The PureWay team all have something in common—our grandmas gave us ginger for an upset stomach. Whether it was a ginger ale, a ginger chew, or a little bit of the root tea itself, we were all exposed to the incredible soothing qualities of ginger growing up.
And we’re lucky. Because organic ginger root is one of the most effective and widely used herbal remedies on the planet.
For thousands of years, Ayurvedic and Chinese practitioners have been using ginger root (Zingiber officinale) in foods, teas, extracts, and topical elixirs to help the body find its way to health naturally. It would be easy to say that ginger is a staple in the practice, and often used as a synergistic plant to tie everything together.
About the Ginger Plant
Ginger is in the zingiberaceae family, along with another favorite—turmeric (Curcuma longa).
It’s native to the tropics, and grows really well in rich, moist soil and partial shade—but it doesn’t like to be cold.
The plant itself is a perennial and grows to up 4 feet tall with long alternating, narrow leaves. It has yellowish/green or white flowers (sometimes with a tinge of purple) but the part we use is the root.
The root has a spicy taste that can be a bit strong for some people—other people love it. The taste of ginger increases salivation, and increases digestive secretions, this is where G-mas home tummy remedy comes from.
What is Ginger Root Used For?
Aside from the classic use, regularly using ginger root has several benefits that are a bit less commonly known.
1—Ginger for Circulation
This plant is what we call a “blood mover” which is just a simple term for “ginger improves your circulation.”
For cold people that tend toward being a little sluggish, this is awesome. People with hypertension should limit their ginger intake—and probably steer clear of strong extracts.
2—Ginger is Hot
This plant is energetically warm—actually its hot. Between the spicy flavor, the stimulation of digestive secretions, and the increase in circulation, ginger heats your body.
This is great for people that have cold hands and feet, that are naturally sensitive to temperature changes, and that tend toward dampness in their constitution. However, someone that runs hot (you know, those people that are like cozy ovens to snuggle with) or are dealing with true heat (toxicants in the blood, systemic inflammation, an unbalanced vata) or a yin deficiency with heat (high stress with liver deficiency and potential for burnout, skin breakouts are an indication for this)—ginger is likely not their herb.
3—Ginger for Menses Stimulation
The herbalist on the team gave me this tip—for that apprehensive, grumpy feeling where you’re stuck in limbo because your cycle is about to start but your body is trying to hold out for the faintest possible chance of conception, try ginger lemonade—it’s sweet and spicy… and it’s effective. She spends one day ultra hydrating with this recipe and typically starts her cycle within 24 hours—like clockwork.
Slice a good handful of ginger root and simmer it in 8 cups water for about an hour—don’t let it boil or it could get too bitter, ginger is starchy so it’s got a little natural sweetness in it you want to bring out. (You can also pour almost-boiling water over your ginger root and let it sit overnight to get very strong—you want strong ginger).
Let your water cool all the way and use it to make your lemonade. A good rule of thumb for lemonade is 1 juiced fresh lemon per cup of water—and about 1-2 tablespoons of honey per lemon.
So if you have 8 cups of strong ginger tea, you’ll need about 8 lemons and 8-16 tablespoons of honey.
Mix it together (you may want to put your honey in the ginger tea when it’s still a little warm) and then serve it over ice—yum.
Note: Ginger is the key in this recipe so if you don’t like ginger (why are you here?) or you tend towards heavy periods, this recipe may not be for you.
4—Asthma and Respiratory Issues
A little less known, but Ginger is great for respiratory issues too, especially with it comes to needing a little stimulation. It’s great for stuck cough and stuck breath alike.
If you’re using herbs as a way to supplement asthma medications, adding fresh ginger to your diet can help stimulate and open your airways over time, and adding a little ginger root extract to your formula can be the extra little stimulation you need to be able to use your inhaler a little less.*
*We aren’t suggesting this is to replace your inhaler. If you’re working with asthma, always carry it with you along with your regular medications. However, seeing an herbal practitioner could offer help to the strength to your lungs so that you will need it less over time.
5—Ginger for Joint Pain
Yep, joint pain too. Because it circulates blood so well, ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory.
Inflammation is caused by pooling of blood, this is good for if you stub your toes or bump your funny bone on the counter because it supplies the injury with healing reinforcements, but chronic inflammation is an indication of stagnant blood.
When blood gets stagnant in the joints, those joints aren’t fed fresh healing reinforcements over time and they can hurt. Ginger helps break up those stagnant spaces by increasing the circulation all over the body, it moves things along so your joints can get fresh supplies from your bloodstream.
Ah—we’re back to Grandma. Ginger is great for your tummy if you’re carsick, seasick, nauseated from stress, or you have a stomach bug.
We talked about it earlier, but that spicy flavor that increases your digestive secretions, well, it’s also loaded with antioxidants and happens to indicates an antibacterial/antifungal action—which is like a four way punch to anything throwing a wrench (or a butterfly) in your belly.
- Increasing digestive secretions kills bad bacteria in your body
- Stimulating digestion tells your body to activate its parasympathetic nervous system, calming you down and counteracting stress hormones in the body.
- Increasing antioxidants in your body helps your body to combat oxidative stressors
- The natural active antibacterial action in the ginger helps the body prevent disease.
Do you use Ginger Root? Tell us how in the comments below!
Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, Vt.: Healing Arts Press.
Beyerl, P. (1984). The master book of herbalism. Custer, Wash.: Phoenix Pub.
Alfs, M. (2003). 300 Herbs Their Indications and Contraindications. New Brighton, MN: Old Theology Book House.
Mars, B. (2007). The desktop guide to herbal medicine: The ultimate multidisciplinary reference to the amazing realm of healing plants, in a quick-study, one-stop guide. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Pub.
photo credit: www.kjokkenutstyr.net