Ginger is one of the most popular spice remedies. The health benefits of ginger (Zingiber officinale) have been known for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine and India’s Ayurvedic medicine. Ginger is one of the easiest home remedies for morning sickness and some recent studies say it might be helpful in osteoarthritis.
Ginger Health Benefits
Ginger helps to boost circulation, which makes it a warming spice and a great wintertime cooking spice. It is a traditional home remedy for colds and flus, and it also has a beneficial effect on the digestive system. Ginger is often used as a natural remedy for morning sickness, and ginger tea can be helpful in any kinds of nausea, including travel sickness. Patricia Davis in Aromatherapy: an A-Z suggests ginger tea for digestive upsets and even for period pain.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some studies have shown that ginger extract may be helpful in reducing the pain in osteoarthritis (Mayo Clinic: Osteoarthritis, online article). Anyone planning to take ginger supplements should note that side effects may include diarrhea and heartburn, and ginger supplements can interfere with blood thinning medications such as warfarin.
A Simple Recipe for Ginger Tea
Ginger tea is a simple and affordable natural remedy for colds, flus and sore throats. It is also a healthy warming drink for the winter months.
Cut a piece of fresh ginger root into thin slices and use approximately six slices to each cup of tea. (Or do as I do, just grab a piece that’s about the size of a half of your thumb and cut it into a few rough pieces.) Pour boiling water over the slices and leave them to infuse for five to ten minutes. To make the most of your ginger tea, you can boil the slices in the water in a pan, which gives the tea a stronger flavor. Add some honey to taste, and if you wish, the juice of half a lemon to make lemon ginger tea.
Cooking with Ginger
Ginger is an essential spice in Asian cooking, including Chinese and Indian cuisine. Asian cuisine often uses fresh ginger root, and it is now widely available in the West, too. If you can’t find ginger root, most shops stock ground ginger. Try a homemade stir-fry sauce with a little ginger.
Dried and ground ginger is easy to find and it is also a part of many spice mixes. Ground ginger is added to gingerbread, many Christmas cakes and mulled wine. Pickled ginger is a typical accompaniment to sushi. Crystallized ginger is ginger cooked in syrup. Ginger ale can be a good summertime alternative to ginger tea as a quick home remedy to nausea.
Mayo Clinic: Morning sickness (online article)
Photo: Ginger Root by Nino Barbieri (Wikimedia Commons)