Ginger, oh how I love thee…
This root, I find, is underutilized and overlooked for some reason. It offers a vast array of health benefits, from boosting immune system function, and reducing pain and inflammation to reducing gas, bloating, nausea and digestive upset. It is cheap, and full of potassium, magnesium, copper, vitamin B6, manganese and gingerols, which are powerful anti-inflammatory substances.
It is a carminative, which means it reduces gastrointestinal upset, as well as an intestinal spasmolytic, meaning it reduces spasms and cramping in the digestive system. It has been shown to prevent or reduce the symptoms of sea-sickness, as well as to reduce nausea and vomiting in pregnant women.
It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and reduces the pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. If you are suffering from knee pain or a sport’s injury, it can help you recover faster and reduce your suffering.
Who wouldn’t benefit from ginger?
Ginger is a warming herb and supports healthy sweating. It boosts immune system function, and can help prevent colds, flus and sore throats. If you do get sick, ginger can reduce the severity and duration of your symptoms. It is great to drink in a tea (see recipe below) on a cold winter’s day, but you can also prepare it as an iced tea to refresh and replenish you after a hot day in the sun.
And it tastes great, too! It’s pungent and spicy flavour kicks up any meal several notches, and you get the added benefits to your health as well.
You can chop it up and add it to stir-fries to bring out some heat, or you can put it in the water that you are using to steam broccoli. Simply peel a 1- to 2-inch cube of ginger (with a spoon is easiest), slice it up, add it to a pot of water, bring to a boil, then place the steam basket with the broccoli in it on top. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer for about 5–10 minutes until the broccoli is done to your liking. If you are using organic broccoli, you can even use the leftover ginger water for ginger tea (see recipe below).
Here is a recipe for a Ginger, Honey and Lemon Tea. It is one of my favourites to drink when I am starting to feel sick, when I am feeling run down and cold in temperature, or if I am sore after a long, hard workout or run. You can drink it iced in the summer. Prepare as instructed below, let it cool in a glass jug on the counter and then put it in the fridge.
Ginger, Honey and Lemon Tea
1–2 inch cube of fresh ginger root
1/3 fresh lemon, sliced
Honey, to taste (optional)
Add slices of ginger to a pot, measure out 2–3 mugs of water and pour into the pot with the ginger. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add honey, squeeze the juice of the lemon into the mug, and then add the lemon slices as well. Pour in the hot ginger tea, then enjoy! You can drink this tea with the ginger root and lemon slices still in the mug, or can strain if you prefer.
Here is an even quicker and easier recipe, if you are feeling lazy:
Peel and slice the fresh ginger root. Place in a mug. Pour boiling water over the ginger slices and squeeze the juice of the lemon into the mug. Add the lemon slices to the mug. Allow it to steep for 3–5 minutes. Add honey to taste.
Aim to drink 2 cups a day.
Drink up and enjoy!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed healthcare practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed healthcare professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.