Top 5 Herbs for the Winter Season #5
Zingiber Officinale ~ Ginger (Root)
Zingiber Officinale, commonly known as Ginger is the last in my Top '5' herbs that are my go-to during cold and flu season. Ginger (root) is often used to treat nausea particularly when associated with motion sickness or morning sickness. While ginger is an effective treatment for nausea but I also like to sip on a tea made of this root during cold and flu season. Read on to find out why!
In addition to being a commonly used culinary spice, ginger is also a commonly used medicinal pant in Western herbalism and Traditional Chinese Medicine. When describing herbs from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, each herb has a particular set of properties, which can be described as a hot, bitter, sweet, cool etc. These properties contribute to the actions attributed to an herb/plant. One of the properties of ginger is that it is hot. When you think of the last time you ate ginger whether fresh or cooked, you can probably recall the feeling it left on your tongue. In Western herbalism this same property is spoken of a little differently. From this perspective, the actions of ginger include its ability to act as a diaphoretic, meaning it makes you sweat. It is this hot property, ginger's ability to induce warmth that makes it quite useful in breaking up congestion during cold and flu season. Ginger is also antimicrobial, which is a plus during this season as it will support your immune system in fighting off the cold/flu virus.
Due to these properties and actions, while you are sipping on ginger tea (and for some time after) you will feel warmth, particularly in you chest. You will also notice that your nose will begin to run, especially if you follow the recipe below. In fact, you will notice you begin to sniffle once you begin to chop up the ginger...those potent volatile oils at work! While drinking the tea, you may also notice that your cough becomes more productive, meaning that you are more easily able to cough up and out phlegm. You may also notice that those muscle aches have decreased and you are able to rest better.
Take the time to make this delicious tea, you will be glad that you did!
Recipe & Instructions:
Ingredients: 2.5 pounds of ginger root 6-8 lemons Organic cane sugar
Fresh fruit: pineapple, oranges, raspberries, strawberries
Turmeric: 1/2 teaspoon (powdered) or 1 teaspoon fresh per cup
Instructions: Coarse cut all of ginger (no need to peel the skin), place into a pot cover with cool (filtered if available) water and bring to a medium boil. Once a foam appears, continue to boil for 20 minutes.
Roll the lemons with your hand to soften. In a pitcher squeeze the juice of two lemons with pulp then fill 3/4 of the way with the ginger tea. At this time you can add in the fresh fruit. Sweeten to taste with organic cane sugar.
Keep the pitcher of prepared tea in the refrigerator and re-heat in a small pot on the stove.
Cover the ginger left in pot with water and let sit the refrigerator for two days and repeat process. You can repeat this process making a total of three batches and then the Ginger should be discarded.
Hoffman D. (2003). Medical Herbalism-The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT. Healing Arts Press.
Bensky D, Clavey S, Stiger E. (2004). Chinese Herbal Medicine Maeria Medica. Seattle, WA: Eastland Press.
Natural Medicines Database. Last reviewed on May 12, 2017, last updated December 8, 2017. https://naturalmedicines-therapeuticresearch-com.buproxy.bastyr.edu/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=963