Ginger is an excellent food grade herb to consume regularly during these days of coronavirus. The spiciness of ginger helps open the lungs and dissolve phlegm as well as support the body’s circulation. We say it releases the exterior, which equates to opening the pores so your body is more readily able to expel pathogens it encounters, including viral ones.
Ginger is a common folk remedy to reduce nausea, and luck would have it that this is also true for Chinese herbal medicine as well.
In chinese medicine, ginger is used in many formulas, and is known as a harmonizer when combined with gui zhi and da zao (cinnamon twig and dates). It helps all the other herbs in a formula get along. Ginger also helps to harmonize the stomach, which is the reason that it can settle an upset stomach. Typical uses of it in formulas are for common colds to stop cough, nausea and vomiting.
Ginger is a very warming substance and is used in conditions that are cold, such as the common cold, cold extremities, cold abdomen, and other cold diagnoses. Conversely, this herb should be avoided in those that have a predilection towards running hot, unless advised otherwise by your chinese medicine practitioner.
If you eat a lot of raw foods, like sushi and salads, ginger is a great additive to help warm the stomach. There is a saying in chinese medicine that the stomach needs to be like a 100 degree soup. When eating raw, uncooked and physically cold foods, the stomach’s temperature drops, causing things to slow down and congeal. Without the “digestive fire” in the stomach, it leads to poor digestion of the food, which then causes bloating, pain and even diarrhea or constipation. Interestingly, both chinese and allopathic medicine recognize that one’s immune system begins in the gut.
How to add ginger to your diet:
Shakes and smoothies
As with anything, use in moderation, and consult with your acupuncturist if you’re unsure if you need to start adding more ginger to your diet.