Ginger is used as a spice in many foods, mostly sweets like ginger snaps and, of course, ginger bread cookies. It is even dried and coated with sugar to create pungent and sweet sugared ginger candy confections. Ginger has an importance that is not limited to the bakery, however. In today's #FoodieFriday blog, I will give you a few more uses for this wonderful root.
Have you ever wondered what that little pile of pink stuff is on the plate next to your sushi and wasabe? It's pickled ginger. It is very pungent, and some people don't like it because of that. However, it is there for a purpose. Ginger is the best antidote for seafood poisoning - it has anti-toxic effects for other food poisonings as well.
Ginger tea will help with vomiting. Raw ginger juice and water, sipped slowly, can reduce the feeling of nausea. A bout of diarrhea can be helped with a poultice of ginger paste applied to the abdomen. Pain in the abdomen or stomach can be helped by drinking a tea with dried ginger and cloves.
An unconventional application of ginger is to apply fresh ginger to the scalp and rub into a bald area to stimulate the regrowth of hair. Another is for arthritis; ginger can be rubbed on the sore areas and also ingested as a tea. The arthritis should be "cold" arthritis, meaning that the joints ache more in the cold, and they are not red, swollen or hot-feeling.
And finally, ginger is something often prescribed for expelling the common cold, usually at the very beginning stage of illness when the invading pathogen is in the outer "layers" of the body. A ginger tea, consumed 3-5 times a day during initial onset, will help the patient "push out" the cold, and speed recovery time. It is important when battling the cold that when the ginger tea is consumed to cover exposed skin, especially at the back of the neck, and stay warm - the tea will cause the person to sweat and avoiding wind blowing on the skin during that time is critical to keeping a cold at bay.
Keep some fresh ginger root around at all times - you never know when you might need it!
I'm here to help, as always.
--Marissa Byrum, AP, DOM, Dipl. Ac., is an associate at Ideal Balance Center for Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine in Temple Terrace, FL.