One of my favorite practices is making and enjoying a pot of fresh ginger tea.
I boil water, and slice up about 1-2 inches of fresh organic ginger, put it into a tea pot and pour boiling water over it. I steep it for about 5-10 minutes, and enjoy the contents over the course of the afternoon. Sometimes I will add fresh, raw honey if it is raining outside – to add a bit of sunshine to my day. It serves as good company – soothing and comforting -- and I just love the flavor -- hot, cold, or room temperature. It feels great knowing that I am getting so many benefits from this delicious drink while simultaneously serving my body in a multitude of ways.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale), is a member of the Zingiberaceae family, and is closely related to turmeric, and cardamom. The rhizome, or rootstalk, is what is commonly used in a variety of forms, which can include fresh, dried as a powder, or as an oil or juice.
There are over 100 compounds that have been isolated from ginger. The major compounds include gingerol and shogaols, which have been researched to exert anti-cancerous activity against some GI cancers and also combat oxidative stress. Some of the less known compounds include zingiberene, zingerone, terpenes, amino acids, raw fiber, phytosterols, vitamins, and minerals.
Used since the ancient times by cultures, including Indian and Chinese, its medicinal properties have long been used to support heartbeat and regulate menstruation, as well as to reduce nausea associated with motion sickness, morning sickness, chemotherapy, and surgery. Ginger has also been used to support metabolic syndrome, various inflammatory conditions, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatism, as well as infertility. Ginger has also been used for digestive support, treating upset stomachs, bloating, gas, flatulence, diarrhea, dyspepsia, appetite loss, and heartburn.
Six studies investigating the efficiency of 500mg of ginger powder as an anti-inflammatory agent against osteoarthritis (OA) consistently reported improvement when compared to control groups. This was based on the lowered levels of circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines that were observed after 3 months of use.
If taken in the evening, it can support insomnia and aid in gastric health by regulating the migrating motor complex-- a system of electrical impulses designed to move food stuffs through the digestive tract -- thus reducing gastric emptying time and supporting and elimination.
Regarding the use of ginger to support metabolic syndrome. Studies have shown significant lowering of insulin sensitivity, insulin resistance, fasting blood sugar, and hemoglobin A1C levels. It was also demonstrated to support lipid profiles, inflammatory markers, and antioxidant levels along with a reduction in triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol, and C-reactive protein – one of your body’s key cardiovascular inflammatory markers.
Ginger can be added to many prepared food dishes. You can also add 1 or 2 inches of fresh ginger to your daily smoothie. Though it is readily available in supplement form, I choose to enjoy my intake through tea. By incorporating a sense of presence into this daily ritual, I gain more than the physiological health benefits. I am able to to glean a little bit of Soul Minded magic that comes with the conscious and intentional practice associated with it.
Click the link below to view some of my favorite ginger supplements:
Prasad S, Tyagi AK. Ginger and its constituents: role in prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal cancer. Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2015;2015:142979. doi: 10.1155/2015/142979. Epub 2015 Mar 8. PMID: 25838819; PMCID: PMC4369959.
Micklefield GH, Redeker Y, Meister V, Jung O, Greving I, May B. Effects of ginger on gastroduodenal motility. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1999 Jul;37(7):341-6. PMID: 10442508.
Khandouzi N, Shidfar F, Rajab A, Rahideh T, Hosseini P, Mir Taheri M. The effects of ginger on fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin a1c, apolipoprotein B, apolipoprotein a-I and malondialdehyde in type 2 diabetic patients. Iran J Pharm Res. 2015 Winter;14(1):131-40. PMID: 25561919; PMCID: PMC4277626.