Ginger is one of those plants that seems to have been around forever and is a remedy for everything. The ginger plant is native to Southeast Asia, but is also grown in the United States, China and India. Whether fresh or dried, the roots are widely used in Asian and Chinese cuisine. Ginger is also a staple of Ayurvedic medicine as a digestive remedy.
It is used to ward off colds and the flu as it is believed to strengthen the immune system. It is helpful in soothing coughs.
Fresh ginger roots are sold in the produce department of most grocery stores. Other forms of ginger include dried root, capsules, tablets, tea, extracts and tinctures. Ginger roots can be peeled, sliced and simmered in water and sugar to make a delicious candied-ginger treat.
Ginger combats nausea caused by motion sickness and is far superior to the commonly used over-the -counter and prescriptions drugs used for motion sickness. Ginger may also be taken as a remedy to prevent or relieve nausea resulting from chemotherapy, pregnancy and surgery.
A recent study revealed that chemotherapy patients who started taking ginger capsules several days before their scheduled treatment had fewer or less severe side effects from nausea.
Ginger soothes the digestive system resulting in relief from gas and indigestion. It is effective in reducing migraine headaches without the side effects of drugs. Herbalist recommend ginger to regulate blood cholesterol and improve blood circulation especially to the hands and feet.
According to Jack Ritchason, author of “The Little Herb Encyclopedia,” Cornell University Medical College conducted a study that revealed ginger may prevent hardening of the arteries and that ginger’s active ingredient, gingerol, has proven effective in preventing the reoccurrence of “mini strokes.”
The gingerols found in ginger are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that inhibit the production of nitric oxide, which helps relieve joint pain that is associated with arthritis. It also provides substantial pain relief from gout, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and decreases swelling and morning stiffness.
Ginger has twelve types of anti-oxidants and is an excellent antiseptic and body cleansing herb. It contains active ingredients that promote lymph-cleansing and stimulate the kidneys to increase their filtration. It is also considered to be an aphrodisiac.
Ginger is an excellent aid to digestion and combats motion sickness far superior to over-the-counter remedies. Ginger has very few side effects when used in small doses, however, it does contain moderate amounts of oxalate, therefore, if you have a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones seek advice from your personal physician before using ginger or any alternative health practices.
Make an easy ginger tea by boiling about 2 cups of water, then adding a small piece of ginger (about 1″ long). Allow it to steep for 15 minutes and add sugar, honey or lemon to taste.
Recipe for Ginger Candy
- 10 oz. fresh ginger roots
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
Peel the ginger and slice them length-wise into paper thin slices. Punch holes in the slices with a fork as if you were tenderizing a steak. Combine sliced ginger, sugar and water into a heavy wok or cast iron pan. Bring to a slow simmer. Simmer and stir occasionally for one hour. Then lower the heat, allowing it to slowly simmer, continue stirring until the sugar crystallizes. Keep your heat low and do not allow the mixture to turn brown like caramel.
Note: It is advisable to avoid giving it to very young children because raw ginger or ginger juice has a hot a spicy taste.