Get some Zing in your diet

GINGER

FAMILY: ZINGIBERACEAE

Zingiber officinalis

  

Although ginger has been cultivated for thousands of years in India and China, there are reports of it being used by Romans as far back as the second century as a taxable imported item. In France it was used around the 1200s and made the journey across the English Channel where it was warmly received as a culinary spice, second in popularity to pepper. One pound of ginger was the equivalent to the price of one sheep.  

Ginger is a perennial herb that stimulates circulation to every area of your body from the tips of your toes to the top of your head and to the tips of your fingers ginger will warm the entire you in doing so ginger will promote perspiration and reduce body temperature.

This wonderful herb is used as a companion herb aiding the absorption and distribution of other herbs to spread through the body at a faster rate.

Ginger is a valuable herb that thrives in most parts of southern Asia, Jamaica, Nigeria, and the West Indies.

Growing Ginger:

Ginger is a tropical plant that thrives in fertile, moist and well-drained soil.

The commercial ginger plant doesn’t flower or bear fruit and isn’t very large growing no more than 4-5 feet in height. The leaves are grass like and up to a foot long. Ginger requires a lot of water and partial shade to grow. In commercial growing, the rhizome is broken up and planted about two inches below the surface of the soil about a foot and a half apart from each other. The herbaceous ginger plant grows in a clump and spreads slowly by rhizomes.

Harvesting Ginger:

In small herbal gardens, a garden fork is ideal. When the rhizomes reach 4 to 7 months of age they’re ready to be used for fresh preparations. Allowing the ginger root to mature slightly longer, 8 to 9 months will produce a root that is more pungent and ideal for dried preparations.

Ginger & China:

In China today, half of all herbal prescriptions contain some form of ginger. According to Chinese medicine, there is a huge difference between fresh and dried types of ginger. The fresh root is called Sheng-jiang and is used to chase away pathogens due to its ability to induce sweating. It expels cold, relieves nausea and sweeps away toxic waste.

Fresh ginger root is what you’ll find the most beneficial in easing your colds and flu symptoms. One whiff of a fresh ginger root will have you starting onto your road to recovery. It’s a distinctive scent, highly aromatic, and images of far off lands might come to mind. Once it’s consumed, it radiates outwards, warming your body and clearing away your illness. Fresh ginger can be added to food or brewed into a tea.

Dried ginger root, Gan-jiang, also removes cold, and is useful for stomach pain, diarrhea due to cold deficiency, coughs and rheumatism.

Both fresh and dried roots are certified drugs of the modern Chinese pharmacopoeia, as is a liquid extract and tincture of

Ginger for Seasoning & Baking:

Whether fresh or ground, ginger is a marvelous spice as well as a delicious non-alcoholic beverage. Ginger used in baking livens up your baking, in biscuits, cakes, muffins, and breads.

The fabulous ginger root has a spicy flavor that perks up native Chinese, Caribbean, Thai, Indian, Japanese and North African dishes.

Ginger contains a high level of enzymes that break down meat, similar to our own natural stomach enzymes. Ginger can be used as a meat tenderizer.

Crystallized ginger is a popular confectionary, and ginger beer [or ale] is a tasty beverage with stomach-soothing properties.

Ginger helps balance your diet. Too many cooling foods, such as vegetables, need a counter balance. Ginger is known in all forms of Eastern medicine as a warming herb.

Ginger for Colds & Flu:

In the wintertime, many people suffer form colds and flu. Chinese medicine refers to this form of sickness as “invading cold” or “invading damp” which means that the system has been assailed by the cold weather. Whether in the form of: influenza, chills, coughs, or bronchitis, this is a condition that lasts far too long for anyone. Herbal help can be found as close to you as your spice rack or local grocery store.

Ginger Relieves Motion/Morning Sickness:

Whether a person is carsick, airsick, and seasick or has morning sickness, ginger is one of the most effective herbal remedies to get rid of that queasy feeling.

Other Known Uses:

If a person has exercised too much or suffers from arthritis or rheumatism, ginger has been known to ease inflammation of the joints and muscle tissue. Due to its tremendous circulation-increasing qualities, ginger is thought to improve the complexion. Ginger has reduced nervousness, eased tendonitis, and helped sore throats return to normal. Studies demonstrate that ginger can lower cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol absorption in the blood and liver.

In the West African country of Senegal, women wore belts containing ginger roots to arouse their partner’s desire. “For centuries, ginger has been used in love rituals throughout Asia and the South Pacific. Originally introduced as an exotic condiment in Europe, ginger was soon used for both medicinal as well as amatory purposes.

Ginger will help in vertigo because of its ability to stimulate circulation to all areas of the brain and as a calming digestive aid useful for flatulence and colic. Ginger will relieve sore throats when used as a gargle.

Externally ginger is the base of many, muscle-sprain, rheumatic and circulatory treatments.

Ginger is also known as the herbal aspirin as a circulatory stimulant, antispasmodic and vaso-dilatory herb ginger has been known to find the hot spots and blockages in the body.

Extensive research has been done on ginger with particular interest in anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet properties.

Use ginger for motion sickness, ginger given as a powder 25minutes before departure.

1g of ginger given at the time of pre-medication prior to surgery, will reduce post surgery nausea and vomiting. Ginger is considered a warming herb studies have shown a thermogenic effect normalizing body temperature. Use ginger to stimulate digestion especially in cold digestive conditions and to enhance the action of other herbs.

Ginger is safe to take especially useful in cases of nausea in pregnancy.

In the kitchen: Ginger tea: Take a piece of fresh ginger about the size of a one inch square block, dice thinly and place in a cup. Pour over boiling water allow to infuse for 5 minutes. Cool and drink. If you find this to strong add honey and sip. Any sore point in the body, or any blockage point, will soon warm up.  Fresh ginger can definitely be added to your daily diet, add to soups, casseroles and stir-fries.

Ginger compress

The ginger compress takes a few minutes to prepare. It makes few demands on its user is painless and rather pleasant. Ginger is an excellent pain reliever and will reduce inflammation. Even internal organs and the body’s internal condition in general will benefit from this treatment. The ginger compress will become a friend on which you can always depend.

Take 8 cups (250ml = 2L) water and add 5 ounces of grated ginger to a pot and heat water to 70 degrees. Do not boil, cook until the water turns a pale yellow in colour, strain and gently squeeze out the plant material and discard this on to your compost heap. Soak a towel in the water solution and apply to affected area of the skin.

The soaked towel should be as hot as the patient can tolerate. Keep changing the towel to keep a constant temperature on the skin. The same water may be used for 24 hours.

Eventually the skin should become red when this happens the compress is no longer necessary.

People with a strong constitution will redden in about 10 minutes, whereas weaker patients take 20-30 minutes.

Red skin indicates that good circulation has been promoted to the affected area.

Pain will be relieved as the blood starts flowing through the vessels and efficient circulation is established.

Surface problems such as arthritis, bruising and inflammation can easily be cured using this method.

Ginger foot Bath The function of the ginger bath is to promote circulation. Bathing in fragrant ginger is a luxury as well as a recipe for getting better. When the feet become hot and red the entire body circulation will improve. Seriously ill patients who are bed ridden can remain on their backs and place their feet in the bowl containing the ginger mixture.

The recipe for the ginger bath is the same as the ginger compress however you need to double it for a satisfactory foot bath. This bath is very useful to warm a chilled patient and for any arthritic pain in the body and also good for gout and bursitis which is calcification of the joints

In the bath: A combination of dried ginger powder, seaweed and oats in equal parts wrapped in a cheese cloth or a tea bag will invigorate and nourish the skin for a silky smooth luxurious feeling after your bath. .

Ginger oil

Grate fresh ginger root into a jar and cover with olive oil. Infuse oil for a few days shaking bottle daily. Squeeze out plant material and reserve oil into a dark coloured bottle. You will note that the ginger juice will separate from the oil. Shake the bottle before use. Massage the oil into any sore spots to increase circulation, use for aches, pain and inflammation. Ginger oil added to any other external preparation for aches and pain will enhance its actions.

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Deborah Harper

Article by Debbie Harper

Debbie Harper is a self-published author and an accomplished blogger. She's the founder of www.happyhomesnz.com and the author of the book “The Number #1 Rule for a Long and Healthy Life”. If you like this post, you can stay up to date with the latest information from www.happyhomesnz.com by subscribing via RSS, or receive articles directly in your inbox. Then click here to download a free report on "The Number #1 Rule for a Long and Healthy Life".