Herb of the Month: Ginger

Starr_070730-7818_Zingiber_officinale
Photo by Forest & Kim Starr Zingiber officinale (root). Location: Maui, Foodland Pukalani

Angel Fox 06/28/2020
Tags: ginger, herbalism, herbs, medicinal herbs, ginger medicinal, ginger tea

I have wanted to incorporate more herbs into my daily life and decided to start first thing in the morning by making tea. I am also an avid coffee drinker in the morning so trying to do both seemed a little much for me, but I did so anyway. As I sat down for my morning coffee I sat my ginger tea next to it and decided well, let me give that a try first. It was so warming, earthy, and delicious! I tend to run cold, my digestive system is sluggish most days, and I also have a history with irritable bowl disease. The minute that ginger tea hit my tongue and I swallowed I felt this warming almost tender glow radiate down into my stomach. The heat was not one that was over powering but one of a warm bath on a rainy day. It appeared to be exactly what my body needed and I proceeded to drink the entire cup even before my coffee! The next morning I prepared ginger tea again and now I feel I can no longer go without it. I never would have expected that response as for so long coffee has been my morning go to. It appears I need that warming stimulant to get me going in the morning maybe even more than my beloved cup of Joe. I also find myself drinking repeated cups throughout the day.

Next I went on to try fresh ginger. I found some at my local grocers and peeled the outer skin to get to the light yellow flesh inside. I chopped up little pieces and inhaled the fresh scent. I found it to be earthy, pungent, spicy, and intoxicating. The more I smelled the strength of the initial fresh cut diminished. I put the pieces of it into my chicken soup I was making that night with butternut squash, kale, and asparagus, along with a little salt and pepper, the ginger added a lovely warmth and hint of spice that was perfect for the meal for both I and my little dog Charlie. Charlie has been having an upset stomach and as I cannot have garlic or onion because of my IBD that meal was also perfect for him! (Kale is not advised for dogs and I did not include any for him.) The carminative qualities of ginger helped both of us by warming up our digestive systems and soothing the pain and spasms. As an antiemetic it helped charlie by preventing anymore vomiting.


Ginger can be made into beverages, wine, cordials, liqueurs, candies, tinctures, ginger ale, gingerbread, and gingersnaps. It is also a very popular ingredient in Asian, Japanese, Indian, the Caribbean, and North African Cuisine. It can be added to fruits, meats, fish, preserves, pickles, and a variety of vegetables, soups, and stews. It partners well with tumeric, galangal cardamom, chamomile, fennel, garlic and calamus.

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I noticed that after drinking ginger tea every day, for a couple weeks I did have some bowel disruption. It could be that perhaps I had too much ginger but as I also have Ulcerative Colitis issues I always have trouble knowing what triggered the event. Ginger can be known to cause diarrhea in high doses so, I cut back on the amount of ginger tea and dried ginger I was eating (which was a lot) because I loved it so much!

Ginger also functions as an emmenagogue, which brings warming and soothing to cramping in the uterus. It also brings blood flow when experiencing slow or very little menstrual flow. Ginger tea can be very soothing during that time of the month.

When applied topically, ginger can also bring that warming effect to sore muscles or areas that need clearing away of stagnant fluids. It improves circulation and reduces pain. This can be helpful for bruises, sprains, strains, and externally over the belly for indigestion and cramps.

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If anyone you know has headaches that are cold, constricting-type tensions headaches, migraines, or cluster headaches, ginger acts as an anodyne. Anodynes ease pain through the reception of the brain, these can also be known as analgesics or painkillers.

Caution should be taken when using ginger for those taking blood thinning medication as it can act as an additional blood thinner, and avoid taking ginger if you already have a heavy menstrual flow.

Over all Ginger is a great herb to have in your herbal medicine cabinet, in your to go pack for sudden GI upset, in the kitchen, and in delightful beverages. It is no wonder it was so widely used in ancient times all the way to the present. Ginger is most certainly our friend.

Published by Angel Crow

Herbalist, Artist

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