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.

Cough_mixture_ingredients_(16431581693)

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.

Ginger_powder_3

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.

Marshmallow

Angel Crow 07/05/2020

Althaea_officinalis01
Photo : follavoine.net Tabanac (Gironde, France) 2004

Marshmallow

cold, moist, relaxant

Althaea officinalis
Common Names: marsh mallow, swamp mallow,
Taste: sweet, salty, bland
Family: Malvaceae
Zone: hardy to zone 4
Plant Description: Plant grows 3-4 feet with stems usually dying off in Autumn, they can reach heights of 6.5 feet in some cases. The leaves are slightly petioled, roundish, ovate-cordate, 2 to 3 in in length, and about 114 inch wide. The leaves are soft and velvety on both sides.

Cultivation: Prefers moist heavy soil, marsh like areas, it wants to have soil consistently moist, but not swampy, it needs good drainage, and no standing water. Plant spacing is 1 foot apart. Mulch is required in the first year to aid in moisture in soil. Roots are harvest-able after the third Fall. Remove a portion of the root and replant the roots to save the plant.
Propagation: Seeds require cold stratification for a few weeks in the refrigerator before planting.
Preservation: Store dried roots in a dry dark place in a sealed container.
Medicinal Parts: Leaves and Roots
Actions: demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, nutritive, emollient,
vulnerary, antimicrobial, moistening
Affinities: mucous membranes; digestive, respiratory, and urinary systems
Notable constituents: : flavonoids, phenolic acids, asparagine, pectin (root 11 – 35%),
arabinogalactans, mucilage (root 5 – 35%, leaf 6 – 16%)

Medicinal Applications:

  • Brings water to many different types of tissues in the body, stomach, respiratory, urinary, musculoskeletal, and skin – it has the greatest affinity for the digestive system, making it excellent for GI tract inflammation.
  • Useful for stomach inflammation, upset, heartburn, GERD and digestive dryness, including constipation.
  • Soothing to celiac or allergic reactions in the intestines as an adjunct to diet modification/allergen elimination.
  • Soothing to stomach ulcers, intestinal ulcerations, diverticulitis, Ulcerative Colitis, etc.
  • Soothing demulcent qualities act on the urinary system, useful for cystitis and
    urinary tract infections.
  • Moistening expectorant for tight, dry coughs and respiratory spasms.
  • Moistening to dry skin, particularly from heat, salt, and sun damage.
  • Can be used as a poultice for burns and wounds, soothing inflammation, treating infection, and as a stimulant the healing processes.
  • Historically used for problems as severe as sepsis and gangrene.

In practice:

  • demulcent action: infuse marshmallow root in cold water – hot water will not
    extract the mucilaginous constituents, leave herb soaking for 24 hours and strain, if possible.
  • Marshmallow is very important for dry constitutions, and for people who do not hold on to water well. Even it a lot of water is had the person will feel dehydrated. Marshmallow helps the water to ‘stick’ due to its mucilage and mineral content.
  • Also a very important herb for dealing with gut inflammation, particularly heartburn and GERD. (Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s)
  • Marshmallow leaf has higher affinity for the respiratory system, while the root is
    greater related to the digestive and urinary systems.

Cautions: Very thick mucilaginous infusions of marshmallow root will inhibit
absorption of medications taken concurrently; take medications separate from
marshmallow by at least an hour.

History: Mallow was an eaten as a vegetable by the Romans; a dish of marsh mallow was considered a delicacy.. Prospero Alpini wrote in 1592 that a plant of the mallow type was eaten by the Egyptians. The poor of Syria subsisted for weeks on herbs, of which marshmallow was one of the most common. When boiled first and fried with onions and butter, the roots are said to form a nice dish and in times of scarcity because of the failure of the crops it becomes a staple in Syria.

Sources:

Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism, Materia Medica, https://commonwealthherbs.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Althaea_officinalis
HOW TO GROW MARSHMALLOW PLANTS (ALTHAEA OFFICINALIS),” https://practicalselfreliance.com/marshmallow-plants/

Cinnamon

Cinnamonum verum
Bark, powder and dried flowers from Cinnamomum verum plant, by Simon A. Eugster 

Angel Fox, 06/30/2020

Cinnamon
warm, moist, tonifying

Cinnamomum verum (grown only on Sri Lanka)
Cinnamomum cassia
(common in baking)

Common Names: verum: Ceylon cinnamon tree, true cinnamon tree, cassia: Chinese cassia or Chinese cinnamon
Taste: pungent, sweet, astringent (cassia tends to be warmer, more fragrant, and stronger tasting)
Family: Lauraceae
Zone: 10 through 12
Plant Description: Cinnamomum verum: A fast growing tree reaching heights of 30-50 feet tall, The leaves are ovate-oblong shaped and are 3-7 inches long.  The flowers are arranged on many branches in clusters, or panicle inflorescence.  The flowers are greenish in color and have a distinct odor. The fruit is a purple 1-cm drupe (stone fruit) containing a single seed. It is a member of the laurel family, native to Sri Lanka and India. 

Cinnamomum cassia: It is an evergreen tree originating in southern China, grows 30-50 feet tall, greyish bark and hard elongated leaves that are 4–6 in long and have a reddish color when young. Chinese cassia’s flavor tends to be less delicate than that of Ceylon cinnamon. Its bark is thicker, difficult to crush, and is rougher in texture than that of Ceylon cinnamon.

Vietnamesischer_Cassiazimt
Cinnamomum cassia by Cinnea

Cultivation: Cinnamon is a tropical plant and grows best in warm areas with high humidity and plenty of rainfall, 50 inches to 98 inches, average temperature of 80.6°F. Cinnamon can be grown in a wide range of soils but the best bark is obtained when trees are grown in sandy soils rich in humus, full sun will tolerate some shade.
Propagation:
Cinnamon can be grown from seed or cuttings. 
Preservation:
store powder and bark in a dry dark place. 
Medicinal Parts:
 Inner bark (powdered, chopped, or as whole sticks)
Actions:
astringent, demulcent, relaxant, diffusive, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, hypoglycemic, mild circulatory stimulant, mild emmenagogue
Affinities: digestive and circulatory systems
Notable constituents: volatiles (essential oils) to 4% (cinnamaldehyde 65 – 75%, eugenol 4 – 10%), aromatic resins, coumarins (verum <.02%, cassia .4 – .8%), mucilage (2 – 3.7%),
condensed tannins, iron, magnesium, zinc.

Medicinal Applications:

  • When prepared in water cinnamon is both warming and demulcent, it is excellent for cold, dry constitutions and conditions, including upset due to dryness in the digestive and nervous systems. (Winter climates often have dry and cold conditions). 
  • Diffusive and warming relaxant relieves menstrual cramps, cold and sluggish digestion, and headaches caused by deficient circulation.
  • Mild emmenagogue helpful for sluggish and painful menstruation. 
  • Helpful for digestive complaints related to overeating, bloating, and sluggish digestion.
  • Astringent when the dried powder is consumed by itself, or in capsules (to reach the digestive tract directly) useful for diarrhea.
  • Due to its warming and stimulating effect can be helpful for boosting vitality, improve circulation, and clearing congestion.
  • Psychological relaxant effective for depression and anxiety. Warming for the emotional self. 
  • Cinnamon’s essential oils combat fungal and bacterial overgrowth when applied
    topically or in the digestive tract.
  • Useful adjunct to dietary modifications for those attempting to lower their blood sugar levels.

In Practice:

  • One of the very few warming demulcents in the Western materia medica, cinnamon is favored for cold, dry constitutions, helpful for cold, dry digestive problems and nervous system complaints.
  • Cinnamon scent is very comforting, especially with rose, because the scents of these plants can often bring on feelings of love and safety.
  • Cinnamomum verum and Cinnamomun cassia have somewhat different flavors and actions: C. verum is sweeter and less astringent, with greater diaphoretic activity; cassia has greater documented capacity for lowering blood sugar levels.

Rate of Use: No more than 2g a day.
Cautions:
 Cinnamon effects blood glucose, diabetics taking Glucophage (Metforman) or using insulin injections need to monitor their blood glucose levels. C. cassia has a blood thinning effect and contains higher levels of coumarin and those with existing liver conditions should avoid large doses (2g or more a day). Cinnamon’s mucilage causes it to congeal if infused in wine or other low-alcohol menstruum and this may harbor mold. Take caution when inhaling the powder as it can cause coughing. As a mild emmenagogue caution has been recommended in the early stages of pregnancy, but there are no known cases of a miscarriage resulting from cinnamon use. 

Sources:

“Cinnamon,” Plant Village,  https://plantvillage.psu.edu/topics/cinnamon/infos/diseases_and_pests_description_uses_propagation

Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism, Materia Medica, https://commonwealthherbs.com/

Gladstar, Rosemary, Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs, A Beginner’s Guide, North Adams, Ma, Storey Publishing, 2012

Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved
The Adoring Crow Publishing, Hopedale, Ma
theadoringcrow@gmail.com

Ginger Recipes

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The recipes below were adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs, A Beginner’s Guide

Ginger Lemon-Aide

For medicinal purposes it is best to use fresh lemons because bottled lemon juice is heated and the heating process removes much of the medicinal qualities.

Ingredients: 

  • 4-6 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger root.
  • 1-2 Lemons
  • 1 quart water
  • Honey (or liquid sweetener) to taste

To Make:

Combine the ginger with 1 quart cold water in a saucepan. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let it steep for 10-15 minutes. While the ginger is steeping, squeeze the lemons. Strain the ginger from the tea in a strainer, filter, or cheese cloth. Stir the lemon juice and honey to taste. You can drink it hot or cold.

Alternative:  It is best medicinally to drink this hot, but you can make a a summer drink with a concentrated infusion with 2 cups of water instead of 1 quart. Add lemon juice and honey, and then refrigerate to cool. Jest before serving add an equal amount of sparkling water.

Ginger Syrup

Ingredients: 

  • A large hand of fresh ginger root.
  • Honey (enough to cover ginger in saucepan)

To Make: 

Peel the garlic and grate it into a saucepan. Add just enough honey to cover the ginger. Simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the ginger is soft and mushy and blends well with the honey. Pour the ginger syrup into a jar and refrigerate. It should last a few weeks in the fridge.

Alternative: You can also turn this syrup into a jam by putting it in a blender and using 2 tablespoons arrow root powder or cornstarch for each cup of syrup, as a thickener and blend. Refrigerate.

Hot Ginger Balls

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons ginger root powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons carob or unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon water

To Make: 

Combine the ginger, carob or cocoa powder, and cinnamon in a bowl, mix in enough honey so that the mixture takes on the texture of bread dough. Add 1/2 teaspoon of water, mix well, and knead for a dew minutes. (Add more ginger or cocoa/carob to thicken or a little water to thin). Roll into pea sized balls. Let them dry at room temperature or in a dehydrator. Once dry store in an airtight jar with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the jar in a cool dark location. They will keep for 3-4 weeks, or longer if refrigerated.

To Use: Take two or three balls as needed to calm an upset stomach. For motion or seasickness take 2-3 one hour before traveling, then take as needed.

Hot Ginger Poultice

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated ginger root or 4-6 tablespoons of powdered ginger.
  • Water
  • Dishcloth (large enough to fold and cover an area of the body)
  • Hot water bottle

To Make:

Bring a kettle of water to a bowl. Put the grated or powdered ginger in a bowl and add just enough boiling water to make a thick paste. On a plate or baking sheet poor boiling hot water over the dish cloth until it is soaked. Then place the ginger over the the middle of the hot cloth. Let the cloth and ginger cool just enough so it won’t burn the skin. Fold the cloth over the ginger.

To Use:

Apply the poultice directly to the area in need, pelvis, stomach, lungs, muscles, etc. Ginger is antispasmodic and a great digestive, menstrual cramp, and rheumatoid arthritis aid. Keep the poultice warm by placing the hot water bottle over it. Leave in place for 15-29 minutes until cramps subside. This remedy is most effective served with Ginger Lemon-Aide.

Source:

Gladstar, Rosemary, Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs, A Beginner’s Guide, North Adams, Ma, Storey Publishing, 2012

Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved
The Adoring Crow Publishing, Hopedale, Ma
theadoringcrow@gmail.com

Herbalist Terminology

Herbalist Terminology

Acrid- gives the feeling of bile in the back of the throat, signals a relaxant effect.

Adjunct- something joined or added to another thing but not essentially a part of it.

Adaptogen- a substance that helps the bodies natural ability to deal with stress. They have the ability to adapt their function based off of the environment and needs in the body.

Alterative– a substance used empirically to alter favorably the course of an ailment.

Angina– condition marked by severe pain in the chest, often also spreading to the shoulders, arms, and neck, caused by an inadequate blood supply to the heart. It can also refer to a condition where there is intense localized pain.

Anodyne- something that eases pain, good for cold, constricting headaches, or tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches.

Anti-inflammatory- used to reduce inflammation.

Anticatarrhal- a substance that helps remove excess mucous from the body mainly used in ear, nose and throat infections.

Antiemetic- a substance that prevents vomiting.

Antimicrobial- destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and especially pathogenic microorganisms.

Antispasmodic- a substance used to relieve spasm of involuntary muscle.

Arrhythmia- problem with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat. It means that the heart beats too quickly or too slowly. It can also be with an irregular pattern. When the heart beats faster than normal, it is called tachycardia.

Astringent- a substance that causes the contraction of skin cells and other body tissues, and relating to taste or smell being slightly acidic or bitter.

Cardiovascular- relating to the heart and blood vessels.

Carminative- medicine that relieves flatulence.

Cholagogue-  a medicinal agent which promotes the discharge of bile from the system, purging it downward.

Choleretic (choleric)- Choleretics are substances that increase the volume of secretion of bile from the liver as well as the amount of solids secreted.

Cordate: In botany, heart-shaped leaf, with the petiole or stem attached to the notch.

Coumarin- is a colorless crystalline solid with a sweet odor resembling the scent of vanilla and a bitter taste. It is found in many plants, where it may serve as a chemical defense against predators.

Decoction-the liquor resulting from concentrating the essence of a substance by heating or boiling, especially a medicinal preparation made from a plant. “a decoction of a root.” The action or process of extracting the essence of something.

Demulcent- a substance that relieves inflammation or irritation, and one that relieves irritation of the mucus membranes of the mouth by creating a film.

Dentate- Describing a leaf margin that is toothed, with outward-pointing notches. Leaf margins finely toothed in this way are termed denticulate.

Diaphoretic- a medicine that induces perspiration.

Diffusive- relating to or involving the intermingling of substances by the natural movement of their particles.

Diuretic- causing increased passing of urine.

Edema- a condition characterized by an excess of watery fluid collecting in the cavities or tissues of the body.

Glucophage- “A drug used to treat diabetes mellitus (a condition in which the body cannot control the level of sugar in the blood). It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. Glucophage decreases the amount of glucose (a type of sugar) released into the bloodstream from the liver and increases the body’s use of the glucose. It is a type of antidiabetic agent. Also called metformin hydrochloride.”

Hepatic- relating to the Liver.

Emmenagogue- a substance that stimulates or increases menstrual flow.

Expectorant- a medicine which promotes the secretion of sputum by the air passages, used to treat coughs.

GERD- gastroesophageal reflux disease

Hepatic- relating to the liver.

Hypoglycemic- abnormal decrease of sugar in the blood.

Laxative- substances that loosen stools and increase bowel movements. They are used to treat and prevent constipation.

Menstruate (plural Menstrua)- solvent, the liquid chosen to extract the chemicals, or constituents, from the herb.

Mucilage- a polysaccharide substance extracted as a viscous or gelatinous solution from plant roots, seeds, etc., and used in medicines and adhesives.

Nervine- a substance used for relating to the nerves or nervous system.

Notch- In botany, very coarsely dentate, the upper side of the teeth being nearly horizontal, as in the leaves of Rhus (Sumac)

Nutritive- providing nourishment; nutritious.

Palpitations- a noticeably rapid, strong, or irregular heartbeat due to agitation, exertion, or illness.

Peristalsis- the involuntary constriction and relaxation of the muscles of the intestine or another canal, creating wave-like movements that push the contents of the canal forward.

Petioled- In botany, the petiole is a stalk that attaches a leaf to the plant stem.

Relaxant- a drug used to promote relaxation or reduce tension.

Rubefacient- is a substance for topical application that produces redness of the skin, e.g. by causing dilation of the capillaries and an increase in blood circulation.

Sedative- promoting calm or inducing sleep

Tachycardia- When the heart beats faster than normal.

Tannin- a yellowish or brownish bitter-tasting organic substance present in some galls, barks, and other plant tissues, consisting of derivatives of gallic acid, used in leather production and ink manufacture. Food sources of condensed tannins are: coffee, tea, wine, grapes, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, apples, apricots, barley, peaches, dry fruits, mint, basil, rosemary, cinnamon etc. In large amounts, tannic acid can cause side effects such as stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, and liver damage. Regular consumption of herbs with high tannin concentrations seems to be associated with an increased chance of developing nose or throat cancer.

Tonify- to tone up. “Tonic herbalism, however, builds your foundation of health– physical as well as mental & emotional. . . When something is classified as a tonic, it implies that it is meant to be taken regularly over the long-term with the purpose of toning and strengthening the body’s systems.  Tonic herbal formulas generally include herbs that are very gentle, safe and nourishing”

Varicosity– the quality or state of being abnormally or markedly swollen or dilated 

Vasodilating- the widening of blood vessels

Vasoconstriction- the narrowing of blood vessels

Vulnerary- of use in the healing of wounds.

Sourced from multiple web dictionaries. 

Keener, Rachael , “What is Tonic Herbalism”, Urban Moonshine, https://www.urbanmoonshine.com/blogs/blog/what-is-tonic-herbalism

Merium Webster

 

Ginger

Starr_070730-7818_Zingiber_officinale

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

Ginger

hot, dry, relaxant

Zingiber off.

Taste: Earthy, pungent, aromatic
Family: Zingiberacea
Zone: 10 Ginger is native to southeast Asia. 
Plant Description: Ginger reaches a height of 4 feet and spreads 1.5 feet, it is a tropical herbaceous perennial with a branched and knotty rhizome, the leaves are grass like, 6-12 inches long and pointed. It rarely flowers but when it does it is an astounding sight. The flowers are sterile, fragrant, conelike and vary in shades white with purple streaks.

Cultivation:Ginger requires well-draining soil that is both moist and fertile, full-sun to part shade. It thrives in hot, humid climates. Ginger plant is not hardy and should be grown in pots in colder climates in a mixture of loam and sand in a large pot.
Propagation: Purchase green roots and plant the eyes in loam, sand, peat moss, and compost.
Preservation:Pull up ginger 8-12 months after it is planted and remove the leaf stalks and fibers of the root. Use it fresh, dried, pickled, or in a tincture to preserve.
Medicinal Parts: rhizome
Actions: stimulant, carminative, rubefacient, diffusive, relaxant, antispasmodic, stomachic, antiemetic, anodyne, emmenagogue, diaphoretic
Affinities: digestive, circulatory, and reproductive systems
Notable constituents: volatiles 1-3% (zingiberene 20-30%), oleoresin 4-7.5% (gingerol, shogaols)

Ginger_tea

Medicinal Applications:

  • Ginger is a great carminative. A carminative helps move a sluggish digestive system by warming it up and getting it moving again. It is great for cold conditions in the digestive system, or ones where things just seem to be moving slowly, undigested, spasming, gassy, and painful. The warming action of ginger brings that gentle fire to get things going! It releases pain by reducing spasms, and constrictions.
  • It is also an antiemetic, or a substance that prevents vomiting. Uses would include, food poisoning, stomach flu, medications, chemotherapy, morning sickness, and motion sickness.  It also aids in the removal of worms and parasites in the digestive tract.
  • Ginger is a warming diaphoretic, which means it is helpful for encouraging a healthy fever to respond to infection.
  • This warming herb is also an emmenagogue, or a substance that increases menstrual flow. It is not to be confused with some herbs that are contraindicated for pregnancy as ginger is very helpful in aiding the fetus to get proper nourishment. It is also a major food substance in Asia where all pregnant woman eat it regularly.
  • A Rubefacient, ginger aids in bringing warmth to the skin and muscles when applied topically by increasing bloodflow where it is applied. It improves circulation, nourishing tissues and clears away stagnant fluids, while reducing pain. In this regard is is helpful for bruises, sprains, strains, rheumatoid arthritis, and externally over the belly for indigestion and menstrual cramps.
  • Ginger contains anodyne which is good for cold, constricting headaches, or tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches.
  • Ginger poultices can relieve lung congestion when placed on the chest, and can relieve gas, and menstrual cramps when applied to the abdomen.
  • Chewing fresh ginger or candies, or drinking ginger tea can help to relieve a sore throat.

Ginger_powder_3

In Practice:

  • Ginger is very often given to those with digestive complaints. It can be incorporated into a gut health tea blend, taken in tincture, pill, and candy form for digestive unease.
    • It is taken for painful menstrual cycles with scant bleeding, or when someone lacks a heavy flow.
  • As a tincture, ginger works really well for severe nausea, or when someone cannot keep anything down. Candied ginger also works well for this.
  • Fresh ginger is diffusive, it moves blood and warmth outwards to the surface and periphery (outer limits).
  • Dried ginger is more warming centrally and heats to the core, especially the digestive tract and reproductive systems.

Rate of Use:

  • Take up to 6 cups of tea, or 1.5 teaspoons of tincture (6 droppers full) a day.
  • For nausea take 1 to 2 ginger capsules of dried ginger every 2 to 6 hours.
  • Grate fresh ginger into a poultice for gas, menstrual pain, and lung congestion.
  • Ginger can be added to other herb formulas both for its taste and its medicinal qualities.
  • Its medicinal actions also apply when added to foods and treats.

Cautions:

  • Ginger contains a blood thinning effect, use caution with those taking blood thinning medications. Its emmenagogue effect will increase the menstrual flow of those with already heavy cycles.
  • Do not confuse medicinal ginger with wild ginger (Asarum canadense) an ornamental ground cover.
  • Very large amounts of ingested ginger may cause nausea.

Companions:

  • tumeric, galangal, cardamom, chamomile, fennel, garlic, calamus

Magical uses:

  • Traditionally ginger was used in magical applications for money, healing, love, and energy.

History:

Ginger has been used medicinally for over 5,000 years. It was used by the Indians and Chinese as a tonic to treat common complaints. It originated in Southeast Asia but was cultivated widely in many other regions. By the first century traders took the root to the Mediterranean region. The Roman Empire used it quite regularly until the empire fell. Its use increased as did its price. In medieval times it was used to create candies. And in the 14th century it cost as much as a live sheep!

Sources:

Kraska, Martha E. American Gardening Series HERBS, New York NY, Prentice Hall Gardening, 1992

Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism, Materia Medica, https://commonwealthherbs.com/

Keville, Kathi and The American Herb Association, Complete Book of Herbs Using Herbs to Enrich Your Garden, Home, And Health, Lincolnwood IL, Publications International, Ltd., 1997

Murphy-Hiscock, Arin, The Green Witch, Your Complete Guide to The Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils and more, Avon MA, Adams Media, 2017

Bremness, Lesley, The Complete Book of Herbs, A Practical Guide, to Growing & Using Herbs, Viking Studio Books, New York NY, 1988

Web:
Priebe, Katie, “Know Your Spice: A Brief History of Ginger.” Mother Earth Living, Ogden Publications, Inc., 3/16/2011, https://www.motherearthliving.com/natural-health/know-your-spice-a-brief-history-of-ginger

Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved
The Adoring Crow Publishing, Hopedale, Ma
theadoringcrow@gmail.com

Spring Flower Pressing

Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica, Flowers

Flowers and leaves after pressing from the Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) and Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera).

Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica, Stem and leaves.
Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica
Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica, and Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) leaf.

Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) in my backyard

I am wild harvesting to formulate small batch hand poured intention candles. These are Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) flower petals. It is a very tall tree and these were ground collected. The tulip tree is in the magnolia family and is also known as the Tulip Poplar or the canoe tree.There are two species, the Asian and the North American. The North American variety reaches 58 m (192 feet) in height.The tulip tree is rivaled in height in eastern forests only by the white pine, loblolly pine, and eastern hemlock. The flowers are 3-10cm in diameter and form after 15 years in age. Its wood has been used traditionally for furniture, and cabinetry and is only slightly rot resistant and not used in shipbuilding, but rather small crafts. Native Americans used the large trunks to create dugout canoes due to it’s fine grain.

Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) this particular tree is infested with bittersweet which I am in the process of removing.

Traditionally, the inner bark was used as a tonic medicine, and the highly astringent leaves were applied topically for fever, sprains, bruises and rheumatic swellings. It has also been used to overcome a long illness and stimulates the appetite and improves digestion. It has been used as a Native American heart remedy and after a stroke. The root bark induces sweating. Some herbalists use for autoimmune diseases.

Ground harvested Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) petals

The tulip tree has been known spiritually as a flower essence to overcome low self esteem, bring spiritual nourishment, and a reconnection with your spiritual nature. To connect to a plants spirit you approach it with an open heart. You ask the plant spirits if they would be willing to teach you. And you wait. Trees move in a different time awareness than we do. You visit again and follow your inner calling, it may be small, an inner knowing or where you feel called, an image, a melody. Plant spirits may talk to you in a way only you understand and usually not in words. Thank the spirits for listening and leave offerings of tobacco, or milk and honey.I have been helping the Tulp trees in my backyard that are covered in bittersweet invasive vine.

Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) upclose of flower from wiki commons