root medicine | ginger root

young ginger root | sheng jiang

Ginger root is a powerful healing medicine and is usually easy to find at most quality grocery stores.  (Please be mindful whenever purchasing roots of any description that they are from the most clean source you can obtain.) There is a way to use ginger root with almost anything and I encourage you to explore recipes that will expand your understanding of where and how you might get more of this amazing root in your diet. Very simply, you can make tea. Clean the root with a soft brush, slice it thin or grate it, then put it in a cup of boiling water to steam for 3-5 minutes. Drink as it is or add honey, citrus, spices such as cardamom or cinnamon or anise, something savory like dill or spicy like cayenne and it might become your most favored beverage. I love to use ginger root flagrantly. It is anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, aids in digestion, promotes intestinal health, I can go on forever. If you don’t know what to try, try ginger (unless you are allergic or inordinately hot or dislike the flavor) it is worth giving it the first shot to cure whatever ails you. Even if you are hot, young ginger can often bring down a fever (where more aged or dried ginger can bring warmth to cold conditions.)

ginger root mother | gan jiang

The version of ginger root that we use in Chinese medicinal formulations is known as xi xin in the dry powder form and sheng jiang in the fresh young root form, gan jiang is the ginger mother which is tougher, hotter and and more dispersing | asarum, Chinese wild ginger. The very best quality of the thirty different Chinese species is considered to be wild crafted from the Liaoning province in the north. Chinese ginger is very powerful and tends to be used in smaller doses than one might of a root bought in the produce section of the stores in America. If it has been powdered, around 3 grams maximum. Ginger enters the channels of the lung, heart and kidney. It relieves pain and reaches the head, lungs, bones and joints to disperse wind, cold, dampness and phlegm. Typically we will not prescribe this form of ginger if there is profuse sweating in deficient conditions or headache. In the Chinese Material Medica ginger can be found under the category “herbs that release the exterior.” We prescribe it regularly to treat common cold patterns, relieve vomiting, indigestion, nausea, flu, unblock urination and relieve pain. In the Divine Husbandman’s Classic of the Material Medica, sheng jiang, fresh young ginger root, “unblockes the clarity of the spirit.”  

additional note of interest

According to the famous poet Su Shi and the celebrated natural philosopher Shen Gua, in their eleventh century compilation Fine Formulas of Su and Shen, combining green tea leaves with ginger root in equal parts can relieve travelers dysentery and vomiting. I have used this combination successfully when I did not have access to other remedies and find it absolutely invaluable.  

2 thoughts on “root medicine | ginger root

  1. Pingback: root medicine | dandelion root | Cathedral of the Moon

  2. Pingback: segue to spring | Cathedral of the Moon

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