Ginger has been used for centuries as a digestive aid. As a warm, drying herb ginger was traditionally used to warm the stomach and dispel chills. Eventually, it was added to remedies to modify their action and reduce the irritant effects on the stomach. Ginger is still used in this way and is also used to reduced toxicity of some herbs used in combination, especially in many Chinese formulas.
It is originally from Asia and grows best in tropical climates. It likes warmth, humidity, and filtered sun. Ginger has been used as a medicinal herb in the west for about 2,000 years. The part of ginger that is used is the rhizome, or the root. The best form of the herb is the fresh juice of the root, taken as a hot tea. Ginger is rich in volatile oils and contains phenols, alkaloids and mucilage.
Further actions of ginger are that it is a circulatory stimulant (good for heart, blood vessels, and peripheral circulation) as well as relaxes peripheral blood vessels. It promotes sweating (helpful for colds and fevers) and helps with congestion. It is considered a expectorant. As I mentioned above, ginger is useful in preventing vomiting (calms stomach upset) and is useful as an antispasmodic. Also, a little known feature is that it is also an antiseptic, so that means it is good for infections and inflammation.
Ginger oil is a very versatile oil to have on hand. A few drops can be dissolved in honey or sugar to decrease gas, bloating and distention, also, that same remedy can be used to reduce fevers and stimulate the appetite. Rub five to ten drops of the oil (after mixed with 25 milliliters of your choice of carrier oil) for rheumatism or low back pain. This would combine well with Juniper or eucalyptus oil.
Ginger is also one of the noted herbs in the book Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug - Resistant Bacteria by Stephen Harrod Buhner. He encourages that only the fresh juice of ginger be used and if you can't use that, use a tincture. The dried root does not have nearly the potency of either and is not effective at all. In a serious illness (bacterial, respiratory, fungal) take the hot tea from the fresh juice. It takes about 30 minutes for ginger's compounds to enter the bloodstream and they reach peak concentration in about 60 minutes (for all you herb nerds out there, that is for us) and then it begins to decline. Drink the fresh juice every 2 to 3 hours in acute conditions. To make this tea, juice one or more pieces of ginger, totaling about the size of a medium carrot, or, four pieces that are the size of your thumb. Combine a 1/4 cup of the fresh ginger juice with 12 ounces of hot water, 1 tablespoon of raw honey, juice form 1/4 lime or lemon (drop the rind in after squeezing) and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne. Drink 4 - 6 cups of this per day.
If you do not own a juicer, you can make this as an infusion. Grate or chop the ginger root (a piece about the size of your thumb) as finely as you can. Steep it in 8 - 12 ounces of hot water for 2 to 3 hours. Make sure it is covered to preserve the essential oils in the tea. Add the other ingredients and drink 4 - 6 cups a day.
Ginger works synergistically with a number of antibiotics, which increases their potency (good thing) against resistant organisms.
I recently had a friend tell me that she has been having great success using fresh ginger root tea for her eczema. She has tried everything out there with no luck and began to use fresh ginger root tea, raw honey and lemon. Within days she began to notice a difference. She was stunned and we both were amazed at the fact that something so simple could have such a great response. Hopefully more and more people will be writing about and spreading the word, that we have all the tools we need at our fingertips, and