GINGER: another wonderful wonder herb.
Like turmeric, ginger is another herb that I always have on hand at home. Last week, I got the flu and was down for a few days. But by constantly sipping ginger tea, mixed with a little honey and lemon (of course taking my Super Cold/ Flu Remedy), I recovered a lot faster compared to times when I kept myself hydrated just through water. Ginger is pretty versatile in all the ways it’s helpful….for kapha people or asthmatics like myself, where runny noses, congestion, coughs, etc are a norm, ginger really helps sooth and alleviate these symptoms. Whether you use it in it’s powder or root form…take it orally, use it in your cooking or apply it topically…there are SO many benefits and good effects of this herb!
I personally love cooking with it….it not only gives a variety of my foods like dals, curries and stir-fries great flavor, but it adds tremendous health benefits like aiding your body in digestion, helps suppress joint pain, and also helps with proper absorption of nutrients.
Many people I know eat a few pieces of fresh pickled ginger before meals as a way to aid their digestion and make a heavy meal feel a little lighter. To make pickled ginger, all you need is:
- 1/2 cup ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice.
Marinate at least 1 hour and then refrigerate. Since you only want to eat a few pieces a day, this much ginger should last about 1 week.
A few years ago, I fell and threw out my back. I remember that couldn’t take enough pain relievers to get the pain to subside. Finally, my Acupuncturist/ Natural Healer (Jen Jensen), recommended that I take a hot bath with fresh ginger in it…..it was the perfect remedy for my body. It really calmed my pain and helped me relax….I slept like a baby that night which gave my body a break from being in a protective /stiff mode and instead gave it time for some quality restoration and rejuvenation to heal the damage.
In Dr. Vasant Lad’s book, Ayurveda: The Science of Self- Healing, he explains the properties and benefits of ginger as follows:
Ginger. This herb is used fresh and dried. Both forms of the herb are aromatic and pungent. Ginger is a stimulant and a carminative. Fresh ginger contains more water and is milder; the powdered form is stronger and has more penetrating action.
Fresh ginger tea is good for data and pitta people. Dry ginger, being highly concentrated and strong, is good for kapha people. Ginger causes sweating, enkindles agni, neutralizes toxins and helps digestion, absorption and assimilation of food. Ginger alleviates inflammation of the throat, the common cold, congestion and sinus problems. A tea of ginger powder mixed with hot water may be taken with honey.
Grated ginger with a little garlic can be eaten to conteract low agni. This concoction will enkindle agni so that the appetite returns. A pinchful of salt added to one-half teaspoon of grated fresh ginger also acts as an excellent appetizer.
Ginger is also the best domestic remedy for kapha related problems such as cough, runny nose, congestion and throat congestion.
To alleviate headaches, prepare a paste of one-half teaspoonful of finger powder mixed with water and heated and then apply to forehead. This paste will create a slight burning sensation but will not burn the skin and it will relieve headaches.
Ginger may also be used as a spice in cooking. It is especially helpful in cold weather. Ginger makes food lighter and easier to digest. It will aid in cleansing the intestines and will promote healthy bowel movements.
Ginger also may be applied externally to painful joints and muscles. It helps the circulation and relieves pain by causing stagnant energy to be released.
For body aches, a ginger bath is recommended. Grated ginger is placed in a piece of cloth and tied to the hot water tap so that the hot water flows through the ginger. The ginger water relieves pain and has refreshing and relaxing effect.
So, in short….get a little ginger in everyday and you’re body will thank you for it.