Ginger root, which is actually a rhizome, has many culinary and medicinal uses. It is a perennial which is native to tropical Asia. It can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 8-15, or it can be grown indoors as a potted plant. It’s common name is Garden Ginger.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years to cure upset stomachs, nausea, and indigestion no matter what the cause. It can help with motion sickness, morning sickness during pregnancy (pregnant women should take a maximum of 1 gram or 1000 mg per day and for no more than 4 days), and even nausea caused by chemotherapy treatments. It has also been shown to have some anti-inflammatory properties and is often used to treat the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Research is also being done on whether or not ginger can help prevent, fight, or cure cancer. Ginger can also be used alone or in conjunction with other herbs for coughs and sore throats. In any case, it sounds like something that we could all use in our meal planning to help us stay healthy. My family uses it a lot in cooking and juices which is why I looked into it more when I learned that I could grow it myself. Any plant that is useful is worth trying to grow, in my book.
Fresh or candied ginger have the most active compounds, but powdered ginger is also available, usually in capsule form at the health food store. Fresh ginger can be refrigerated (up to 3 weeks) or frozen (up to 6 months). Fresh ginger, and sometimes candied ginger, can be found in the produce department of most grocery stores. Health food stores and many vitamin shops carry candied ginger and ginger capsules.
For nausea and indigestion, ginger is taken mostly in tea form,
although you can also chew some candied ginger or take ginger capsules.
If using candied ginger, put a small piece in your mouth and chew
slowly, swallowing the juices. Don’t eat it like candy. For several tea and ginger ale recipes, check out the new page on my blog for herbal recipes. If it’s not already up, it will be soon.
If you have arthritis, just add ginger to your regular foods. I hear it is particularly good in butternut squash soup, or probably any squash soup. You can even add it to chicken noodle soup for a little zing! If you are having a flare-up, a compress may be the way to go. I found this method in National Geographic Complete Guide to Natural Home Remedies: “Combine 1/4 cup peeled, freshly grated ginger and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Simmer on very low heat, watching closely. Remove from heat just before the water has boiled away. Remove the hot ginger with a slotted spoon and place on a piece of cheesecloth (several layers thick) or a clean kitchen towel. Fold the gauze or cloth around the ginger into the size of a compress and press down, expressing the juice and saturating the fabric. Place the compress over a painful joint and leave in position for about ten minutes.” There is a caution to remove the compress quickly if you experience any discomfort.
For coughs and sore throats, drink ginger tea with honey and lemon.
Now, since we know some of what we can do with ginger, how do we grow it?
I happen to have a link for that.
If you live in a colder region like I do, then you can start ginger indoors in the winter. Read all about it above.
Now go have fun with ginger!
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