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Herb Basics: Ginger Compress

| July/August 2002

Makes about 2 cups
A ginger (Zingiber officinale) compress works wonders for back strains, sprains, bruises, and other injuries when applied two or three times a day for several days to a week. Fresh gingerroot works best, but powdered ginger is effective also. You can add cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) powder for extra warming and dispersing action.

  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger rhizome, grated, or 5 to 10 pinches powdered ginger
  • 1 tablespoon powdered cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 cups water
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. Let the mixture steep for 15 minutes, then soak a washcloth with the strong tea.
  2. Apply the cloth to painful or stiff muscles until the cloth has cooled; then resoak the cloth and reapply several times. Two or three sessions a day is most effective.
  3. For inflamed muscles or intense pain, try applying ice the first day, then alternating the ginger compresses with a cold or even icy compress (4 minutes of the hot to 1 minute of the cold) thereafter.

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