Ginger (or ginger root) cultivation began in South Asia over 4,000 years ago, and has since begun sprouting up all over the world. It’s in the same plant family as turmeric and cardamon, and can be used as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It’s anti-inflammatory properties also make it a great ingredient to use in different bath and body recipes, to help soothe aches and relax muscles.
Ginger in Food
Ginger is used to add a fragrant, spicy flavor to dishes. It can also be made into a candy, ginger ale, and added as a flavoring in recipes for cookies, cakes, and breads.
Ginger as Medicine
For thousands of years, ginger has also been used in herbal and folk medicine. There are so many ways to use ginger for healing and soothing the body:
- Helps with digestion – Ginger helps promote saliva and bile production in the stomach, both of which are central to healthy digestive health. It can be taken either as a supplement pill or as a tea. A bit of raw honey added to the ginger tea tastes great and promotes healthy bacteria in the gut – which also aids digestion.
- Reduces nausea – Whether it’s motion-sickness, morning sickness during pregnancy, upset stomach, or post-chemotherapy, ginger gets to the root of the problem by going straight to work in the stomach, unlike commercial anti-nausea medications which just block messages to the brain.
- Boosts immunity – As a natural immune booster, ginger gives a warming and energizing effect on the body. It helps promote healthy sweat during colds and flus, during which the seat glands secrete a compound which protects the skin from infection.
- Anti-inflammatory – Ginger’s heating effect is also great for arthritic conditions, helping to reduce swelling around inflamed joints. It can be used to make a compress, an oil, a salve, or a liniment – recipes for these can be found here.
Ginger in Bath & Body Care
The warming effect of ginger makes it a great addition to many bath and body care applications!
- Foot Bath/Soak – Just add 2 tbsp. of dried ginger, or 2 tsp. of fresh grated ginger to your foot bath water.
- Body Scrub – Add 2 tsp. of freshly grated ginger to your favorite body scrub – recipe can be found here.
- Massage Oil – Either fresh or dried ginger can be infused with a carrier oil (ie: almond or olive oil) for 1-2 weeks, then used as warming massage oil – recipes here and here.
- Bath Salts – Add a few teaspoons of freshly grated ginger along with some coarse sea salt or epsom salts for a warm, soothing bath – recipe can be found here.
Please Note: If you have high or low blood pressure, are on blood thinners, suffer from gallstones, or have any kind of heart condition, it is best to check with your healthcare professional before consuming ginger root on a regular basis. Ginger may make your symptoms worse or interact with any medications you may be taking.
How do you use ginger in your home? Do you prefer fresh or dried ginger? Anymore ideas to add to this list?
About the Author:
Sarah is a former school teacher turned stay-at-home wife and mother. She is the author of Nature’s Nurture – a blog about everything simple, natural, and homemade – in which she documents the changes she’s making to slowly convert her home into a more natural, sustainable, toxic-free environment for her family. Nature’s Nurture also serves as a resource for others looking for simple ways to take small steps towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle. You can follow along at her blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.