Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

By Hannah-Beth Kusler

I am certain you know about ginger – especially when it comes to cooking – but did you know it has a ton of medicinal properties as well? It is a staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine – for good reason! Discover its many benefits and a fun recipe below.

Ginger Root benefits

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it’s known as Sheng Jiang. It has been used in China and India since ancient times. The root is the medicinal part of the plant – it is often boiled from its raw state or dried and powdered. Ginger is commonly referred to as ‘the holy herb for vomiting’ – it is great to settle the stomach and relieve nausea. It is also a tonifying herb for the digestive system. Chewing on a chunk of the raw root prior to eating your meals will kickstart your digestive process. It is great to take if you experience any motion sickness, abdominal cramping or gas. That said, if you have a sensitive stomach, ulcers or acid reflux, use caution. If you feel the beginning of a cold or flu coming on, boil yourself a warming cup of ginger tea to kick out any external pathogens. It is a peripheral circulatory stimulant and can help detoxify the body. Ginger can help soothe and relieve coughs that accompany any cold, as well as reduce any phlegm in the lungs.

Although we may often associate ginger root with its culinary uses, it is incredibly medicinal! Adding it to your meals if you have a colder constitution is a great way to boost your yang qi and warm your body. It is also great to include more in the cooler months to boost your wei qi/immunity.

How to incorporate it?

Ginger root is great used raw – boil it to make a ginger decoction. You can also add it to your cooking, grate it over salads to add a bit of warmth or throw it in a blender to make a dressing or sauce! I love making a simple ginger syrup to add to my teas, water, make fun mocktails with… brings a bit of sweetness with the spiciness!

Ginger Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large thumbs of fresh ginger root

Add all the ingredients to a small pot, continually stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil then simmer on low for about an hour – or until the ginger flavor shines to a degree you enjoy! Let it cool to room temperature and enjoy it in your beverages, over fruit or grain bowls, any way your imagination runs with it! Store in a sealed jar in the fridge for about a week or pour into an ice cube tray and freeze to have it around a little longer. One of my favorite ways to use this is in a chai tea or matcha elixir!

As always, consult your TCM herbalist/practitioner before beginning any new herbs. It has a few contraindications and interactions. Therefore, it should be discussed to see if this herb can assist you on your journey!

Zingiber officinalis. Marisa Marciano. The Naturopathic Herbalist. 2015. [cited May 5, 2022]