Spice it Up With Ginger

My ginger herb box from Natural Herbal Living.

My ginger herb box from Natural Herbal Living.

It was with mixed emotions that I received my first herb box from Natural Herbal Living magazine. This is the new e-magazine that sends a herb sample which includes the fresh herb, essential oil, flower essence, and recipe accessories each month. I greatly looked forward to learning and playing with with the box contents. However, this first month featured “ginger”, and I wasn’t sure I liked ginger all that much.

Oh, I like ginger. I like fresh ginger in Asian flavored dishes. I sort of like gingersnaps and gingerbread. I am not much of a baker, though. Just what is this box going to be about?

Tea! I love herbal tea, and never thought to slice a cup of raw ginger rhizome and boil it in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes. Presto, quite a tasty tea. It was a little too tasty and perhaps I overindulged. My slight stomach upset was a subtle warning that ginger can be a medicinal herb and I should take care and respect possible dosage issues. One or two mugs of hot tea is warm and comforting. A glass or two of iced ginger tea is absolutely refreshing. Some add a sweetener, but I found it unnecessary. In fact, the iced tea is delicious perfectly plain, although better diluted with a little more water before even pouring over ice.

Ginger tea is reputed to aid in settling nausea, such as from pregnancy or sea sickness. Long ago I used to to slice a bit of fresh ginger and put it in a baggie for my often carsick son to smell as he rode in the car. That was an effective remedy that I had forgotten about until studying the lessons from this box.

The essential oil is said to contain some strong therapeutic properties. It is recommended to dilute the oil before using directly on the skin. I use a diluting oil called “Featherlight”, but any vegetable oil will do. How well does it work? Well, my daughter just happened to have pretty sore muscles last week. Among other things, ginger oil is said to have analgesic, or pain relieving properties. My daughter agreed to test it, so we diluted a little ginger oil and rubbed it into her upper arm muscles. She smelled a little like ginger (no surprise!), but my usually skeptical daughter approved and said it worked well. She used it all weekend. It is now a part of my medicine chest and I will experiment with its antiseptic and antibacterial properties should some small wound arise. Anti-gas, anti-spasmodic, anti-oxidant,  anti-cholesterol, and rubefacient, or circulation increasing,  properties are also attributed to ginger.

I made crystallized ginger:)  This was a fail with my family. It is pretty spicy. I talked my granddaughter into trying a small piece, after which she ran for the water, poor thing! In my household, Grandma will not use it to treat a child’s digestive upsets as was suggested.

Asarum caudatum (Wild Ginger)

Asarum caudatum (Wild Ginger) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found the wild ginger flower essence most intriguing. I have studied and used Bach Flowers for many years and find them highly effective. Bach Flowers are wonderfully subtle ways of healing emotions. I have recently begun looking into flower essences from other companies. They also work, but it seems these newer essences are even more subtle, or perhaps I should say specialized? Wild Ginger essence is said to help those who attract unhealthy relationships, or those with low self esteem. I will test it out on myself, as I have with many Bach Flowers, but I am reluctant at present to stop the ones I am using in order to do it!

One of the best things about the herb box is the directions for making herbal tinctures and teas and ointments and syrups. The e-magazine is a nice tool for learning the language of herbalism.

A friend, however, delivered a mild warning when I told her about my herbal studies. She said the herbalists she knows are full of stories as to how people have really hurt themselves with herbs when they didn’t know what they were doing. That warning and a mild stomach ache will suffice for me to pay strict attention to any recommendations or contraindications given. Of course, the disclaimer with the herb box reads “nothing included (in the box or e-magazine) is approved by the FDA and the information is for informational purposes only”. The information given, however, is a whole lot of fun to test and study, and well worth the $40 a month price.


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