Natural Healing: Fresh Ginger, Garlic and Onions

Including fresh ginger, garlic and onions in your daily diet can ease various maladies.

| May/June 2002

In herbalist Susan Mead’s view, remembering the basics is the basis of health. For example, she relies on garlic (Allium sativum), ginger (Zingiber officinale) and onions (Allium cepa) to enhance immune function. These “three musketeers” of the immune system, she says, can be included with benefit in our daily diet or applied to ease symptoms of various maladies with great benefit.

“If I only had one herb that I could use for the rest of my life, it would be garlic,” says Mead. One way to use garlic is to chop one or two cloves, put them on a spoon, place them toward the back of the tongue, and swallow them. Ingesting garlic in this way minimizes the odor that concerns many people, she says. Garlic can also be chopped and tossed into marinades or soups, or sautéed with onion and included in various dishes. In addition to having antibacterial and antiviral properties, garlic can help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. It can also be used as a suppository to alleviate hemorrhoids or clear up yeast infections, she says.

The many uses of ginger

Ginger can be included in soups, stews, or stir-fries, or made into a tea. Those who don’t like the taste of ginger or aren’t accustomed to cooking with it might prefer the crystallized or pickled forms. If you feel a cold or flu coming on, says Mead, grate gingerroot, place it in a tea ball, and make a small pot of tea, steeping it for at least five minutes. Then draw a hot bath, and drink the tea while bathing. The ginger will cause you to sweat, and to “burn out” the bacteria or virus. Go to bed and sleep as long as you can, without an alarm waking you. “That one thing works wonders,” says Mead.

In addition to stimulating immune function and reducing infection, ginger helps heal bronchitis, dysentery, nausea and vomiting, and gastritis. Sometimes Mead recommends the crystallized ginger for weight issues or for people who have diabetes. Eating it can help people reduce sugar intake and thereby enhance the immune system’s ability to fight disease.

Incorporating onions

Onions also provide flavor and immune benefits in soups, stews, and stir-fries. Cook it with garlic and olive oil, or include it in tuna or chicken salads. If you have trouble digesting it, notes Mead, chew a few fennel seeds (Foeniculum vulgare).

Onions can be used in a traditional cough remedy: Simmer onion slices in water with honey until they are soft, and eat one every four hours. In addition, placing onion packs on the chest can alleviate bronchial inflammation or other chest congestion. Placing them on insect bites draws out swelling and lessens pain.

3/20/2015 11:18:42 AM

Onions are a true gift from nature, even if they do make you cry. Share with you the health benefits of onions.



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