Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Family: Zingiberaceae

Parts commonly used: Rhizome (underground stem).

Properties/energetics: Anti-inflammatory, carminative, anti-nausea, stimulating diaphoretic, rubifacient, diffusive circulatory stimulant, antispasmodic/Hot; spicy.

Systems predominantly affected: Digestive, circulatory, musculoskeletal.

Uses: Ginger is a particularly warming remedy, and much of what it does can be accredited to its effects on the circulation. In the digestive tract, it is antispasmodic, carminative, and stimulant. By increasing blood flow to the gastrointestinal apparatus, it helps stimulate all digestive activities. Ginger also increases digestive function by stimulating the flow of bile from the liver (known as a choleretic affect). Ginger’s antispasmodic nature makes it useful for relieving uterine and abdominal cramping. Besides its warming affect, Ginger is anti-inflammatory, making it particularly useful in rheumatic conditions aggravated by cold weather or that benefit from heat. In general, it is useful whenever there is poor circulation to an area resulting in hypoactivity or stagnation. Ginger is an efficient diaphoretic for use in a hot tea to promote sweating in feverish conditions. It is a most effective carminative taken as a tea or tincture or in a capsule for treating stomach and intestinal problems such as stomach cramps, flatulence, dyspepsia, nausea, and motion sickness. For the latter condition, 1 to 2 #00 capsules full of dried Ginger or a good dropperful of tincture in a little water taken about half an hour prior to exposure has proven to be superior to the common motion-sickness drug Dramamine.

Combinations: Combines well with most herbs for treating digestive system disorders. It increases the absorption of other herbs and decreases their breakdown.
Affects on specific body types: Ginger’s warming nature makes it a good tonic for Monarch-type conditions. It counteracts the gastrointestinal stagnation that is so common in this type, and it can help remove mucous congestion in the lungs, bringing warmth to the extremities. Its choleretic effect can also be useful to break up liver stagnation. It is quite useful in smaller quantities for Seer conditions because it reduces abdominal cramping caused by excessive nervous tone and brings blood to the gastrointestinal and skin areas the sympathetic Seer directs blood away from. In general, Ginger works best for people needing a stimulant. The Warrior or anyone else exhibiting active inflammation or irritation of tissues should avoid too much of this herb; it’ll probably aggravate him or her. The Warrior’s gut-related imbalances will do much better with Peppermint.

Precautions: Don’t swallow powdered Ginger unless it is in a liquid preparation or capsule, as it can burn the esophagus. Use Ginger very moderately when there is any active inflammation occurring in the body. May increase absorption of other drugs and should not be used with aspirin or any other blood-thinning medication.

Preparations/dosage: Infusion (fresh or dried Ginger): 1 cup with Lemon and a little honey as needed.

Capsule: 1 to 2 #00 capsules as needed. Employ fresh Ginger infusion primarily as a stimulating diaphoretic for treating colds, chills, and the surface of the body; use dry Ginger for digestive gas, cramps, bloating, gastrointestinal sluggishness, and deeper core ailments.

Other uses: Culinary spice. It is a good food-preparation habit to add Ginger to all meat dishes to help the digestive system detoxify the meat.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition