs are more potent and should taste more potent because of less surface area so adjust recipes if they call for one but you are using the other. If your ginger doesn’t have a little burn or tingle to it, it’s time for some new ginger.
Oh the things that ginger treats…
Let’s see first and foremost all types of nausea can be addressed with ginger- morning sickness, medication induced like the reaction from chemo, food poisoning, motion sickness, anxiety and just plain ole stomachaches. One study focused on the ways that ginger increased the speed of stomach emptying and found that it increased the rate we digested food and emptied our stomachs thus helping with gas, bloating and heartburn.
You can eat it, drink it or take it as a tincture, but for me I LOVE a ginger tea.
It’s a powerful anti inflammatory that has been studied for migraine sufferers, arthritis both Oesteo and rheumatism. It influences circulation in the body so it helps pump more blood more effectively getting into places that might not have been getting enough blood and without enough blood then it’s (space of YOU) not getting enough oxygen. This effect on the blood and circulation in the body isn’t just limited to anti inflammatory actions though, it also helps keep the blood from forming blood clots thus acting as a preventative to strokes and heart attacks.
It’s also a great healer against cancers and dozens of studies show that it works against lung, breast, prostate, skin, bladder, kidney, pancreatic and even ovarian cancers. One study focused on ‘zerumbone’ a ginger extract and it’s role in down regulating genes that turn on the metastatic rate of cancer gene replication.
Studies in the UK have shown that Asthma suffers benefit significantly from daily doses of ginger extract of 130 mg per day. In the study all patients where in “ better health, had fewer asthma attacks and the ones they had were less severe” in three months time and reported no ill side effects.
There are 2 herbs that I often use in formulas and teas to increase the effect of the other herbs around it and one of them is ginger. I call it a BAM herb meaning it makes every other herb have a little more mojo by amplifying the effects.
In order to get the maximum effects of Ginger, I’d take it as a tincture but also include it in my diet whether it’s food or tea. Here’s a simple combo that you can use as a tea or seasoning on food. Heck I’ve been known to use it as a foot bath to help with pain too. JUST keep it away from sensitive body parts, remember fresh ginger should burn or tingle.
All purpose spice
3 parts rosemary
1 part thyme
1 part ginger
FEEL free to add to this.
For food add a little garlic, pepper, oregano, citrus, sage, basil, cayenne soy whatever flavors you like
For a tea any mint like peppermint or spearmint, any citrus, tulsi, cinnamon, cardamom, fruit peels. lemon balm, replace the rosemary with hibiscus, delete the thyme and rosemary and just use basil and ginger for food or a tea.
Wife, Mom, herbalist and friend. Feel free to change the order of the description to fit your needs, I do several times a day.