Dear Leah Renee,
I have been on the verge of getting sick and need something to kick it! Help! ~Allison, NY
There are so many powerful herbs and spices to help fight a cold. One of the very best ways to help you kick that bug (and prevent it next time) is with fresh ginger root. People have been using this common household item for thousands of years for a good reason. It contains medicinal properties which aids the immune system and warms you up inside. Because of that, it’s a fantastic cold remedy and has a wide range of other uses for any day of the year.
Here are some ways ginger aids the body:
- Gastrointestinal relief. Ginger is effective at relieving gas and soothe the digestive tract. motion sickness, morning sickness, and more!
- Anti-inflammatory. Ginger contains compounds called gingerols (that makes sense!) which can help those who suffer from arthritis. We hear a lot these days about inflammation and the wreak it has on our body, so incorporating ginger in your diet will help combat it!
- Joint pain reliever. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties ginger can help relieve joint pain in the body.
- It tastes really good. Yummy = Happy = Healthy 🙂
- Immune booster. Ginger is naturally warming and can promote perspiration when ingested in larger amounts. If you are fighting a fever, this can help you sweat it out! You may need to use a little bit more than usual to heighten the effect.
- Stimulates circulation. Many people suffer from poor circulation. Due to the warming effect of ginger it aids in amping up circulation and gets the blood flowing.
- Metabolic function. Who doesn’t like this one?! Get it going (without even hopping on the treadmill!). Like the last bullet point says, it gets the blood flowing and revs up your internal fire. Woo!
- Powerful anti-nausea. Ginger can help relieve symptoms of nausea for those suffering from motion sickness, post operative queasiness, and women suffering from morning sickness, and stomach flu cramps.
I find the best and tastiest way to add ginger to drinks (like ones to boost immunity) and meals is to make ginger juice. Preparing ginger juice is easy and it keeps it in a mason jar in the fridge for weeks and weeks. This makes it simple and easy to grab for when you need it. I like it even more because at the health food store it’s pricey, so making it at home is that much more satisfying! Please note: this drink is super concentrated so depending on the recipe/strength desired, you will only need 1 to 3 tablespoons at a time.
Here’s what you need:
- Ginger Root
- Filtered Water
- Vegetable Peeler
- Cutting board
- Mesh Strainer
- Mason Jar (or another glass jar with air free lid)
- Rinse off the ginger root under cold water.
- Using your veggie peeler, peel the skin off the ginger (and discard).
- Chop the ginger into pieces.
- Add ginger pieces to blender.
- Pour in filtered water until half of the ginger is covered. Blend. If using a Vitamix, keep it on setting 5 (after starting at 1) and blend for about 40 seconds. If you use a higher setting it spits the ginger all over the blender and it wastes a lot of it.
- Using a mesh strainer and a bowl or large cup underneath, gently pour some of the mixture into the strainer and press down so all the ginger juice is extracted from the ginger fibers. You could also use a cheese cloth for this process.
- Get messy! Using your (clean) fingers, press down on the rind to squeeze more juice into the bowl. You’d be surprised how much more you get when you do this!!! It’s like a sponge.
- Poor into a mason jar or a re-used glass jar.
There are endless ways to use ginger juice, but here are a few of my faves:
- Health & Immunity Tonic: add 3 TBS ginger juice, the juice of one lemon, a couple dashes of turmeric, a pinch of cayenne pepper, & 1 TB manuka honey in warm water (not boiling as it destroys the beneficial nutrients).
- Ginger Tea: 3 TBS ginger juice, warm water (or over ice), sweetener of choice (I use raw honey).
- Carrot, Ginger, Miso Soup: recipe found here.
- Chai Tea: Chai tea (loose leaf or bag), warm water, 2 TBS ginger juice, sweetener or choice, 1/4 cup almond milk (any milk will do, I like the unsweetened vanilla).
- Digestive Tonic: Apple Cider Vinegar, ginger juice, squeeze of lemon, water, sweetener of choice.
- Curb a Sweet Tooth: Try one of my favorite inflammation fighting, anti-oxidant packed drinks here. You’ll love it and feel better for it!
- Add to stir-fry’s and other recipes that may call for ginger.
What’s your favorite way to use ginger?