Ginger (Sheng Jiang)
Botanical Name: Zingiber officinale
Ginger produces a hot, fragrant spice that has been used in candy, foods, medicines, teas, beverages and wines. It is used in international cooking for its flavor and ability to detox food. It is a well known cure for motion sickness and has a long worldwide history of medicinal use.
Below is an overview of ginger, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of ginger.
Western Name: Ginger
Also Known As: Ginger Root
Organs/Systems: Stomach, Digestion, Sinuses
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Stimulant, Carminative, Sialagogue (promotes salvia production making swallowing easier), Laxative, Anti-inflammatory, Antispasmodic. Nausea, sea sickness, morning sickness, stomach upset from chemotherapy, dyspepsia, gastroparesis, constipation, colic, coughs, ear aches, sore throat, relieve arthritic pain, menstrual pain, low back pain, irritable bowel, loss of appetite, poor circulation, cleanse the lymph, promotes sweating.
Pin Yin: Sheng Jiang
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Lung, Spleen, Stomach (Middle Jiao)
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Releases to the Exterior/Disperses Cold. Warm the Middle Jiao/Alleviate Vomiting. Disperse Cold/Stop Coughing. Reduce Toxicity of Other Herbs. Adjust Nutritive and Protective Qi: for conditions of exterior deficiency when sweating is not improving the condition. The skin of ginger is used to promote urination and reduce edema.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Root, Leaf
Flavors/Temps: Acrid, Hot, Slightly Sweet, Dry
Caution: Generally considered very safe. Use carefully if stomach condition is hot, as ginger is already a hot, dry herb.
History/Folklore: Ginger is often used with honey to help mask the flavor of other herbs that are either very bitter or distasteful. The American Cancer Society has promoted ginger as a treatment to prevent cancer tumors from developing. Ginger is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics and as a flavoring agent in many foods and beverages. Ginger has a potent, perspiration-inducing action that helps cleanse the system of toxins. Recent research has verified that ginger helps other herbs reach their destination, confirming its title as a key guide herb (or tropism enhancer).
Many cultures have benefited from using this herb. The Chinese recognize ginger as a whole body Yang tonifying herb that is good for warming the body and lifting the spirit. The ancient Hawaiians used to drink the sweet juice from the stems of flower heads after a long hike. In Ayurvedic medicine, ginger is used to treat pain, arthritis and blood platelet clumping. The creation of the soft drink, ginger ale, sprang from the folkloric use of ginger to treat upset stomachs.
Zingerone, shogaols, gingerols, Volatile oils, sesquiterpenoids, terpenes, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin B3.
Ginger wine has been made commercially since 1740.
Ginger is a minor chemical irritant and the mounted regiments pre-WWI used it as a horse suppository to treat feaguing.
Some recommend pouring the fresh juice of ginger on the skin to help treat burns.
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