The Many Health Benefits of Ginger!
In my book, ginger is a magical root in fact, I am certain it is the root of the Gods! It is never far from my table, my herbal medicine chest or my skincare. And, this time of year is the perfect time to integrate ginger into your daily regime. Ginger is so easy to come by and provides health benefits beyond measure…from a tonic to improve circulation, build your immune system and warm your body, to a medicine that helps ease nausea, improve digestion and fight off colds. The many uses of ginger are so beneficial to the our overall health and wellbeing that it’s hard for me to realize so many people still view it as an exotic (a.k.a. foreign) root with which they know not what to do.
Recently I was on a spiritual retreat in Portugal and in a communal living situation for 10 days. One cold and rainy afternoon I made a pot of lemon/ginger/honey tea. I offered it around to help people warm their insides and the raves were unanimously favorable. People just couldn’t believe I used “real” ginger! They assumed it was an herbal tea and had never thought of using raw ginger in this way. For the rest of the retreat I couldn’t keep the tea pot full! On another recent occasion I was drinking the same lemon/ginger/honey/tea that I brought with me in a work setting and I offered it around when one person inquired as to whether I was feeling ok. I said, “Yes,. I am great! Why do you ask?” And she stated that she mainly used ginger in this way when she was feeling ill.
We all have our own healing remedies past down from family or ones that we’ve adopted because they work best for us. On the other hand, it’s also great to learn about new remedies, potions and possibilities of using a product in a new and beneficial way. For some, they view ginger strictly as a culinary additive to spice up their food. For others they view it mainly as a medicinal herb. But to me, it is all of this and much, much more!
With winter and cold season just around the corner, I though this a good time to encourage and inspire you to incorporate ginger into your daily regime add a little spice to your life.
Be Warm. Be Healthy. Be Happy!
My favorite uses of ginger are below along with a list of 22 most beneficial uses.
- 2-3 inches of ginger sliced thin in the round (like coins.) No need to peel
- 1 Lemon
- 2-3 table spoons of honey
This couldn’t be easier! In large teapot or mason jar, put sliced ginger, juice of one lemon and honey. Cover with boiling water and let steep for 10 minutes. Make extra to keep in your fridge. This is good hot or cold and internal warming benefits will be the same.
Asian Greens with Garlic & Ginger:
- 1 Lb. of dark leafy greens (kale, chard, spinach, beet greens, etc.) or a combination
- 2-3 table spoons each of chopped garlic & ginger (I like a lot of both of these so try this recipe but if too much for you, adapt to your taste.)
- Sesame oil
- 1-2 tables spoons of Soy Sauce
Wash and chop greens
Warm sesame oil in wok style pan
Toss in garlic, ginger and greens all at once. The moisture from the greens will help steam the ginger and garlic and integrate the flavor throughout without the garlic and ginger burning.
Add soy sauce
Cook until greens are al dente…..over cooking will make greens mushy and reduce their nutritional value.
Ginger Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce:
I use to work at one of the most exotic Asian/Pacific restaurants of it’s time in San Francisco called China Moon Cafe. If you ever had the good fortune to eat there, I know you would totally agree when I say it was the most exquisite combination of flavors imaginable…..where East meets West and beyond. Truly a magical culinary journey. One of the things on the menu was Ginger Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce and I promise, when you try this your palate will swoon.
- Buy Ginger Ice Cream (now available in most top grade grocery stores.)
- Buy or make your own Chocolate Sauce. Semi-sweet chocolate is best.
- Feast and Enjoy!
Ginger Sugar Scrub for Face and Body:
(All Credit for this wonderful homemade body care goes to: http://foodformyfamily.com)
- Use this to exfoliate every other week or so in the winter on your face and body as a way to rejuvenate the skin and shed dead skin cells. It’s like a homemade facial.
- Why ginger? Ginger is great for sensitive skin, acting as an anti-inflammatory agent to decrease redness and help with skin disorders. It also works to energize skin, making your skin tighter and more youthful, and I’ve heard it’s been used on other problem areas too.
- The coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so this will be a bit thicker when mixed with the other oil, which I appreciate. It’s soft enough to scoop out, but it’s not runny. You could always use all cold-pressed oils if you want a thinner scrub consistency.
- It may seem counter-intuitive, but oil will not cause your face to be greasy. On the contrary, healthy oils will dissolve the dirty oils that collect on your face, leaving you with clean, clear and moisturized skin naturally.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon ginger, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup cold-pressed oil (tea seed, jojoba, sunflower, or almond oil)
- 3/4 cup granulated or turbinado sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1-4 drops essential oil (I used lemongrass)
In a small saucepan over low heat heat the coconut oil and ginger pieces. Continue heating for 5-10 minutes until ginger scent and juice has transferred into the oil. Remove from heat and press through a fine mesh sieve or through a coffee filter.
While the oil is still warm, mix together with cold-pressed oil. Stir to combine and allow to come to room temperature. Stir in sugar and salt. Scent with essential oils as desired. Pack into a container.
To Use: Massage into damp skin and allow to sit 2-4 minutes. Using a washcloth covered in warm water, steam over face or stand in a steamy shower for a minute. Using the wet washcloth, wipe excess from skin. Rinse and repeat until oil is washed away.
Makes approximately 8 ounces sugar body scrub.
And, for everything you’ve always wanted to know about Ginger but were afraid to ask – go here!
22 Health Benefits of Ginger Root & Ginger Tea