Plant Profile: Ginger

Ginger
(Zingiber officinale)





Family: ZINGIBERACEAE

Energetics: Warming (Fresh Root) Hot (Dried root), Drying

Taste: Pungent.

Tissue States: Cold. Damp (stagnation)

Systems Affected: Circulatory. Cardiovascular. Digestive. Reproductive. Respiratory.

Parts Used: Root

Key Components: Volatile oils. Oleoresin. Gingerol (this constituent is what gives ginger its stimulating action and its heat). 

Preparations & dosage: Infusion (Fresh root), Decoction (Dried root), Tincture: Fresh toot 1:2 ration in 60% alcohol. , Essential oil. Food. 

Actions:

Foundational: Aromatic. Stimulant. 
Primary: Blood moving. Carminative. Rubefacient. Stimulating diaphoretic. Stimulating expectorant.
Secondary: Anti-inflammatory. Anti-microbial. Analgesic. Vermifuge.

Uses: 
  • Arthritis: Anti-inflammatory action on the joints helps to reduce inflammation, relieve pain and even help to repair damage done to joints & cartilage. 
  • Ginger formentation, infused oil or essential oil can be applied to the skin for painful, still, inflamed joints.
  • Moves stagnant blood as in a bruise. 
  • Stimulates stagnation in digestion, respiratory tract or pelvis as well. Sluggish digestion. 
  • Used at the onset of a migraine it can stop it in its tracks. 
  • Ginger, especially infused in honey, can be beneficial for a sore throat due to clogginess and dampness. 
Ginger stimulates circulation 
  • Cold/Flu
  • Dysbiosis (Microbial imbalance)
  • Ear infections
  • Heart health
  • Lowers blood triglyceride levels that have been linked to diabetes and heart disease. 
  • Lowers bad cholesterol and raises good. 
  • Respiratory congestion
  • Colds, Flus, Sore throat. 
  • Inflammation
  • Menstrual cramps (due to stagnation)
  • Migranes
  • Nausea
  • Stomach bugs
  • Food poisoning.
  • Motion sickness. 
  • Add to meat dishes to help the intestines detoxify the meat during digestion. 
  • Intended for cold type often sluggish imbalances
  • Can be added to cooler herbs to warm them up or stimulate action in the body. 
Arthritis: Anti-inflammatory action on the joints helps to reduce inflammation, relieve pain and even help to repair damage done to joints & cartilage. Ginger formentation, infused oil or essential oil can be applied to the skin for painful, still, inflamed joints. Moves stagnant blood as in a bruise. Stimulates stagnation in digestion, respiratory tract or pelvis as well. Used at the onset of a migraine it can stop it in its tracks. Ginger, especially infused in honey, can be beneficial for a sore throat due to clogginess and dampness. Ginger stimulates circulation. Cramps, nausea, morning sickness, motion sickness. Studies show its more effective than OTC meds for nausea & motion sickness/seasickness. Even rivals anti nausea drugs for chemotherapy without the side effects. Effective for treating gastrointestinal infections. Contains a proteolytic enzyme that is known to reduce inflammation & help repair damaged joints & cartilage (think arthritis & joint pain). Improves circulation in the pelvis for men & women. Menstrual cramps, PMS. lowers blood triglyceride levels linked to heart disease & diabetes. Warming decongesting herb used for cold imbalances such as poor circulation, colds, flus, respiratory congestion & sore throat. Add ginger to meat dishes to help the intestines process the meat. Externally can be used as a formentation or an oil to treat pain, inflammation & stiff joints & muscle pain.


My Personal Experience with Ginger: I really needed to make a decoction, but alas, I only have fresh ginger, so infusion it is! 1 tablespoon fresh shopped ginger steeped in just boiled water for 15 minutes. Ginger itself has a spicy citrus scent, almost like lemon.

Ooh! It has a strong bite right in the back of the throat. Not something I feel at all on the tongue. Not pleasant alone. I do have a recipe for a tea with lemon juice and honey I might try. The burning/stinging doesn't last with a small sip but also doesn't want me to take a large sip, or really, another small sip.

Combines well with: 

Identifying: 

Growing: Native if Asia and thrives in a hot and humid environment. You can grow indoors if you're in basically the complete opposite climate like me. Plant it shallow so that the root will not rot. 


Harvesting: Be patient with Ginger. It takes about 8-10 months before it is ready to harvest. 

Contraindications: Not a good match for someone already energetically hot and/or dry. Should not be used in large amounts during pregnancy (this does not mean it should not be used at all). Those on blood thinners should not use large amounts of ginger regularly (again, doesn't mean you shouldn't use it at all).


Sources: 

Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: Rosemary Gladstar. Pg 78-82.
The Way of Herbs: Michael Tierra. Pg 78.
https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/ginger/

Studies:

Ginger--an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16117603/

Ginger and Its Constituents: Role in Prevention and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Cancer:   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4369959/

6-Shogaol from dried ginger inhibits growth of prostate cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo through inhibition of STAT3 and NF-κB signaling: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24691500

The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy:   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818021/




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