Ginger and Its Uses in TCM

Ginger is a common spice that was once considered a luxury.  Chinese and Ayurvedic practitioners have been using the root of the plant to treat various common ailments for centuries. Ginger originated in Southeast Asia, but since then it has been widely cultivated all around the world. At its height in popularity during the 14th century, ginger cost about the same as a piece of livestock. Today, it can be found in almost every local grocery store and is used worldwide.

  • So what makes ginger such a special herb? It’s versatility. It can be used for many different issues. The dominant property of this herb is that it is warming. Some people associate this with being spicy. The truth is, after a person eats ginger, the body will feel a little warmer. Over time, eating this herb daily can actually increase the body temperature. This is great for those who suffer from blood deficiency and a feeling of constant cold. This also helps people who suffer from aches and pains that flare up during the cold weather.
  • Ginger is frequently used to help treat digestive problems. It can effectively reduce nausea, whether it’s from morning sickness or chemotherapy. Because of its warming properties, it also aids in stimulating digestion. Grating the herb and adding it to water on a daily basis can be very beneficial for the digestive tract.
  • Another way ginger is used is to help treat colds or the flu. Combining it with scallions and making a hot water broth can help kick out a cold quickly. The combination will heat the body up, making you sweat a little. This may be just what is needed for sweating out the infection.
  • Ginger can also be used to treat food poisoning or dysentery. Ingesting this herb increases the secretion of gastric juices. This helps the body digest food more quickly. It also creates an inhospitable environment for toxic bacteria in the gut. By increasing digestion, the toxins can be excreted quickly.
  • Pain and inflammation are rampant in the world today, but ginger can provide some relief. Studies show it can reduce muscle aches and pains. Ginger has also been used in studies on cancer, showing decreased inflammation in the body. 

As always, if you have questions about how to incorporate ginger into your diet and how it can be helpful for certain conditions such as digestive complaints, poor circulation, cold and flu, contact your local licensed acupuncturist today.