What kind of herbal allies do you have in your herbal medicine chest? Many families have traditional herbal remedies passed down from generation to generation. Sometimes it is lemon and honey for a sore throat or horehound cough drops. If you have ever wanted to put together an herbal medicine chest, start with ginger. It is an herb that is GRAS (generally regarded as safe).
Ginger is a warming herb that is used in gingerbread and ginger ale. It is frequently used in cooking Indian and Chinese food. It has several medicinal purposes, and is one of the few herbs that has been studied and approved by the FDA.
Ginger is the winter herb for our home. It increases circulation and warms the bodies of those adventurers coming in from the cold. It also speeds up the circulation of those curled up in the corner of the house with a book. A cup of ginger tea, hot or cold, with a touch of lemon and honey in it is delicious. It is easy to drink because it tastes so good! Because it warms the body, I love to drink a cup of ginger tea on cold mornings. To prepare the tea, grate a half inch piece of fresh ginger root, place in a mug and pour boiling water over the herb in the mug. Let the herb steep (in other words, let it sit) for 5 minutes. Strain the root pieces out and add honey to taste. Sometimes I add a little fresh lemon juice for a bit of vitamin C in my tea. Yummy!
Ginger is commonly used as a digestive aid for nausea and vomiting. Often a cup of ginger tea will soothe the nausea away. Several years ago my husband and I went on a cruise in the Pacific Ocean. A storm caused the ship to “rock and roll”. Most of the ship passengers experienced severe motion sickness. Because we had brought our ginger capsules just for preventing the motion sickness, we were prepared. Taking one capsule every four hours settled our stomachs and stimulated healthy digestion, and it’s a lot cheaper than the over the counter medications.
Ginger also helps with muscles aches, cramping and pain. If The Herbal Medicine Chest: Ginger you have over exerted yourself and are experiencing sore muscles, you can use ginger for that. Just draw a warm bath and put 2 tablespoons of powdered ginger into the warm water. Ginger can be purchased in bulk at most health food stores. Get in and soak your aches and pains away. Use less ginger in a half bath and don’t use ginger if you have broken skin, rashes or wounds (because it burns). As you soak, expect your skin to turn pink all over as circulation improves. Ginger also relaxes the muscles so expect to be able to rest and sleep better after taking a ginger bath.
Here is a delightful, fun recipe to make your own ginger ale. Make a strong tea from fresh ginger root with two cups of boiling water poured over one half cup of grated ginger root. Steep for ten minutes, strain and sweeten with honey. Cool this tea in the refrigerator. Just before you are ready to serve it, pour in 1 cup of sparkling mineral water. Enjoy! So during the winter months, get your ginger out to help digestion, warm your body and help with aches and pains from all that snowboarding!
This article, written by Vickie, was originally published in Cedar City Magazine.