Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Fierce Root: Ginger for Warming the Chills

Ginger makes The Buttercup List this week. It's a great herb--the root is the part used--and it's very common so most people are familiar with it.

But do you use it for anything other than an occasional stir-fry or a Thai soup? Ginger is very versatile and deserves a place not only in the larder for dinners but in the medicine cabinet for healing.

Ginger root is warming. This by itself is enough to grant it access for the winter months. Ginger can be taken fresh, of course, and it's delicious and spicy. It can also be taken in capsules, in tincture form (a concentrated liquid extract), in powders (mix a little powder into your honey and spread on toast), or in tea.

When making ginger root tea, chop the ginger coarsely and leave the skins on. Place one teaspoon ginger in a small tea pot and pour 1 cup boiling water over top. Steep, covered, for 8-10 minutes, and then strain. Add a tiny spot of honey and sip. This is a natural remedy for sore throats and coughs, and it is wonderful for helping circulation. Ginger tea can be drunk to warm those cold hands and feet that somehow never get warm, and it can be a soothing yet expectorant tea for coughs, encouraging the lungs to expel the fluid. If you plan to drink it throughout the day, chop enough root (and skins) for 5-8 teaspoons and place in a larger teapot; cover with one quart boiling water and steep 10-15 minutes. Strain, add 1 tablespoon honey, and store in a thermos.

Taking a bath? Add ginger tea to the hot water and enjoy how it makes you feel. Keep it out of your eyes, and massage your muscles while you're in the bath.

More tips tomorrow on how to use this wonderful herbs,

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