When you hear the word “ginger” you may think of ginger bread men or ginger bread houses. The scent of ginger brings me to a happy place involving holidays and food with the family. It brings me joy, happiness and calm.
Ginger is used in aromatherapy to bring about self awareness, stimulate energy, love money and encourage protection, courage, and success.
We drink ginger tea a lot at our house from treating indigestion and upset stomach, to helping ease pain at the end of the day. Ginger is a well used and well loved herb by many, perhaps because it is so simple and easy to use with great success. This is why it is a must have in our family “medicine cabinet“.
Zingiber officinalis or African ginger has been used in cooking and medicine in Africa, India, the middle east, and China since ancient times. In the kitchen ginger is very versatile and ads a nice sweet/spicy tang to just about any food, especially spicy dishes.
The ginger “root” is the edible and medicinal part of the plant. I would like to note that it is actually a rhyzome that we eat and not the root, as the rhyzome is like an underground stem which has its own roots to get nutrition from the ground.
The essential oil is distilled from the root and has a distinct rich and spicy smell that blends well with most citrus oils, lavender, oregano and petigrain. I personally add it to my sore muscle oil blend and it is heavenly.
Ginger tones the digestive system and stimulates production of gastric juices. It is know n to increase appetite, aide in digestion, and releive cramps and spasms in the body, especially of the stomach and uterus. It can ease diarrhea, colic and flatulence. I diffused Ginger EO in the air to help ease my morning sickness and help calm colic in my son. It is known to calm quesasy stomach. You can take a capsule of dried ginger root an hour before getting on a boat or ship to ease travel sicness and sniff the oil every half hour during your journey.
It is a great pain reliever and has warming properties which make it a good oil to include in blends to treat arthritis, rheumatism, muscular aches and pains, poor circulation, sprains and strains. Only use a little bit though! This is a HOT oil and can cause redness and irritation.
It is also used in a tea to treat catarrh, chills, colds, coughs, fever, influensa, sinusitis, and sore throats. It reduces fever by increasing sweating.
You can use the fresh pressed juice to treat minor burns, boils, sprains and infected hang nails because it promotes blood flow and healing, disinfects, and alleveates pain.
It is known to improve circulation (because of its blood thinning properties) and to help prevent or alleviate cramps.
In ancient Rome they would put ginger in wine for its aphrodisiac powers.
You can use Ginger in a diffuser if you do not feel it is best for you to drink ginger tea. I find diffusing ginger for my stomach issues to be very healing and uplifting.
There are rarely side effects. If you suffer from gallstones,inflammatory bowels or ulcers DO NOT TAKE GINGER INTERNALLY. It is also a blood thinner so do not take ginger internally while on blood thinners. Pregnancy is debatable safety wise. There are many many people who say ginger root tea is perfectly safe during pregnancy. I lived on ginger and peppermint tea during my first very hard pregnancy with constant morning sickness. Other sources say ginger tea can cause contractions of the uterus and lead to miscarriage. This risk is dramatically lower after the first trimester. So use with caution during pregnancy keeping good tabs of how your body feels. If you get cramped stop drinking it and use common sense.
Looking for a good source for ginger? You can get fresh rhyzomes from your local grocery store. I keep a fresh root in my veggie basket on the counter by the garlic so it is easy to grab and use. I get my dried herbs here and my essential oils and diffusers here.
How do you use ginger? Medicinally? Culinary? Any favorite recipes with ginger in them? Please share!
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