This article was written by Vera Tweed and originally published in Amazing Wellness magazine.
“Ginger is a workhorse herb,” says Mary Hardy, M.D., a Los Angeles-based integrative physician. Tradition, scientific studies, and Hardy’s experience have shown that ginger can be helpful for everything from digestive upset like nausea to joint and muscle issues, and even sore feet. Not to mention, the herb enhances circulation and supports cardiovascular health. “It’s a good herb for self-care,” says Hardy. “It has a very good safety record, is easily available, and is inexpensive.”
From adding it to soups and stir-fries to juicing it with fruits and veggies, there are plenty of ways to eat and drink ginger. Here are Hardy’s recommendations for even more concentrated benefits.
1. Brew Ginger Tea
A good ginger tea starts with really fresh ginger root. “Take a nice, plump root that has a thin skin, is unmarked, and smells fresh when you break a little piece off,” Hardy says. “The root should be a nice, light, bright yellow, and should have the spicy smell you’re used to, as well as a slight citrusy after-smell.”
Here’s how to brew your mug:
- Add one to two teaspoons of freshly grated root to a cup of hot water
- Steep for 10 minutes
- Strain, add a little honey, and start sipping
For better digestion, drink ginger tea after a meal. For everything else, sip any time! If you’re dealing with nausea, especially morning sickness-related nausea, a ginger root supplement may be better tolerated (we’ll talk about those soon). In a pinch, try bagged ginger tea, like Yogi Tea Ginger Tea.
2. Make A Ginger Compress
Studies have shown that the combination of ginger and heat has a synergistic effect that helps soothe joint and muscle pain, stomach discomfort, and bloating.
A hot ginger compress can be applied a few times a day. Here’s what Hardy recommends:
- Follow the tea-brewing directions (minus the honey), but use two to three times as much ginger root
- Soak a small, 100 percent-cotton cloth in the liquid and apply it to the desired area
- Wrap the compress in plastic wrap and leave it in place until it starts to cool down
- The ginger liquid can be reheated and reused for later compresses
To relieve sore feet, soak them in a bucket filled with an extra-strong version of the brew.
3. Use Ginger Aromatherapy
As an alternative to the compress, Hardy recommends diluting two to three drops of ginger essential oil (like Aura Cacia’s Fresh Ginger Essential Oil) in a palm-sized amount of organic olive oil or another neutral oil.
Rub the oil mixture on the affected areas, such as joints, muscles, or, in the case of indigestion or menstrual cramps, across your midsection.
4. Take A Ginger Supplement
For a more concentrated therapeutic option, turn to a ginger supplement. Hardy recommends capsules of dried ginger root, like The Vitamin Shoppe brand Ginger Root.
For nausea related to pregnancy, take one gram per day. For non-pregnancy-related nausea, doses may vary from one to five grams per day. To soothe muscles or joints, try two to three grams per day. To avoid stomach upset, ginger supplements are best taken with food.
5. Eat Ginger
Although your standard Western diet likely doesn’t contain enough ginger to deliver therapeutic benefits, fresh ginger in food does impact health!
One Iranian study published in the journal Nutrition, for example, linked daily ginger consumption with better overall health long-term.