One of the most beneficial and nutritious teas I have made is here in Panama is ginger tea. All that is required is fresh Ginger, a rhizome or underground stem, not a root as one might guess from the way it looks. Add stick cinnamon, a splash of apple juice & slice of lemon for extra zing and viola, you have a healing beverage as refreshing as water with healing properties.
The spicy, aromatic compounds in the rhizome that impart the medicinal activity to ginger are relatively susceptible to heat and oxygen, so tread gingerly when making medicine from this herb. Store fresh ginger in a cool, dark, dry place, not in refrigerator and use within 2-3 weeks.
To make a ½ gallon of tea, cut two five-inch rhizome into slices, add a few sticks of cinnamon and simmer in 10 – 12 cups of water on low heat for 15 minutes. Cover the pot while cooking to retain as many volatile constituents as possible
After cooking, remove the ginger from the water or let it steep a short while to strengthen the flavor to suit as it cools. Drink hot or cold, add a splash of apple juice to tea and slice of lemon, then enjoy! The cooked slices can be eaten or used after cooking for other purposes.
Ginger is extremely safe but promotes circulation, so do not take with blood thinners without first consulting your health care professional, also safe for short-term use in pregnancy.
Ginger does not cause stomach irritation; instead it helps protect and heal the gut. Ginger is well known for its beneficial effects on motion and morning sickness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It acts to reduce stomach and intestinal spasms, while at the same time supporting digestion. Ginger is also a powerful antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory. It reduces the joint pain and swelling associated with arthritis, eases migraine headaches and prevents stomach ulcer formation. Ginger’s ability to combat a variety of diseases and conditions is due in part to its impact on excessive inflammation, which is a significant underlying cause of many illnesses. Ginger reduces cholesterol levels by preventing cholesterol absorption from the diet and increases its elimination from the body. It reduces platelet aggregation (blood clotting) and supports cardiovascular health.
Ginger has been used in foods and medicines in China and India since the fourth century BC or earlier. It was traded extensively through the Middle East and Europe. The Spanish brought ginger with them on their voyages to the New World. Ginger has been called the “universal medicine” in Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional medical system of India, because it benefits all three body types, or “doshas.” In Chinese medicine, ginger is still used today to treat stomachaches, nausea and diarrhea.
The active compounds in ginger have also been shown in animal and test tube studies to prevent and may help treat various forms of cancer. A group of scientists in South Korea have found that gingerol may prevent the spread of breast cancer cells. Scientists in Taiwan and the United States have found that shogaol, another compound found in ginger and gingerol may prevent colon and ovarian cancer cell growth.