This herb can help ease summer colds and keeps travel sickness at bay

What is it ?

Native to Asia, this herb grows up to a metre high with long, straight leaves. But it’s the edible freshy, aromatic stems below ground- known as rhizoma (pictured)- that are used in cooking and medicinally.

How can it help me ?

Ginger can help with a number of complaints. Some of these are :

  • Digestion. Ginger relaxes the muscles of the digestive system, which helps counteract gas, bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
  • Travel sickness. Many scientific trial, including a Swedish study on seasickness, have confirmed ginger’s effectiveness for symptoms of Nausea. A few slices of ginger made into a tea is also a famous remedy for helping pregnant women suffering from morning sickness.
  • Hay fever/summer colds. The herb can help promote a sweat, which makes ginger effective for drying out runny noses and eyes.
  • Raynaud’s disease. Due to it’s warning effect and ability to increase circulation, ginger can help stimulate blood flow to the hands and feet.
  • Arthritis. Ginger is a well-knows easer for pain and stiffness.

How do I use it ?

Ginger in crystallised form is often found in biscuits, cakes and drinks. Ground ginger spice is great added to stews, curries and stir fries and can also be infused in hot water to make a digestion- and immune-enhancing tea. You only need a small pinch as dried ginger is extremely hot and spicy. Fresh ginger can be used more liberally in cooking and herbal infusions.

How much do I need ?

For nausea symptoms, the recommended adult dose is 1000mg of dried ginger about an hour before ravelling. For supplements*, follow instructions on product labels as strength may vary. For fresh ginger tea, herbalists recommended infusing 2-5g of sliced ginger rhizome in just-boilded water.

Grow your own

  • Put a fresh ginger rhizome in a pot with lots of room to spare, and cover with a few centimetres of compost.
  • Keep well watered and warm indoors, out of direct sunlight and before long it should sprout.
  • After a year, dig up the ginger and break off new rhizome to use.

::Article taken from: Healthy Magazine, edition May/June 2008