Ginger – Zingiber officinale

Since we’re going into the cold and flu season, I though it would be appropriate to blog about an amazing herb that helps with colds and flue along with a plethora of other ailments. Before we get started, I want to make sure we’re all on the same page. The Ginger being discussed here is Zingiber Officinale. Wild Ginger or Asarum canadense, is an entirely different genera. It still has it’s own medicinal properties and uses. It’s toxic in large doses. We need to make sure we’re not confusing the two.

We’re very fortunate to have ginger readily available to us today. It’s just click away online or easily found at your local grocery or health food stores. Some metaphysical stores also carry it. In the 14th century, ginger was as expensive as live stock so it wasn’t accessible to the majority of the population. It was a luxury only a few had.

Ginger was one of the first spices exported from Asia. Alexander the Great introduce Ginger to the west. He believed it to be a cure for the plague. It’s still considered a potent cure for many ailments in some cultures today. During the Spice Trade Age, ginger came from Ancient Greece to Europe. Ginger was common in the Greek and Roman Empires. We get ginger ale from England where they added ginger to their ale and stirred it with a hot poker, this was the original ginger ale. Ginger bread was often among the rations the troops ate during the revolutionary war. The origin of the word ginger comes from the 14th century English word gingifer which is rooted in Sanskrit. Srngaveram is the Sanskrit word meaning ‘hored body’, this is where the word gingifer is derived from. This is because of the look of the ginger rhizome, the part of the plant we use. Although India and China are the first and second highest producers of ginger, the best quality comes from Jamaica.

Ginger has a spicy, pungent taste and a unique, easily recognizable aroma which believed to invoke the fire element. It’s also used in scent magic, tonic and potions and can be an antidote to some poisons. It’s used in essential oil diffuses, breads, candies, drinks, spell work, perfume, rituals, herbal medicines, teas, salves, tinctures, pills, the list goes on and on. Ginger has very colorful history.

The medicinal properties of ginger are many and the science and ancient wisdom behind it is pretty solid. There are 14 active compounds in Ginger however, the most well know and active compounds are Alpha-Zingiberene and Gingerol. It’s considered warming and drying as well as relaxing. Ginger is an analgesic, anti emetic, aromatic, carminative, antimicrobial, counter-irritant, diaphoretic, digestive tonic, circulatory stimulant, decongestant, antibacterial, anti-nausea, antiseptic, antinociceptive, anodyne, diffusive, emmenagogue, rubefacient, relaxant, stimulant, antimicrobial, hepatoprotection and anti-parasitic. Ginger is one hell of a super medicine!!!

All the above means is ginger can do a lot medically to help you heal. It’s anti-inflammatory properties give Ibuprofen a run for it’s money when it comes to treating rheumatoid arthritis and inflammation. Ginger contains proteolytic enzyme which reduces inflammation and helps to repair damaged joints and cartilage. It’s anti-inflammatory properties are extremely potent and are found in fresh ginger. Dry ginger loses much of these properties. Ginger also helps with pain.

It’s great for nausea, vomiting, motion sickness and pregnant women have used it for morning sickness. It can be more effective than OTC drugs for nausea from chemo therapy. Check with your local herbalist or other health professional that works with herbs to be sure it’s OK for you to take while pregnant. There are not reported problems however, many herbalists do recommend getting professional advice before taking ginger or most herbs while pregnant. Ginger also has emmenagogue properties that stimulate menstrual flow by improving blood circulation to the pelvis. Ginger can thin your blood. If you’re on blood thinners, check with your herbal specialist before taking Ginger. It’s great for PMS however, if you already have a heavy menstrual flow, taking ginger can make it even heavier.

Ginger is a staple for any herbalist during cold and flu season. It induces sweating to help the body reach the right temperature for healthy recovery. It aids the immune system. It’s a decongestant and soothes sore throats as well as enhances the immune system, improves blood circulation and takes care of any aches and pains you may have. It’s been used for headaches and sore muscles. It also heals salmonella and parasites.

You can find ginger in herbal medicines for libido as it’s a powerful aphrodisiac, as it’s correspondence with fire would indicate in both medicinal and metaphysical uses. Other metaphysical uses is to to speed things up, in the same way cinnamon does in spell work. It’s associated with the forces of fire and the sun. Perfume made from ginger is said to be used to summons entities from other realms. Ingesting it before any magical practice is believed to strengthen your magical energy. It’s also used as an offering to various sun and fire deities.

Ginger can be a great addition to any cancer treatment regimen. According to a study by the American Cancer Society, ginger stops tumors from developing. This makes it a great treatment and a great preventative medicine for anyone who may have a high risk for cancer. Ginger is also hepatoprotection which means it protects the liver from damage. It’s relieves pain after surgery pretty quickly and if inhaled it can reduce post-surgery nausea.

Due to Ginger’s calming, warming, relaxing effects, it has been used to treat Anxiety and depression. It’s a sleep aid and improves mood.

Some of the folklore is interesting. Ginger is used to increase energy, personal power and healing. It corresponds to the deities Mars and Ares. It’s used to help increase magical powers and psychic gifts. Ginger is a common ingredient in libido and reproductive herbal medicines. If the rhizome is in the shape of a person, it’s said to have stronger powers. Putting a little ginger powder in your wallet or purse is said to attract wealth. Sacred tools are consecrated with the smoke of burning ginger. Keeping it in the house is said to attract prosperity. It’s known to aid in protection, exorcism, deflection, return to sender spells and drawing to you spells. Historically ginger essential oil has been called an “oil of empowerment” Due to it bringing self confidence,self assurance, courage and confidence.

Due to it’s ability to stimulate circulation, Ginger has been shown to aid in treating heart disease and diabetes by lowering triglycerides. It also treats cardio issues from systemic inflammation.

Ginger root is easy to acquire these days as well as herbal products. How do you like to take your medicine? Do you like it in your food? Tea? Oil? Tincture? Gummy Bears? Capsules? Salve? Poultice? There’s lots of choices!!

Like many herbs, ginger has so many uses and a rich history. I only scratched the surface here. What do you know about ginger? Have you used it yourself? Got a link to an informative website? How about a book suggestion? Comment below, let’s all share information.

Awesome Sources: The Modern Herbal Dispensatory 2016, Thomas Easley, Steve Horne. Medicinal Herbs 2012, Rosemary Gladstar. Essential Oils Ancient Medicine 2016, Dr.Josh Axe, TY Bollinger, Jordan Rubin. Herbal Medicine for Beginners 2018, Katja Swift, Ryn Midura. Grimoire For the Green Witch, 1st edition 2003, Ann Moura.

Published by rainiedae

Hi, I'm Rainie. I'm the owner and founder of Love of Lotus Apothecary, a healer and herbalist with a passion for Gaia and all she has to offer.

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