The Heal­ing Ef­fects of Ginger

Take full ad­van­tage of ginger’s heal­ing power with these cre­ative ideas

Amazing Wellness - - CONTENTS - By Vera Tweed

Take full ad­van­tage of ginger’s heal­ing power with these cre­ative ideas.

“Gin­geris a work­horse herb,” says Mary Hardy, MD, a Los An­ge­les-based in­te­gra­tive physi­cian. Tra­di­tion, sci­en­tific stud­ies, and Hardy’s ex­pe­ri­ence have shown that colds, nau­sea, joint and mus­cle pain, PMS, di­ges­tive is­sues, di­a­betes, and even sore feet re­spond to its heal­ing ef­fects. Ginger also en­hances cir­cu­la­tion, helps to pre­vent heart dis­ease, and may help to pre­vent can­cer. “It’s a good herb for self-care,” says Hardy. “It has a very good safety record, is eas­ily avail­able, and it’s not ex­pen­sive.”

There are var­i­ous ways to eat and drink ginger, from adding it to soups and stir-fries to juic­ing it with fruits and veg­gies. But for more con­cen­trated ben­e­fits, Hardy has some other, lesser­known rec­om­men­da­tions.

BREW A THER­A­PEU­TIC GINGER TEA

A good tea starts with re­ally fresh ginger root. “Take a nice, plump herb that has a thin skin, is un­marked, and smells fresh when you break a lit­tle piece off,” Hardy says. “The root should be a nice, light, bright yel­low, and should have the spice smell you’re used to, as well as a slight cit­rus af­tersmell.” Here’s how to brew:

Add 1-2 tsp. freshly grated root to a cup of hot wa­ter. Steep 10 min­utes. Strain, add a lit­tle honey, and start sip­ping.

WHEN TO DRINK GINGER TEA:

For bet­ter di­ges­tion, drink it af­ter a meal, and for ev­ery­thing else, drink it any time. How­ever, in the case of nau­sea, es­pe­cially morn­ing sick­ness, sup­ple­ments of ginger root pow­der may be bet­ter tol­er­ated.

MAKE A THER­A­PEU­TIC GINGER COM­PRESS

Stud­ies have shown that the com­bi­na­tion of ginger and heat cre­ates a syn­er­gis­tic ef­fect that helps re­lieve joint and mus­cle pain, stom­ach pain, and bloat­ing. To make a hot ginger com­press, which can be ap­plied a cou­ple of times a day, Hardy rec­om­mends:

Fol­low the tea-brew­ing di­rec­tions, mi­nus the honey, us­ing two to three times as much ginger root per cup of hot wa­ter. Soak a small, 100% cot­ton

cloth in the liq­uid, and ap­ply it to the painful area. Cover the com­press with plas­tic wrap and leave it in place un­til it starts to cool down. As an op­tion, wrap it in a ban­dage, to keep the com­press and plas­tic in place. The ginger liq­uid can be re­heated and reused for an­other com­press.

To re­lieve sore feet, soak them in the stronger ver­sion of the brew.

USE GINGER ARO­MATHER­APY

As an al­ter­na­tive to the com­press, Hardy rec­om­mends di­lut­ing 2–3 drops of ginger es­sen­tial oil with a palm-sized amount of or­ganic olive oil or an­other neu­tral oil of your choice. Rub it on painful ar­eas, such as joints, mus­cles, or, in the case of in­di­ges­tion or men­strual cramps, on your tummy. Sup­ple­ments are a more con­cen­trated ther­a­peu­tic op­tion. Hardy rec­om­mends cap­sules of dried ginger root. For nau­sea dur­ing preg­nancy, take 1 gram per day. In other sit­u­a­tions, doses can vary from 1–5 grams per day. For pain re­lief, a dose of 2–3 grams daily is gen­er­ally ef­fec­tive.

Ginger ex­tracts are more con­cen­trated and re­quire lower doses, de­pend­ing upon the spe­cific ex­tract. To avoid stom­ach up­set, ginger sup­ple­ments are best taken with food.

EAT GINGER

Although a West­ern style of eat­ing likely doesn’t con­tain enough ginger to de­liver ther­a­peu­tic ben­e­fits, fresh ginger in food does im­pact health. A study in Iran, pub­lished in the jour­nal Nu­tri­tion, an­a­lyzed dis­ease risk and ginger in­take of more than 4,600 men and women. Re­searchers es­ti­mated that eat­ing at least 2–4 grams of ginger daily could re­duce risk for high blood pres­sure, heart dis­ease, di­a­betes, and other chronic con­di­tions.

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