Rebecca's Herbal Apothecary and Supply

The Warmth of Ginger

By Rebecca Luna, December 2006

I love ginger, and this time of year is ideal for exploring this pungent herb. As winter comes upon us, we all are thinking of ways to get and stay warm. Ginger is a fantastic herb to use in this fashion, as it is warming to the whole body, and its effects are felt immediately upon drinking a hot cup of infused ginger tea. Simply take 2-3 tbsp of dried ginger or a piece of fresh ginger about the size of your thumb (sliced up) and put it in a canning jar or pot, then pour about a quart of boiling water over it. Cover your infusion and let it steep for at least 20 minutes. You may also simmer the herb, with the same proportions, in a pot of water, for 20 minutes or more. This will provide you with a wonderful brew of warming tea.

Ginger has long been used to calm upset stomachs and to warm up the digestive system. It has specifically been used for motion and traveler's sickness. If you are traveling and are unable to make a tea, you might want to bring along a ginger tincture. A tincture is an alcohol preparation of the herb, easy to carry and easy to take.

Ginger is very effective in increasing circulation. Because of this action, I have found it to be helpful for visitors who are having trouble adjusting to high altitudes. Altitude headaches can sometimes be relieved, quite quickly, by taking 1/2 to 1 dropperful of the tincture. However, I have always preferred the tea. A hot cup of ginger tea, with its pungent smell and steam, seems a wonderful welcome for someone not used to this place. The tea also has the added benefit of the water content, as increased intake of water is always the first thing to do when experiencing altitude sickness.

Ginger has the ability to ease some forms of menstrual pains. You can drink a cup of your infused ginger and dip a cloth into the rest. You can then lay this cloth over your abdomen for added relief.

The same can be done for congested lungs, just put the cloth over you chest instead. You may also breathe in the steam of the tea as its brewing if you'd like. All this will help to expel phlegm from the lungs and clear sinus congestion.

Ginger will wake you up and get things going. Not in the way caffeine does, but again by its heating and stimulating action. However, you can still drink a cup of ginger and then go to bed, I find it both stimulating and relaxing. I had a group of students who did a project on ginger. All of them who took ginger honey in the morning said they felt a sense of being invigorated on the days they took the honey.

During the course of writing this article, I've been enjoying many cups of ginger tea. It wakes and warms me up as I feel its effects immediately down my throat, in my lungs and belly. So, enjoy your ginger and stay warm as winter comes upon us, and please remember that even the safest of plants might cause an allergic reaction, and might not be right for everyone. Always try a drop or sip first when using an herb for the first time, then wait 15 minutes before you continue to use the herb. If you experience any side effect, stop taking the herb immediately, If you have persistent medical conditions, please see an qualified health care practitioner.

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Herbal Aphrodisiacs and Reproductive Tonics
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