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Sunday, June 05, 2005

All About Ginger: A Healing Root

For most of my life I thought “ginger” was all about bread and houses. Warm gingerbread to eat with a dollop of whipped cream and Gingerbread Houses to decorate at the holidays. Turns out there’s more to the little root than holiday confections.

Ginger is revered in Asia as both a stimulant and relaxant. For centuries various forms of ginger have been used to quell nausea. Several studies have investigated this effect, and in Germany, ginger is approved as a medical treatment for motion sickness and heartburn.

In the article about healthy breathing we posted a respiratory tonic made from freshly squeezed gingerroot. The recipe bears repeating:

Ginger Respiratory Tonic:
To one cup of warm water add 6-7 drops freshly squeezed ginger juice (peel a small gingerroot, grate it and press it) and ½ teaspoon of honey. Drink on an empty stomach.

(This tonic is effective for reducing nausea – a daily symptom reported by many gastric bypass patients.)

Buying & Using Ginger:
You will find fresh ginger in the produce section of most supermarkets. Look for a “hand” of ginger. It should be smooth and very firm with glossy, pinkish-tan skin. It should never look shriveled.

To prepare ginger cut off a knob or “finger” as needed. Pare it with a vegetable peeler. Then grate, chop, mince or sliver as recipe directs. For ginger juice first grate the desired amount of ginger into a small bowl. Extract the juice by squeezing the grated ginger with fingers, press it in a tea strainer or wring it in a square of cheesecloth.

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