Ginger has been used since ancient times. Today, science supports ginger’s numerous properties to:
- Aid Digestion
- Stimulate Appetite
- Support the immune system
- Reduce inflammation
- Suppress Nausea
- Help with menstrual cramping
- Stimulate circulatory system
A little of the root chewed stimulates the salivary glands (because of its spicy components, known as gingerols). This, in turn, aids digestion by promoting the production of digestive juices. Chewing a little bit may also help sore throats.
Drinking ginger tea after meals may help to relieve gas and bloating. Because of its ability to stimulate circulation, a cup of ginger tea can also help to warm the body up on a cold day (this is best achieved combined with cinnamon). Ginger tea may also be helpful for colds, especially if a cough is present, and may be helpful with menstrual cramping.
To make ginger tea: 1-2 tbsp, peeled and freshly chopped or grated ginger (alternatively, 1 tsp. of ground ginger may be used). Pour a cup of boiling water over the ginger, steep for 10-15 minutes, and strain. If a weaker cup of tea is desired, use less ginger or more water, or pour an additional cup of boiling water over the already strained ginger. In general, a stronger brew of ginger tea will better activate its properties. The hot tea may cause a bit of sweating as ginger can act as a diaphoretic when taken hot.
Ginger is found in almost every Chinese dish for its ability to aid digestion – a tradition most likely handed down from Confucius, who ate every dish spiced with ginger. Cooking with ginger will, of course, help with digestion. The root is best used peeled and sliced in cooking.