While we may not think of it, most of the herbs and spices in our pantry got there because of their healing properties. Everyday herbs like parsley, turmeric, and cinnamon should be considered part of your medicine cabinet, not just your kitchen cabinet. And there are lots of others with therapeutic uses, too.
One of my all-time favorite medicinal herbs is ginger. Besides being a spice often relegated to curries and holiday treats, ginger has been shown to help calm upset stomachs, soothe nausea, relieve pain, and lower inflammation (source).
Here’s how to incorporate this powerful healer into your routine, and reap the stomach-soothing benefits all season long.
The Benefits of Ginger
Researchers say that it’s the volatile oils and phenol compounds that give ginger its healing powers (source).
While you can eat it fresh or cook it into stews, treats, and curries, a tea made from ginger is often the quickest and easiest way to reap its benefits. Just a few minutes of steeping can deliver high levels of vitamin C and amino acids, as well as trace elements like zinc, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus.
Here are some of the ways ginger can help you feel better:
One of the first things most people notice about ginger is its spice. Thanks to volatile oils, ginger’s spiciness acts as an appetite stimulant, which prepares the digestive tract for food.
If you suffer from indigestion, bloating, gas, or stomach discomfort after eating, consuming ginger before meals may help.
Taking 1–1.5 grams of ginger is said to help prevent many different types of nausea, but especially sea sickness, chemotherapy-related nausea, and foodborne stomach ailments. Ginger has also been used for morning sickness, and can quickly soothe an upset stomach. Before taking any medicinal substances in pregnancy, however, it is a good idea to consult your physician (source).
Fever and infection
Ginger can also help the body fight infection. It is said to increase core body temperature and promote circulation, which helps white blood cells get to the source of the infection and attack invading bacteria. Especially when combined with raw honey, ginger is an effective remedy for cold and flu symptoms, and can even be used topically to kill bacteria and promote wound healing.
Muscle aches and pain
Ginger has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which might help explain why it’s often used to soothe minor aches, pain and cramps.
How to Make Ginger Tea
Ginger root is readily available in the vegetable section of most grocery stores. While it’s usually sold in large chunks, if you have leftover ginger root, you can peel it, then freeze it to use later or simply add it to soups, smoothies, or natural homemade cold + flu remedies.
Homemade Ginger Tea
- Wash your fresh ginger root, then peel it using the edge of a spoon and slice it thinly. Place the ginger root, elderflower blossoms, and water in a small saucepan.
- For a mild tea, boil for at least 10 minutes. For a stronger tea, use more ginger root and let boil for 20 minutes.
- Remove it from the heat and strain the ginger and elderflowers. Let cool for 5 minutes, then add the raw honey and enjoy!