Welcome to the wonderful world of ginger, zingiber officinale. As an amateur herbalist I’m always looking for new applications for easy to find herbs. Let’s face it; it’s a busy world and most of us are on the go. We don’t have time to find the difference in every type of grass or weed out there. My first instructor of herbs, from the Whispering Woods Coven, said it is better to know a lot about a few herbs than a little about a lot of them. Ginger is one of my favorite herbs and in my go-to bag of tricks to keep myself and my family healthy.
Part used: Primarily the root. When using most herbs, either as medicine or as a supplement it is important to use fresh. The dried and powdered kind we keep on the spice rack is not going to work very well. Ginger is no different. Don’t use powdered ginger; it will only give you a tummy ache. Ginger ale and ginger snaps may taste good but don’t have enough of the root to do much good.
Best place to find it: You can find whole ginger root in the grocery store, usually in the produce section. You can often find strips of dried candied ginger called crystallized ginger in with the organic foods. Please note: If the crystallized ginger seems very pricey make sure you’re buying domestic and not imported. A package should be under $5.00.
Benefits: Ginger is good for a very wide variety of things. It has a very long list that is growing every day. Here are the highlights:
Generally safe for most ages
Considered a stomach cure all
Good for occasional heartburn
Good for upset stomach and indigestion
Good for upper respiratory system
Helps with cough and congestion
Prevents blood clotting making it helpful against heart attack and stroke
Has anti-biotic and anti-viral qualities
Good for sore throats
Good for some types of headaches
There is new research to suggest it may also be helpful in fighting cancer
Warnings: There are ALWAYS warnings for even the most innocuous herb. It is important to remember that all modern medicine has its roots in herbs and homeopathy. Herbs are medicine and have dangers as well as benefits. Never trust a source that does not give warnings. Ginger has a few to look out for.
Ginger prevents blood clotting. Do not use if you have a bleeding disorder or use another anti-coagulant, like certain kinds of blood pressure medicine.
Ginger can keep you awake. Do not take it within three hours before you want to go to sleep.
Too much ginger can cause rashes and sometimes worsen chronic stomach problems like ulcers or inflammatory bowel disorders.
Ginger increases bile production. Do not use if you think you have gall stones.
How is it taken? By and large the most effective way to take any herb is as tea. The hot water helps your body to absorb better. The best way to take ginger is to slice off two or three thin slices from the root and put them in one cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Sweeten to taste. Honey is best because it also has wonderful medicinal benefits. If you are not a tea drinker try crystallized ginger. It is very sweet with a spicy bite. This is the way my kids like best. Simply eat a piece about the size of a quarter. If you really don’t like the taste you can look for ginger supplements in your pharmacy. I recommend Nature Made. The brand is cost effective and available at most major pharmacies.
Lore and magickal uses: Ginger is spicy so it is often used to increase the potency in spells and charms. It is a common ingredient in love spells and is thought to attract money. Ginger is a male aspect associated with the sun.
There you have it, the wonders of ginger. Please note that I am not a doctor and this information can never replace your doctor’s advice. If you want to take ginger call your doctor and ask. Only your doctor knows you inside and out.
Check out my works cited list for more detailed information: