Ginger root is one of the most versatile herbs and an important ingredient for both medicines and foods, according to "The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants." "The Yoga of Herbs" says ginger is sattvic--it restores overall balance of body and soul and helps achieve higher states of consciousness. Ginger is versatile, and should be combined with herbs to complement your targeted use. Talk to your doctor before using any herbal supplements.
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When selecting herbs to combine with ginger root, consider the desired effect. According to "The Yoga of Herbs," choosing herbs that complement that effect will boost the overall strength of your herbal preparation for medicinal use. Ginger works on the respiratory and digestive systems and all tissues of the bod, according to the book. Your selection of herbs to combine with ginger will depend on which system or tissue of the body you are treating. For culinary use, consider that ginger is a pungent heating spice that both helps digestion and prevents infection, according to "The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants."
In digestion, ginger is a carminative, which relieves gas. "The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants" recommends combining relaxing and carminative herbs to help with stomach spasms. Good relaxing herbs for this combination include chamomile, fennel seed, lemon balm, mint, anise and angelica. For infections in the digestive system, combine ginger with mint, catnip or yarrow. Ginger and senna pods combine to make a strong laxative. Avoid yarrow, senna and large doses of ginger if you are pregnant.
Ginger is a circulatory stimulant and "The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants" recommends it for internal and external treatment of chillblains. Herbs that combine well with ginger for circulatory use include garlic, gingko, cayenne, turmeric, prickly ash, rosemary, echinacea and crampbark. Drink these in an herbal tea or for a stimulating herbal bath, add an infusion of ginger with rosemary to your bath water. Don't take cayenne internally if you have ulcers or acid indigestion. Prickly ash exacerbates inflammation in the stomach. High doses of echinacea may cause nausea. Turmeric use sometimes causes skin rashes and increased sun sensitivity. Pregnant women should avoid rosemary, prickly ash and cayenne.
Nausea and Motion Sickness
According to "The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants," ginger is a classic remedy for nausea and motion sickness. Combine ginger with turmeric or galangal--a member of the ginger family--in a nausea-relieving infusion. Steep the combined fresh or powered herbs in boiling water for five minutes and drink up to five cups a day. Carry the warm infusion in a thermos to sip for motion sickness. Avoid using ginger if your nausea is due to morning sickness.
Besides its medicinal properties, ginger is a flavorful spice that completes many dishes. Its carminative action means that it will help with digestion of the meal, says "The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants." Ginger is indispensable to South Asian cooking. It is best to use it in small amounts both due to its strong taste and medicinal action. Use it in meat and vegetable marinades. Add finely chopped ginger to stir fries, soups and homemade salad dressings. For a fresher flavor and added medicinal strength, add raw ground ginger to soups and bean dishes right after cooking is done.
Garlic and Lemon
Combine ginger with garlic and lemon for strong antiviral and antibacterial action. "The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants" recommends applying this mixture directly on the affected skin for cold sores, chicken pox or shingles. For sore throats, tonsillitis, colds, flu and fevers, eat fresh grated garlic and ginger with lemon juice by the spoonful, chew ginger and garlic pieces, or juice them in a vegetable juicer with carrots for a milder flavor.