The herbs and spices sitting in your spice drawer are powerful allies for your health. They don’t just make your food taste better, they can make you feel better too. For the month of April, I will recommend some of the most powerful healing herbs and spices, along with featured recipes to help you add them to your diet. Have any questions or comments, e-mail us!
Herbs and Spices for Your Health: Organic Ginger
Ginger is a flowering plant in the family Zingiberaceae. The Indians and ancient Chinese used the root of ginger as a tonic to treat common ailments and ginger has always been an integral part of Asian cuisines due to its digestive properties.
In the book Herbal Emissaries: Bringing Chinese Herbs to the West, Steven Foster writes: Ginger is truly an herbal emissary in the broadest sense. Perhaps no other herb, except garlic, crosses all barriers, cultural, historical, and geographic–food versus medicine, Western versus Oriental, scientific versus folk tradition. Ginger is a universal herb in all respects.
Ginger contains compounds that have demonstrated protective effects for the brain and is used in several forms of alternative medicine. Ginger root contains a very high level of total antioxidants that help prevent certain types of cell damage especially those caused by oxidation. Oxidative damage has been linked to health conditions like heart disease, cancer and dementia. Ginger also has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat nausea and help with pain management.
Fresh ginger root has a strong, robust flavor and is a versatile herb to keep on hand for added flavor. It can be sliced and sprinkled over vegetables before roasting. Combine grated ginger root with carrots, apples and lemon juice in your next smoothie or juice. Asian pickled ginger is amazing on sushi. On the run? Chew a piece raw – it tastes great and is very refreshing. Ginger tea can help strengthen your immunity due to the high levels of antioxidants. Ginger tea also has calming properties that may help lower your stress and tension.
Buying and storing. Because it is a root vegetable, it is more susceptible to fertilizers, so be sure to buy organic ginger.Ginger should have a spicy and fresh fragrance. Look for full, plump roots that are juicy and not dried out on the ends. Ginger skin should be thin, never thick and fibrous and you should be able to easily nick the skin with your nail. Sometimes ginger is displayed and sold in bigger hands but it is okay to break off just what you need. Fresh ginger will snap off easily. Fresh unpeeled ginger can be refrigerated for up to a week and frozen up to two months if tightly wrapped. To use frozen ginger simply slice off a piece of the unthawed root.
Here are two go-to flavorful ginger recipes that I think you’ll like.
Foster, Steven, 1957-. (1992). Herbal emissaries : bringing Chinese herbs to the West : a guide to gardening, herbal wisdom, and well-being. Rochester, Vt. :Healing Arts Press,
Saenghong, N., Wattanathorn, J., Muchimapura, S., Tongun, T., Piyavhatkul, N., Banchonglikitkul, C., & Kajsongkram, T. (2012). Zingiber officinale Improves Cognitive Function of the Middle-Aged Healthy Women. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : ECAM, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/383062