Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger is a perennial creeping plant that spreads through rhizomes. The green stems grow to a height of one to three feet tall. It is native to tropical regions of the world. An interesting historical note is Henry VIII of England told the mayor of London to use this herb as an herbal medicine for the plague.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Ginger is most frequently used as a digestive aid. It increases saliva and other digestive fluids. It also helps with indigestion, gas pain, cramping and diarrhea. It is good for motion sickness and is used by countless pregnant women to alleviate morning sickness. It has anti-inflammatory qualities that help it to relieve swelling and pain. It is used frequently for arthritis, rheumatism and muscle spasms.
Ginger stimulates the circulation, helps purify the blood, cleanses the bowels and kidneys and nourishes the skin. It has also been used to treat asthma, bronchitis and a few other respiratory problems. It is also useful to break fevers.
Ginger can be given to children over the age of two years for gastrointestinal upset, nausea and cramping. Dosages should be adjusted according to the child's weight.
Externally Oil can be used topically on painful areas.
Other Uses It is a frequent ingredient in Asian cooking. It is also considered an aphrodisiac and is mentioned in the Kama Sutra.
Root The root or rhizome is the portion of the plant that is used medicinally.
Ginger may interact with some prescription medications. It can thin the blood, so if you are on blood thinning medications, use caution. Although studies have not shown this herb interacts with these medications, it is always wise to be careful.
Possible side effects include bloating, gas, heartburn and nausea.
Preparation and Dosage
You should not take more than 4 grams in a single day. This includes any amount that may be added to your food.
For nausea, gas and indigestion use 2 to 4 grams of fresh root or 30 to 90 drops of tincture daily. To prevent vomiting, take 2 capsules three times daily. Alternatively, you can chew a slice of the fresh herb as needed.
For arthritis, take 2 to 4 grams of fresh juice, extract or tea every day. Topical herb oil may be rubbed into sore areas. The shredded fresh herb can also be applied as a poultice to painful areas.
For menstrual cramps, headache, sore throat or cold and flu, brew 2 tablespoons of fresh shredded ginger in hot water and drink 2 to 3 times per day. Alternatively, a drop of oil or a few slices of fresh ginger can be dropped in hot water and the steam can be inhaled.