I like to keep fresh and dried ginger in my kitchen because its is a very versatile spice. My fridge contains the fresh ginger whereas I keep the dried ginger in my spice rack.
I now keep my spice rack in a dark cupboard due to what my herbal studies taught me. The different coloured spices and herbs may look great on the kitchen counter but the sunlight gets to them and reduces their colour and potency.
I like to add ginger to my casseroles and soups at least once or twice a week. My first option for cooking is fresh ginger but I will use dried if the fresh is unavailable.
Julie Bruton Seal and Matthew Seal managed to inspire me yet again with their wonderful book “Kitchen Medicine”. As a result I made a wonderful ginger, garlic, chilli, and cinnamon soup to help me stave off a cold. Amazingly after eating the soup my sniffing and sneezing stopped and it tasted great too!
Ginger is a wonderful herb to keep in a home apothecary because of its so many uses.
Other Names for Ginger
- Sheng Jian which means a fresh young and tender rhizome. A rhizome is a subterranean plant stem sending out roots and shoots from its nodes.
- Singabera which in Sanskrit means shaped like a horn or antler. Looking at a root the antler term makes sense to me.
- Zingiber officinale is its scientific name.
Making Fresh Ginger Root Decoction
The best way to drink ginger is by making a decoction . Boiling the root this way achieves extraction from the herb. Decoctions are good for roots but also for hard seeds and barks as well.
Here is how I make a ginger decoction;
- Slice 15g / 1/2 oz of fresh root ginger. I slice the roots diagonally because this maximises the extraction from the ginger.
- Place the ginger into a earthenware pot and add 300ml of bottled water. (I always prefer to drink bottled water rather than tap water because I don’t like the idea of consuming the additives that tap water contains).
- Bring the water and ginger mixture to the boil and then cover the pot to simmer for twenty minutes.
- Strain the liquid using a sieve and throw away the ginger.
The boiling and simmering reduces the amount of liquid but still leaves me with a good mug full of decoction.
The best way to drink a herbal decoction is on a empty stomach, at least half an hour before eating. I don’t make more than three days supply at any one time and keep the surplus in the fridge. When required I re-heat the decoction but I only drink a maximum of three cups per day.
My review of the decoction
There is a lovely mild ginger smell to the drink and it has a slight yellowy brown colour.
Drinking the decoction leaves a tingle on my tongue and the back of my throat. It reminds me of eating chilli because the more you have the stronger it tastes and feels in the mouth.
Overall I think that the decoction is a lovely and comforting brew but feel that trying to add any sweetness to it would ruin the taste. However honey, lemon juice or stevia can be added if desired.
Store Bought Ginger Tea
Drinking store bought ginger tea bags is pleasant enough but they are not a patch on the fresh root decoction. The tea has a fainter ginger smell and I don’t get the pleasant tingling sensation drinking these.
In my opinions its definitely worth the effort to make your own drink from scratch. Tea bags are great if you are short on time but if you want to feel the real power of the ginger I suggest having a go at making your own decoction using the root.
Making a Tea with Dried Ginger
- Add 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of dried herb per cup of boiling water
- Cover and infuse for 4-10 minutes depending on taste
- Strain into a cup or mug
It’s wise to note that making a drink with dried ginger produces an even hotter feel and this can be too stimulating for some.
Suggested Herbal Support from Ginger
Possible uses of ginger to support the body are;
- As an anti-inflammatory.
- To ease asthma.
- In the form of a massage oil because used in this way it may ease the pain of arthritis and fibromyalgia.
- Ease menstrual cramps.
- To alleviate cold, cough and flu symptoms. Putting ginger into a bath can even help to help sweat out a cold. When I do this I add epsom salts and muscle soak bubble bath to the water as well. A nice 20 minute soak seems to do the trick. Try adding the dried ginger to the water by placing it inside a sock or cloth bag and running the hot water tap over it.
- To help balance the cholesterol in the blood.
- For its possible anitidepressant effects.
- To help ease nausea – This includes morning sickness, alleviating the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, and the nauseous feeling after having an anaesthetic.
- For travel sickness – Legend says that fisherman chewed on raw ginger to alleviate their sea sickness. Nowadays chewing ginger is one of the number one aids used for motion sickness.
- As migraine support.
- For boosting poor circulation which may also help with cold hands and feet in later life.
- To assist digestion because it supports absorption through the stomach.
- Act as an expectorant because it supports the clearing of mucus from the throat and lungs.
- To ease flatulence.
Make a compress by soaking a cloth in warm ginger tea / decoction and apply it to the painful area on the body.
Examples of suggested uses for the compress are to;
- Ease mouth problems.
- Ease the pain of kidney stones.
Cautions with regards to using ginger
- Contra indicated in kidney disease.
- Best taken with food.
- Dried ginger may be too hot and stimulating for some.
- Some people may suffer heartburn after taking ginger.
Ginger Essential Oil
Using pure essential ginger oil in a diffuser very quickly rewards me with the potent ginger aroma.
Ways that inhaling the oil may help support the body include;
- Being warming and helpful to the digestive tract.
- Tonify the stomach and spleen.
- Ease the body from cold, sneezing and respiratory problems.
- Using to promote an appetite.
I buy my ginger pure essential oil from Freshskin Beauty. This is because I have used their oils in the past and I am very happy with their reasonable prices and quality;
To find out more about aromatherapy take a look at my aromatherapy post;
Magically ginger is said to be an aphrodisiac which induces passion. In ancient times it was often put into love spells.
Now that my ginger post is at an close go and enjoy this fiery spice!
Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. In fact I believe its best to try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check that there is no adverse reaction.
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any of these suggestions don’t contradict them.
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