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Herb Spotlight - Ginger

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a widely used spice in Asian and Indian cuisine. In addition to tasting great, it has many herbal/medicinal benefits as well.

fresh ginger and powdered ginger in a wooden bowl and spoon on a granite counter

Fresh vs Powdered Ginger

Given the choice, I will almost always choose fresh ginger over powdered. Energetically, fresh is alive. From an Ayurveda standpoint, this means it contains prana, life energy; but I also think it just tastes better.

That being said, powdered ginger isn't bad. Because its texture is so fine, it can dissolve into foods a little better (the same is true for garlic powder vs fresh garlic. Keep in mind though, that dried ginger powder is going to be much more potent than fresh ginger. If you are trying to substitute one for the other in a recipe, 1 TBSP fresh = 1/4 tsp powder. And, not all recipes will turn out if you make a substitution!

I Talk About Ginger Here

Herbal Benefits

Ginger root is a warming spice that supports healthy digestion, calms an upset stomach, and decreases nausea. Drink some ginger tea after a meal to help with digestion. Ginger can help decrease bloating and gas, as will help with constipation. Ginger tea helps alleviate the nausea caused by motion sickness, pregnancy, and migraines.

Because of its warming effects, ginger tea is a wonderful drink to enjoy during cold weather and cold & flu season. This same warming effect is the reason ginger is sometimes used on love potions to "heat things up".

The warm, pungent flavor of ginger also helps relieve congestion in the sinuses and lungs. This makes ginger a great herbal remedy for allergy season.

The Taste

Ginger is considered warming and pungent. This combination can be considered quite spicy for most of us! Therefore, a small amount can go a long way.

How To Use Ginger

  • Cook with it! Add some grated fresh ginger to Asian-inspired soups, stir-fries, and salad dressings. You can also make a ginger-garlic paste to use in these.

  • Make fresh Ginger Tea.

    • peel a chunk of ginger root

    • slice it into several smaller pieces

    • place the ginger in a heat-safe container and cover with boiling water

    • allow to steep for 5-10 minutes

    • strain out the ginger

    • stir in honey and a squeeze of lemon

    • enjoy

  • As a pre-meal digestive stimulant. Ayurveda recommends eating a thin slice of fresh ginger (with a squirt of lime juice and a pinch of salt) before eating a large meal. Ginger stimulates the digestive system, allowing your body to digest the meal with fewer digestive issues (gas, bloating, etc).

  • As dessert. I have a great recipe for a triple ginger cookie, the perfect way to end a meal. Stay tuned for this blog post, coming soon!

fresh ginger, dried ginger in spice jar and slices of candied ginger

Side Effects and Quantity

Overall, ginger is considered a very safe herb when used in normal amounts (in cooking or ingesting a cup or two of daily tea). However, there are a few things to note.

Large amounts of ginger can affect insulin levels and therefore affect blood glucose levels. Excessive amounts of ginger can also cause bleeding issues. Therefore, it is not recommended to take ginger supplements. Use it in cooking and tea only.

Also, even though we think of ginger as very safe, all herbs have the potential to interfere with certain prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs and caution should be used if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consult your doctor if you are on medications or have an existing medical condition.

As always, everything has the potential to cause an allergic reaction. If you have previously shown signs of an allergy to ginger, you should avoid it in all forms.


The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment. Please consult your medical care provider before using herbal medicine, particularly if you have a known medical condition or if you are pregnant or nursing. The information provided should not be considered health advice. You are responsible for consulting a medical professional before implementing a new herb or herbal remedy.

Allergic reactions can occur and can be serious. If you are struggling to breathe, seek medical attention immediately.

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pinterest graphic showing slices of fresh ginger on a Raton mat



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