Okay, no joke: ginger is the bomb for many reasons, not the least of which being that it tastes like some kind of forbidden fruit. It's sweet and then spicy, spicy and then sweet. I've been enjoying the stuff for years and still never cease to be amazed by it's crazy goodness!
And you know how we grew up thinking that chicken soup was the ultimate cure-all for just about everything from a broken heart to a broken arm? Well, when it comes to healing, chicken soup has nothing on this little root that's been around the block a few times (so to speak).
For more than 5,000 years, ginger has graced the tables and medicine cabinets of Asian households and health clinics. Ayurveda calls it the universal medicine, but I like to call it the cure-all with a kick!
Ginger is actually one of the most important spices used in Ayurveda. It's considered a virtual “jack of all trades” due in no small part to its ability to loosen, dry, soothe, stimulate, and rejuvenate anything you can throw at it.
It's not much to look, at but it's got serious healing qualities. Fresh ginger is juicy, warming, and slightly milder than the dried stuff. In its powdered form, it's lighter and deeply penetrating (works its way into the deeper tissues).
Whichever form you choose, ginger is a power-packed little medicine cabinet of a root (technically it's a rhizome). So if you haven't got some in your kitchen or garden, go get some...NOW. Wanna know why I love it? Let me count the ways.
1. It'll make you sweat.
Ginger is great for kickstarting the body's internal heater and stimulating circulation, one of the reasons why it's so amazing for colds, flus, and chills. It also has the added benefit of promoting weight loss.
How to take it: Try it as a tea! It's a super quick and yummy way to enjoy the goodness of ginger that will deliver fast results. A few slices of fresh ginger in some warm water (you can add a bit of honey or lemon) and you're on your way to wellness!
2. It loosens stuff up.
It has serious expectorant properties which means that it can break up (or melt) whatever's in your sinuses and chest so that you can get rid of it! It's my go-to for coughs and congestion.
How to take it: Tea is always a winner, but you can also try rubbing some dried ginger powder on the chest, and cover with a warm wash cloth. This is great for kids (especially if they don't like the taste of ginger).
3. It soothes your insides.
Nausea, cramps, gas, bloating—all those lovely things that make you want to crawl under the covers...forever. Take a little ginger under there with you and you'll be up and at 'em in no time!
How to take it: Yep, tea will do the job here too! Or, one of my personal faves, candied or crystallised ginger. I keep some in the car and my handbag for unforeseen emergencies (and snacks!). Oh, and I do not fly without ginger.
4. It'll ease your pain.
Headaches, sore throat, and generalized pain are no match for the power of ginger. It's actually a natural anti-inflammatory and does wonders for joint pain and arthritis.
How to take it: Topical use of ginger can be great for headaches. Try making a paste with ginger powder and water (or ginger juice). Rub a little on the painful area and relax. For migraines, you can add a teaspoon of ginger powder to a glass of water and drink that.
5. It kindles your digestive fire.
Ginger revs up your digestion and burns toxins, so if you're feeling a little heavy or sluggish, it might be time to bring out the ginger.
How to take it: Ready to prime your digestive system for a smooth ride? Mix a little grated fresh ginger with lime juice and a bit of salt (Himalayan pink salt is best) as a digestive tonic before every meal!
But for my money, the very best way to take ginger is...in everything! Ginger (fresh or dry) can pretty much be added to anything, especially if you're looking for a spicy sweet edge. Baked goods, vegetables, meats, soups, drinks, all are a great way to get a dose of this beautiful, warming, and healing spice.
So the next time you're suffering and find yourself reaching for the chicken soup, remember the multi-talented goodness of this understated healing superhero. And if you're ready to fall in love with a cure-all that'll stand up to everything including the test of time, go “real old school” and give ginger a try.