Updated: Sep 21, 2021
We are all familiar with ginger. It helps us with digestion, warms us up during the winter months, helps decrease inflammation and is always paired with sushi- and for good reason. This plant is so easily overlooked as a medicine and I think it's time to return to what's simple, known, readily available and inexpensive during these times of need and extra support.
Ginger has traditionally been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine to help relieve a fever, a cold, cough, asthma, vomiting, as well as to warm the lungs, as an anti-inflammatory and many other ailments. In Chinese medicine is is considered to be a "guide" for other herbs and is combined with them to help bring them where they need to go in the body.
Is a respiratory antiviral
It increases circulation
Reduces inflammation in the bronchial passageways and thins mucus to help move it out of the system (this is key for right now, which is a big reason why I wanted to post about the benefits of ginger)
It also helps to reduce coughing and decreases anxiety.
It is also an antibacterial, anti fungal and immune stimulant.
I think it's safe to say that this herb can be of benefit with our current situation, as we could use some extra love with thinning mucus in our lungs and some help decreasing our viral load if exposed to a virus.
And, at least we know that it's a food so it can be incorporated into our diet very easily, in many different ways and in fairly large doses. Ginger comes highly recommended as a daily food, especially as it gets colder outside and these pungent foods are of extra support to our systems.
Ginger and anxiety- a big one many are dealing with right now:
First of all, anxiety can be caused by many factors (many of which are not included):
Being sensitive to external stimuli (highly sensitive people- in which case the nervous system really needs ample support)
Inflammation (caused by many different culprits, each to be navigated personally), too much focus on the future (in which case presence, meditation and breath work can come in handy).
For now, however, we're going to focus on how this amazing plant can assist in decreasing anxiety by addressing the inflammatory response in the body and how it can also help the brain function at a greater capacity.
Anxiety can also be caused by inflammation of the gut or improper functioning of the gut (gut-brain connection) which is addressed through consumption of ginger. It helps with digestion in the stomach and according to a study on the impact ginger has on the microbiome (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2020.576061/full) it has been shown to impact the bacteria in our gut as well- in a positive way, of course.
How does ginger help?
According to BeBrainFit.com, the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger help decrease anxiety since many brain disorders are linked to chronic inflammation within the system.
Ginger also increases blood flow to the brain (which is vital as this action helps to deliver important nutrients to the brain which help to heal it and for proper functioning)
It can improve vagus nerve health (which greatly assists in reducing anxiety and calming the nervous system).
Ginger and the brain:
Ginger helps to reduce oxidative damage from stress, fried foods, alcohol, tobacco, air pollution, exposure to toxins and cell phone radiation.
It increases serotonin and dopamine, improves memory and attention and when combined with ginkgo and ginseng, it can assist in adrenal fatigue.
These are only a few indications for how ginger can be of benefit to the brain and body.
I highly recommend diving into your own research if you feel a connection to ginger.
Herbalist Stephen Buhner says to juice ginger for the optimal benefits. His advice is to drink the ginger juice at the onset of symptoms and to drink it every 2-3 hours to keep the constituents at high levels in the blood. If you don't have a juicer, then you can grate or chop the ginger and steep in 8-12 ounces hot water, covered, for 2-3 hours and drink 4-6 cups a day.
Have lots of ginger and are looking for a yummy recipe? Try making yourself a ginger bug, homemade ginger ale or simply a spiced ginger juice.
Here is a recipe from Nourished Kitchen for a Ginger Bug:
Here is a recipe for a Ginger Ale from Kami McBride:
And here is a Spiced Ginger Juice recipe by Stephen Buhner
1-2 ounces fresh ginger juice
8-10 ounces hot water
1 tbs wildflower honey
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Combine and drink 4-6 cups a day.
Our Herbal Ginger Elder Syrup is packed with ginger juice to help assist in the guidance of the herbs present as well as doing all of the amazing things mentioned above. Here's a link to purchase if you're interested in really boosting your immune system on many accounts.
Herbal Fire Cider is also packed with grated ginger and the benefits are extracted through vinegar (not as potent as the ginger juice in the elder syrup, but still a key component in the recipe).
The Herbal Honey is also packed with grated ginger and paired with garlic and other herbs to help the system stay healthy.
I hope this post inspires you to do what it takes to properly nourish and support your body and to realize how food is medicine. It's so important to live in coherence with nature, to trust the wisdom and medicine of the plants and to also trust in our innate abilities to self-heal. The plants are a higher consciousness than we are, have been here much longer and know more of what we need than we come close to giving them credit for.
Spend time with the plant itself or sit in a meditation with a cup of warm ginger tea and see what messages the plant has to offer you. Ask ginger to heal your body and to assist you in whatever it is you feel you need assistance in. Get curious. See what happens.
For those of you who love science: :)
A pro-inflammatory bacterial strain decreased in percentage in the gut through the use of ginger juice and an anti-inflammatory, bacterial butyrate producer increased. "These results indicated that the anti-inflammatory effects of ginger may be at least partially due to variations in the relative abundance of these butyrate-related species. Collectively, these results showed that short-term intake of ginger juice had substantial effects on the composition and function of gut microbiota in healthy people." Side-note: butyrate is beneficial for healing leaky gut and is also found in ghee (clarified butter).
According to Atlas Bio Med, "a diversified microbiome has more bacteria that product butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that makes the gut lining less porous. In tandem with the vagus nerve, this activity helps prevent metabolites produced by microbes from reaching the brain there they can modify mood and anxiety levels." The article goes on to say, "Inflammation affects the central nervous system and it can cause symptoms of depression. Conversely, depression can also cause inflammation. A diverse microbiome can help control inflammation through the production of butyrate because it strengthens the gut lining and prevents unwanted metabolites, toxins, and food particles from entering the body."