Ginger

Ginger Materia Medica 

Zingiber officinale
ZINGIBERACEAE (Ginger) FAMILY

Ginger is a sensational spice! It is an herb long utilized and loved by humans.  The earliest writings we have are from around 500 BCE, penned by disciples of Confucius who said he ate it with every meal and that the plant was grown in pots and kept aboard ships to help prevent scurvy.  It soon spread around the world, first to the middle east and the Mediterranean and then on to the Americas. 

It is one of my absolute favorite herbs, not only because it is tasty (making it helpful for taking your more bitter herbs), but because it is so effective for such a wide variety of issues.  It’s ability to improves digestion makes it a star addition to many formulas and can help with the absorption of other herbs.  You will notice it appears in A LOT of our recipes. 

It loves hot growing conditions and so lucky us, living in HotLanta!

DESCRIPTION

A perennial plant that is native to southern China.  It has been cultivated for so long by humans that apparently it doesn’t actually exist in the wild. Leaves: Tall, simple, oblong leaves. Flowers: gorgeous spike of yellow/ white flowers. Roots: technically, the roots are small hairs that grow out of the more bulbous rhizome which is the part we actually use. 

PART USED

Rhizomes (another word for underground stem).  We would commonly call this the root!

GROWING TIPS

Plant an organic root from the grocery store! Likes sandy, well-drained soil and tropical climates, so can be grown in Georgia’s hot and humid growing season as an annual and harvested in fall. Can be grown as perennial if brought inside during winter.

HARVEST

Harvest roots in the Autumn after the first frost

ENERGETICS + TASTES

  • warm, spicy, pungent
  • Fresh Ginger is considered HOTTER than Dry Ginger

ACTIONS

anti-inflammatory; peripheral circulatory stimulant; surface immune stimulant, diaphoretic; expectorant, carminative, antiemetic; analgesic, rubefacient

SYSTEMS

  • digestive, respiratory, circulatory, immune, musculo-skeletal

INDICATIONS  

PREPARATION + DOSAGE (INTERNAL)

  • Cook with it! Add freely to foods.  Ginger tastes especially good with squashes and sweet potatoes, chicken and fish.  One often sees slices of ginger served alongside sushi as it helps protect against seafood toxicity issues.  In Chinese medicine, Ginger is used as a specific for seafood poisoning.  Here  are a couple recipes we love:
  • Tea: use fresh or dry as tea. 1 tsp per cup of water.  Steep covered to preserve the aromatics. Take up to 3xs per day.  Also great in tea blends.  See individual Recipe cards for preparation and dosage instructions.  
  • Syrup: see Cold Care Syrup (aka Winter Syrup)
  • Tincture: tinctures well into all menstruums (alcohol, glycerine, and vinegar)
  • Hydrotherapy: Easily made into a tea, ginger makes a great compress, gargle or soak. 
  • Capsule: Dry Powdered Herb. 500 mg, up to 3xs per day. See also our blends: Inflam Re-Leaf Capsules, Green Bling Capsule
  • Oil/ Salve: Dry ginger extracts well into an oil.  Powder the herb for maximum extraction. 
  • Powder: Add freely to foods.  Ginger tastes especially good with squashes and sweet potatoes, chicken and fish.  Of course, fresh ginger is so easy to use as well, see Cook with it! section above.   

PAIRINGS (INTERNAL)

  • Anti-inflammatory Support: with Turmeric, Rosemary, Berberine containing plants, etc. (See Inflam Re-Leaf Capsules)
  • Digestion:
    • with other aromatic carminatives (cardamom, orange peel, fennel, etc.)  (See Aromatic Bitters);
    • pair with nutrient rich herbs to help increase their absorption (see Green Bling Capsules)
    • pair with other tummy settling herbs for nausea (i.e. fennel or peppermint)
  • Circulatory: with other anti-inflammatory herbs (i.e. Turmeric) or other cardiovascular supportive herbs (i.e. Eleutherococcus)
  • Immune Support: pair with other diaphoretics (i.e. Yarrow or Peppermint); pair with other immune stimulants (See Defender Compound, Herbal Shield Compound

PREPARATION + DOSAGE (EXTERNAL)

  • Sprains + Strains Ginger can be used for its anti-inflammatory properties externally.  
    • Tea: Make a strong decoction with dry herb [1:16] or fresh herb [1:8] Soak.  Consider adding Epsom Salts.

PAIRINGS (EXTERNAL)

  • Sprains + Strains: Pair with other anti-inflammatory herbs (i.e. Rosemary, Yarrow), circulatory stimulants (i.e. Mustard) or magnesium salts (i.e. epsom salt)

SAFETY/ CAUTIONS

  • Food like and general considered safe.  
  • Pregnancy: use only small amounts (less than 2 grams daily) for morning sickness
  • High fever: RED FLAG Fever over 104 F/ 40 C; typically we use Ginger and Cinnamon to encourage a lower grade fever that needs a little help along to break.
  • Sensitive Tummys:  not everyone tolerates ginger, especially if someone suffers from GERD