Herb of the Month – GINGER

sliced ginger

Anyway you slice it, Ginger is a great example of food-as-medicine.

Ginger, Zingiber officinale, is one of our wonderful kitchen medicines. It has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine and one of its Sanskrit names, Visvabhesaja, means “the universal medicine benefiting everybody and all diseases”. Ginger has also been used in TCM, traditional Chinese medicine, since at least the ninth century for the treatment of nausea, diarrhea and digestive complaints. It was included in the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) and the National Formulary as a carminative, stimulant, and aromatic herb.

botanical illustration of ginger

A botanical illustration of ginger from Kohler’s Medicinal Plants, 1887.

Ginger is also used for any winter type imbalance, especially for colds, flu, sore throats and congestion. The following recipe is one of our favorite winter drinks especially if you feel any of the above symptoms creeping up.

Ginger Lemon-Aide

  • 4-6 tablespoons chopped ginger
  • 1-2 lemons
  • Honey to taste

Combine the ginger with 1quart cold water in a saucepan. Cover the pan tightly and bring to just a boil. Remove from the heat and let steep 10-15 minutes. While the ginger is steeping, squeeze the juice from lemon/s. Strain the ginger from the tea, if you like, and then stir in the lemon juice and honey to taste for the finishing touch. Drink warm or hot.

From: Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs

If you wish to make one cup at a time, decrease proportions accordingly. However, you will want to sip on this throughout the day during the cold winter months!

Precautions: If taking anticoagulants, may enhance bleeding. Less than 3g/day is safe in patients susceptible to hemorrhage or who are taking warfarin or aspirin, (p 184, Pole). People with heartburn, peptic ulcers, chronic sweating, GERD, and hot inflammatory skin conditions need to use ginger cautiously.

Other Ginger Resources:

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