Native to Asia, and prolific throughout the varied histories and cultures on the vast continent, ginger is a powerful herb that gives your body an incredible dose of healing. Most of us know ginger as a spice and flavoring in dishes, but today let’s briefly unpack the four reasons why ginger is also one of the worlds best natural medicines.
(1) Digestive Woes
An excellent remedy for bloating, gas, cramping and indigestion, this mighty root is helpful almost every digestive complaint. It speeds up the rate of gastric emptying and helps your digestive tract absorb nutrients. It also improves iron absorption, which is welcomed news to those trying to treat anemia.
(2) Nausea Reduction
Ginger’s ability to tackle tummy aches is inspiring. Whether it’s motion or sea sickness, stomach flu, or morning sickness associated with pregnancy, this herb is one of the safer, more effective treatments for nausea of all types. People throughout history have brewed powerful teas with ginger, elderberry and mint to soothe nausea.
(3) Immune Booster
Ginger has potent antiviral activity, making it a first-rate remedy for coughs, colds, bronchial ailments, and the flu. Despite its warming properties, ginger stimulates sweating and helps to cool and control fevers. Ginger is one of our family go-to’s during cold and flu season!
(4) Circulatory Stimulant
Because of the way it encourages circulation, ginger is an important remedy for blood-flow issues like chilblains, cold sores, and cold hands and feet. Ginger also has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels and heart disease risk factors like unbalanced cholesterol levels.
While there are a handful of other herbs that have far reaching healing effects, no other has benefits equal to ginger.
Turmeric, which we covered a few months ago, is a close second, but the active compound gingerol makes ginger a stand-alone medicinal powerhouse. Not to mention ginger is also packed with magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C and fiber.
If you don’t love the powerful zing that ginger brings, start small and work your way up. Here are a few everyday-ways to incorporate ginger into your meals:
- Make a weak ginger tea and use it in place of water when cooking rice.
- Toss a slice of ginger in with beans while they’re soaking or precooking, as it makes them more digestible.
- Lightly steam peeled ginger slices and dip them in a simple sugar syrup to make homemade ginger candies.
- Peel and chop ginger coarsely and add to stir-fries and Thai dishes.
- Because ginger is generally warming and stimulating, use it liberally while making broths, soups, meals in a skillet, and herbal teas.
Have you always wanted to add more healing herbs to your cooking? Or maybe you’re new to cooking and would like to learn more about healthy, nourishing ingredients? No matter the level of culinary prowess, our Herbs that Heal series will guide beginners and experts alike through one new herb a month. You can use these herbs to enhance your enjoyment of both cooking and eating!