The Joy of Ginger

Improve circulation, reduce inflammation, help fight colds and flu, and reduce nausea with ginger, a simple, effective herb.

| November/December 2013

  • Ginger’s most well-known healing power is its stomach-soothing properties. Enjoy a warming cup of ginger tea to alleviate stomach woes.
    Photo By iStock

As the seasons start to change, the days get shorter and the nights get colder. Time to round up your favorite winter staples: A stockpile of logs to fuel evenings in front of the fire; a steaming Crock-Pot to prepare hearty soups and stews; a set of oversize mugs to fill with piping hot cocoa. Another winter staple you should add to your list of seasonal must-haves? Ginger. 

Ginger is the perfect herbal medicine to have around during the winter. While it’s most famous for treating indigestion and nausea, ginger may also act as a decongestant and has long been used to improve cold weather imbalances including poor circulation, arthritic pain and more—it’s no wonder its Sanskrit name, vishwa bhesaj, means “universal medicine.”

Ginger Recipes

Ginger Syrup Recipe
Ginger Lemon-Aide Recipe
Hot Ginger Poultice to Relieve Menstrual Cramps

Health Benefits of Ginger

Native to Asia, ginger is a gorgeous tropical plant that has been used as a culinary spice for more than 4,000 years. But ginger’s transformational qualities extend well beyond the kitchen—it’s also a medicinal superstar. Wonderfully warming and mildly stimulating, ginger appears to benefit the circulatory system in several ways. As a potent anticoagulant, fine ginger powder may lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, according to researchers at Babol University of Medical Sciences. Having low LDL levels can enhance blood flow, improving the delivery of vitamins, minerals and oxygen to the body. Other research suggests ginger consumption may boost lipid metabolism, and that ginger could help prevent coronary heart disease through antiplatelet therapy without the potential side effects of aspirin. Flavor foods with ginger powder or sip a cup of hot ginger tea to help blood flow. 

Thanks to its warming properties, ginger is also frequently used to reduce inflammation and relax sore muscles. One human study found that ginger relieves osteoarthritis pain in knees better than a placebo. To ease pain, draw a soothing ginger bath by shaving a couple of tablespoons of fresh ginger into a mesh bag and tossing it into the warm water.

A natural decongestant, ginger is used by Chinese herbalists to strengthen the immune system and ease cold symptoms such as sore throat and coughing. Curb your cold with a cup of ginger tea that’s also infused with lemon and honey (see Ginger Lemon-Aide recipe).

10/29/2013 11:27:37 AM

What is the reason for only two cups of ginger tea a day. I keep a kettle of sliced root, honey and water on the wood stove so its always ready.



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