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Everyday Herbals | Medicinal Uses for Ginger

Ginger

Brief History

Ginger (Zingiber officiale) is a spicy, pungent rhizome used in cooking alongside its use as a powerful medicine. Ginger is thought to originally come from Asia, but no one is really sure where it first appeared.

Ginger has been used in Chinese Ayurvedic and medicine for centuries. Ancient Indian texts refer to ginger as “the great medicine.”

In the past, Arab merchants discouraged Greek and Roman traders from seeking out their ginger trading routes by weaving frightening tales of a murderous people in a fictional land called Troglodytia.

They were clearly serious about keeping their trade routes and their ginger to themselves!

How Does it Work?

The exact mechanism of ginger is unknown but we do know that ginger is an adaptogen.

An adaptogen is a compound that helps the body resist and recover from physical, biological, and chemical stressors.

It can also help the body restore homeostasis. This makes ginger a powerful medicine for diseases of imbalance in the body.

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What Does It do?

Ginger has SO MANY uses as a medicine I can not list them all below, but here are a few:

  • soothes upset stomach
  • treats nausea
  • improves circulation
  • calms inflammation
  • treats certain types of arthritis
  • eases muscle aches and pains
  • treats respiratory illness

Notable Qualities

  • antibacterial
  • antifungal
  • antioxidant
  • anti-inflammatory
  • decongestant/expectorant

Tip

Eat ginger after a meal to improve digestion, especially digestion of fatty foods. Try adding ginger to fatty dishes like Mediterranean lamb stew and hearty beef soup. Yum!

How is it administered?

  • fresh or dried
  • candied
  • added to a syrup with sugar or honey
  • taken in a tablet or capsule
  • in a tincture
  • brewed as a tea or decoction
  • in lozenges
  • as essential oil

What are the side effects?

Ginger considered safe for most people but should be avoided by people taking warfarin or other anticoagulant drugs.

Summary: Ginger has been used as a culinary herb since ancient times. It is a potent medicine, yet can be soothing as well. Ginger has more uses than most herbs and is easy to add to the diet. It can be consumed fresh or dried.

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Works Cited

Bode, A. M., & Dong, Z. (1970, January 1). The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Retrieved September 9, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/.

Boon, H., & Smith, M. (2009). In 55 most Common MEDICINAL herbs: The complete natural medicine Guide (pp. 218–227). essay, Firefly Books Ltd.

Landon, R. (2017). Ginger. In Super herbs: The best adaptogens to reduce stress and improve health, beauty and wellness (pp. 81–87). essay, Piatkus.

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