Ginger (Zingiber officinale), the Chinese medicinal herb and a popular cooking spice is known to be a superfood due to its medicinal properties. Ginger is known to benefit with relieving nausea, vomiting, cold and flu as well as pain.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years as a singular herb and in Chinese medicinal formulas in its different forms. These forms include fresh, dried and charcoaled ginger. For now, I will talk about fresh ginger.
Fresh Ginger in Chinese Medicine
Fresh Ginger, also known as Sheng Jiang (生姜) is known to be pungent and have warming properties in Chinese medicine. It is known to target the lungs and the stomach, thus plays a beneficial role when it comes to immunity, digestion and pain.
Fresh Ginger for Cold and Flu Relief
The pungent nature of fresh ginger allows ginger to be a diaphoretic. As it promotes sweating, ginger enables the body to sweat out the toxins which may be sickness causing agents. Therefore, it helps with immunity and reducing the symptoms of cold and flu.
Fresh Ginger for Digestion, Nausea and Vomiting
The stomach is known to have a liking to warmth to function optimally. Ginger is able to provide that warmth and enables the stomach to descend digested foods and fluids further down the GI tract instead of upwards and outwards through vomiting or nausea. Ginger is also good to take when dealing with morning sickness or motion sickness.
Additionally, ginger contains phenolic compounds that stimulates the production of saliva and bile, suppresses gastric contractions when fluids and food is moving through the gastrointestinal tract, thus aids with digestion throughout the gastrointestinal tract.
Fresh Ginger for Relieving Pain
Ginger also has anti-inflammatory effects on the body which can help with relieving soreness and pain. Additionally, it acts like an internal heat pack as its warming function helps with reducing pain or stiffness due to cold.
Incorporating Fresh Ginger into your Everyday Diet
You can spice up your meal with a few slices of ginger in your stir-fries, soups and other cooked dishes but the way I like to do it is with tea. This recipe can replace your morning cup of water, maybe even coffee since ginger has that warming kick to wake you up.
Ginger Tea Recipe (Serves One)
Infuse the ginger into warm to hot water. Whether in a cup, a teapot or in a pot on the stove, let it steep for 10 minutes. Then add a squeeze of lemon juice and some honey to taste.
Ginger has warming properties which can cause more harm to people to are generally warmer in body temperature, experience thirst, increased sweating, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, menopause and dryness of skin. Reducing or avoiding the intake of ginger would be advisable.
Eating too much ginger may harm your digestion, cause nausea and profuse sweating so try not to take more than the equivalent of a 2cm slice of ginger per day.
If you are unsure, ask a Chinese medicine practitioner to find out whether ginger is suitable for you.