Ahhh, ginger. You’ve probably eaten at least one something in your life that contains this venerable, versatile medicinal and culinary herb. In stir fry, perhaps? In a meat dish, cookies, or candy? Two of my favorite herbalists, Rosemary Gladstar, and Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., have lots to say about ginger—and it’s all good. By all accounts, ginger appears to be an herb with a five-star reputation.
Both Rosemary and Earl write books. They hold nothing back, they share their all. In “Herbal Remedies for Vibrant Health,” Rosemary tells readers that ginger is one of the classic herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, and it’s one of her favorites. Earl (“The Herb Bible”) made ginger one of his Hot Hundred. Ginger — an herb with stature.
This anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial herb has graced our planet for thousands of years. It received a mention in the uber-ancient Chinese compendium, “Prescriptions for Fifty-two Diseases.” Putting that tome together was surely a labor of love. Earl says it was completed between 1065 and 711 B.C.!
A short list of ginger’s benefits…
- It aids digestion
- It helps relieve motion sickness (cars, trains, planes, carnival rides, sky-diving, speed skating)
- It relieves nausea (mommies-to-be, check with your doctor first before you use it)
- Ginger tea relieves colds and flu, sore throats, and congestion
Oh, and this: Earl says to grate ginger, stir into olive oil, and apply the mixture to your scalp as a dandruff be-gone remedy. He also mentions that, because ginger is an anti-inflammatory, arthritis sufferers may find relief by using it as a treatment.
Do you love ginger yet?
How to buy, store fresh ginger
It’s almost impossible to not recognize gingerroot’s unique, rhizomish shape. As you shop for it, be sure the one you place in your grocery cart is firm and the skin is intact, no dark spots, no mold. When you get home, take ginger from your shopping bag and store it in a lidded glass container that you keep in your fridge.
Now that you’ve got your own ready supply, what now? Don’t let that knobby root put you off. It’s pretty easy to use. Here’s how we do it in our kitchen: We break off the portion we need, and, using a veggie peeler, remove the skin. I prefer to grate the ginger for use in tea, but slicing it crosswise works, too. Slices probably work best in stir fries and stews.
This aromatic herb comes with a couple of heat levels you may not have known about. Fresh ginger is warming; dried ginger is hot. Fresh is usually preferred in recipes (and tea).
Speaking of tea, we recently had a cold and flu outbreak at our house. This ginger tea helped quite a bit:
Grate ginger (to suit your taste) into a cup. Pour boiling water over it, cover with a saucer, and let steep for about 15 minutes. Strain into another cup, add honey to taste and fresh lemon. Now, kick back and sip. It’s pretty tasty, soothing—and, this Doctor-Mom says, healthful.
If you enjoyed this article, come back for more! Takes a couple seconds to subscribe—and we’ll notify you when the next article is ready for you. While you’re at it, would you mind sharing this article with your social network? I thank you!