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Ginger Root

(Zingiber officinalis)

Ginger, along with garlic and lemon, is probably one of the most common ingredients in remedies that you will run across. It provides a nearly instant boost to your circulation, flushing out toxins that have built up as residue, relieving pressure on joints by pushing out fluid accumulation, and providing organs with more oxygen. It can make you feel more alert and vital. It is also magnificent to alleviate nausea from a variety of causes, including motion sickness and morning sickness. The root is the part used, making it more of a spice than an herb. It is thought to have grown in the Garden of Eden.

Cautions: Avoid if you have ulcers. Don’t overdo it, moderation is the key with this strong spice. Some people can handle more than others, just start slowly if you are using it for digestive complaints. Considered to be safe in moderation, but seek a doctor’s advice if you are pregnant, diabetic, or have heart disease. If you are pregnant, this can help morning sickness, BUT do NOT consume in large doses when pregnant to avoid a risk of miscarriage. Suck on a candy, but don’t eat packs of candy all day. The same goes for candy root or tea.

Medicinal Properties

Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, carminative, expectorant, stimulant, tonic

Any condition that is improved with warmth will likely be improved with ginger. Complaints that involve sluggish circulation will find improvement, including that complaints with built up fluids on the joints (such as gout or arthritis) as the circulation can potentially flush toxins and fluids out of the problem areas.

It also helps to stabilize blood pressure and improves heart function, as well as preventing blood clots, making it preventative for both strokes and heart attacks. It can settle a stomach upset by morning sickness, motion sickness, and sometimes indigestion. It can ease menstrual pain.  It is a frequently studied herb, and many of its claims have been supported in studies.

It may be helpful for weight control, as it can improve digestion enzymes for more efficient breakdown of fats and proteins. It promotes healthy glands, kidney, and bladder function, making it easier to flush toxins out of the body. It works well both in tonics and restoratives.

It can have a laxative effect, especially when used with lemon. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that if you had a cup of real ginger/lemon tea the night before, stay close to a toilet when you drink your coffee in the morning. Not in a bad way though, I’ve had worse experiences with over the counter meds.

Preparation and Dosage: Ginger can be consumed as a decoction, or the candied root can be chewed or sucked on. There are gummy ginger candies that I buy from Asian food markets that also work for digestion and nausea. I haven’t tried making my own candied root recipe, but I’ve been eyeing one of Alton Brown’s on the Food Network website.

For a tea to combat cold and flu (also very good for constipation), grate an inch of fresh ginger root into a pot and add enough water to make a tea. Cover and slowly bring to a simmer, simmer for five minutes, and turn off the heat. Add some of the zest of a lemon and some of its juice (I keep my lemons whole for tea, grating zest off and squeezing out juice as I need it). Add anything else, such as green tea leaves, that you have on hand and may help. Steep while still on the warm (but turned off) burner while covered for ten minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey or black-strap molasses. This tea is a wonderful tonic and restorative. It can prepare the digestion for healthier diets to make them more effective.

Magical Properties

Scorpio Sagittarius

Love, success, power, prosperity

Ginger provides energy, vitality, and success. As such, it can be used to boost the effectiveness of many meditative experiences that focus on these goals. Eat a little bit before rituals. Often I drink lemon water with ginger in it (and a spring of basil if I have it) before I do my purifying bath. Then I feel clean inside and out when I step out of the shower. It is supposed to be especially effective before love spells, I imagine this could really help in workings for male virility. Growing the plant in the home is supposed to draw money, or you can sprinkle the powdered root in your wallet. Or, eat while visualizing money coming your way. Certainly if you consume ginger while focusing on improved vitality, you may psychologically cleanse while you physically cleanse, clearing your path for positive change.

Culinary Possibilities

Ginger bread and ginger ale are both great ways to improve digestion during meals. Ginger ale is also beneficial as a tonic or digestive, either the alcoholic or the non-alcoholic versions. Homemade naturally fermented sodas with live probiotic cultures can be made from a ginger starter (like for sourdough) called a “ginger bug”. This may combine the benefits of ginger with the benefits of probiotics, and other medicinal tonic herbs can be added in the flavoring stage. I’m about to blog quite a bit about my new ginger bug, so that will be up soon, I’m sure I’ll share the ups and downs of learning this.

Ginger bread at the holidays not only warms up family and guests, but helps to make the feast digest more quickly. It seems that most of the traditional spices during the winter are circulation stimulants, warming us up while we eat pumpkin spiced everything and drink ginger teas. Throw ginger into ciders, cocoa, eggnog, and just about any other thing that would taste good with the “pumpkin spice” family on it.

Gingerbread cookie dough and actual ginger bread are different, if you look on a box of gingerbread mix be careful which recipe to follow. Or, like me, you may be wondering how to make a gingerbread house out of a brownie. Thankfully this mishap led to my family really loving the softer actual ginger bread, all warm with butter melting in and sprinkled with pumpkin spices. I’ve experimented with several ginger bread recipes since then, and I’m afraid that I don’t have a favorite, it seems like all of the ones I have tried up to this point are wonderful. Some recipes make brownie like bread, some make loaf like bread, and some make better muffins. If you find yourself making an icing, make sure to add a little lemon juice to the powdered sugar mix, it’s lovely with gingerbread.

Gingerbread can also make pancakes or pancake syrups, the syrup can sweeten sodas, and the fresh root can be used in smoothies or juice recipes.

My Experience

Ginger is probably more frequently consumed than any other herb in my household. I even put it in my coffee sometimes. Besides the immune system boosting that it can provide, it also helps to warm the body and boost circulation. This property makes my chronic joint pain more comfortable, especially in the winter. Every cup of cocoa I make has a bit of ginger added when there is snow on the ground.

Relevant Posts

The Health Benefits of Homemade Pumpkin Spice Blend


20,000 Secrets of Tea by Victoria Zak.
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham.
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen by Scott Cunningham.
The Magic Teaspoon: Transform Your Meals with the Power of Healing Herbs and Spices by Victoria Zak.
The Wild & Weedy Apothecary by Doreen Shababy.

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