Ginger root

Did you know that the common household culinary Ginger is an excellent warming remedy in all 3 of the world’s classic medical systems?  (TCM, TGM & Ayurveda)

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Ginger Tea (decoction)

  1. Slice 1-3 g of fresh ginger root (about a thumb size) or use 3-10 g (dried root)
  2. With the lid on bring to a boil and simmer 15-20 mins
  3. Drink as warm as possible throughout the day 

A warm cup of FRESH ginger tea can: 

  • abort the onset of upper respiratory infections presenting chills, sneezing and coughing (acute colds and bronchitis)
    • Ginger has shown antiviral, antibacterial and immunostimulant effects
  • stimulate arterial circulation, providing warmth to the body’s surface and extremities
    • muscle aches and pains (regardless of origin)
    • Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatism

But DRIED Ginger root on the other hand is better for warming the INTERIOR more than the exterior

  • its a warming digestive stimulant for weak/atonic conditions of the digestive tract with internal or peripheral cold such as chronic gastritis and enteritis (often involves a pre-infectious microbial terrain) 
  • Also acts as warming emmenagogue in menstrual disorders presenting cold

Ginger’s Carminative, Anti-emetic & Spasmolytic actions also makes it excellent for 

  • nauseous (vomiting feelings)
  • stomach aches/pains, discomfort, bloating, gas
  • morning sickness, travel/motion sickness 

A small amount of ginger in a formula can make other remedies more acceptable to the digestive system

Ginger also has the unique property of assisting other remedies in reaching their tissue destination

  • Tropism enhancer
  • Improves circulation to abdominal and reproductive organs

In all 3 of the world’s classic medical systems, Ginger is an excellent warming remedy for all cold conditions.


Full monograph for herbalists:

Ginger root (and essential oil)

Zingiber officinale (Zingiberaceae)            生姜Shēngjiāng

Part Used: Rhizome

Effective qualities: Very pungent, aromatic, sweet, hot, dry
                                    Stimulating, relaxing, restoring, dispersing

Tropism: Lungs, digestive system, uterus, immune system
                   Lung, spleen, Stomach meridians
                   Warmth, Air bodies

Ground: Phlegmatic and Melancholic krases
               Dependent/Tai Yin and Burdened/Shao Yin biotypes
               All three constitutions

FUNCTIONS AND INDICATIONS

1 WARMS THE EXTERIOR, PROMOTES SWEATING AND DISPELS WIND-COLD;
WARMS THE LUNGS AND PROMOTES EXPECTORATION;
STIMULATES CIRCULATION AND RELIEVES MUSCLE PAIN                                                                 
external wine-cold:
cold extremities, chilliness, fatigue, sneezing, aches and pains
COLD and FLU ONSET
lung wind-cold: coughing with expectoration of white sputum, sneezing, chills
ACUTE BRONCHITIS
wind-damp obstruction: muscle aches and pains (esp. acute, intermittent)
PERIPHERAL CIRCULATORY DEFICIENCY, fibromyalgia, chilblains

2 WARMS THE STOMACH, PROMOTES DIGESTION AND RELIEVES FLATUS;
SETTLES THE STOMACH AND STOPS VOMITING                                                                           
stomach cold with Qi reflux:
dull epigastric pain better from massage or eating, vomiting sour liquid
stomach Qi stagnation: difficult, painful digestion, flatulence, nausea, distension
CHRONIC GASTRITIS, GATRIC DYSPEPSIA (atonic), colic
intestines cold (Spleen Yang deficiency): appetite loss, loose stool, chilliness
ENTERITIS, dysentery
NAUSEA or VOMITTING in any condition (incl. travel sickness, morning sickness)

3 WARMS THE INTERIOR AND PROMOTES MENSTRUATION                                                    
uterus cold
: delayed, scanty or no menstruation with constant cramps, dull red clots, chilliness
SPASMODIC DYSMENORRHEA, painful ovulation, amenorrhea
IMPOTENCE from cold or Kidney Yang deficiency

4 REDUCES INFECTION AND STIMULATES IMMUNITY; ANTIDOTES POISON                        
EPIDEMICS (also as prophylactic)
BACTERIAL and VIRAL INFECTIONS
TONSILITIS, laryngitis, sore throat
POISONING from herbs or food

Actions
Diaphoretic Expectorant
Carminative Anti-emetic Spasmolytic Peripheral circulatory stimulant
Anti-inflammatory
Antiplatelet  
Antiviral, antibacterial, immunostimulant
Diffusive stimulant & muscle stimulant
Digestive stimulant
Warming emmenagogue Carminative and anti-infective Tropism enhancer  
(Fisher, 2018; Bone, 2003; Holmes, 2007).
Indications
• Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatism
• Impaired peripheral circulation, Raynaud’s syndrome
• Digestive weakness, dyspepsia, intestinal colic, flatulent colic, bloating
• Nausea, morning sickness, travel sickness (chemotherapy)
• Acute infections, fever, common cold, acute & chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, bronchial asthma
• Spasmodic dysmenorrhoea, endometriosis – increases blood flow to pelvic region

PREPARATION

Use: the fresh or dried Ginger root is prepared by decoction or tincture or taken in essential oil form. The short decoction of the fresh root (decocted with lid on and drunk as warm as possible) has the best diaphoretic effect for warming the exterior and treating respiratory conditions (function 1).
     The decoction and tincture should be used for respiratory, digestive and menstrual conditions.
     Poultices and compresses are also prepared for sprains, spasms and muscle aches.
Dosage: Short decoction: 1-3 g (fresh root); 3-10 g (dried root)
               Tincture: 0.5-2 ml at 1:4 strength in 70% ethanol
               Essential oil: 1-2 drops in gelatin cap topped with olive oil  
               Liquid extract
1:2            5 – 15mL/week (LOW DOES)

Caution:

  • although Ginger root is not contraindicated in patients with peptic ulcers, it should be avoided in stomach and lung syndromes involving heat.Caution in cases of peptic ulceration or other gastric diseases. However, any exacerbation in such cases should be immediately apparent and transient. It is best not to proceed if symptoms such as heartburn occur. (Bone & Mills, 2013)
  • Use with caution in hot, dry or Yin-deficient conditions.
  • Also use with care during early pregnancy, and then mainly for relief of morning sickness.
  • Use with caution where there is peptic ulceration and other gastric irritation or gallstones (Bone & Mills, 2013).
  • Keep ginger levels low (2g or less daily) where there is increased risk of bleeding.
  • do not exceed daily dose of 4g in patients taking blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin or aspirin or who have an increased risk of haemorrhage.

Side effects: At higher doses, a blood-thinning effect and an increase in gastric secretory activity leading to heartburn is possible. (Bone & Mills, 2013)

Contraindications: gallstones, except under close supervision and should not exceed 2g of dried ginger for morning sickness during pregnancy. (Bone & Mills, 2013)

PREGNANCY and LACTATION
No proven increase in malformations of other harmful effects to the foetus despite consumption by large numbers of women. However, expert views on use in pregnancy are inconsistent. To align with good practice doses should not exceed 2g daily in pregnancy and lactation (Bone & Mills, 2013).

Constituents: Volatile oil (aromatic), phenolics, particularly gingerols, phenylpropanoids, and phenolic acids, which give the herb its pungency (Fisher, 2018)


References:

Bone, K. & Mills, S. (2013). Principles and practice of phytotherapy (2nd ed.). Edinburgh, Scotland: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

Fisher, C. (2018). Materia medica of western herbs. London, England: Aeon Books Ltd.

Holmes, P. (2007). The energetics of western herbs (Vol. 1, 4th Rev. ed.). Cotati, CA: Snow Lotus Press.

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