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Discover ginger's generous benefits

GINGER (sheng jiang), the underground stem, or rhizome, of the plant Zingiber officinale has been used as a medicine in Asian, Indian and Arabic herbal traditions since ancient times.

In China, for example, ginger has been used to aid digestion and treat stomach upset, diarrhea and nausea for more than 2,000 years. It has also been used to help treat arthritis, colic and heart conditions and is believed to help treat the common cold, flu-like symptoms, headaches and even painful menstrual periods.

Ginger cannot be taken for any heat-cold symptoms such as fever, throat pain or yellow and green phlegm, because it supports the heat.

Ginger belongs to the hot food group. It warms the spleen and stomach, dispels cold and prevents yang (hot) from collapsing. It also warms the lungs and resolves phlegm dampness.

In addition to these medicinal uses, ginger continues to be valued around the world as an important cooking spice. Native to Asia where its use as a culinary spice spans at least 4,400 years, ginger grows in fertile, moist, tropical soil.

Ginger is used in so many different ways for baking and cooking, for example, ginger bread and ginger cookies. And it's not only in Asia you will find ginger used in daily recipes; it's used for soups, salads and dressings, stir-fried vegetables, meat and fish dishes all around the world.

Very curious gourmets can even find ginger ice cream nowadays. Ginger tea with honey is common in winter, while in summer you can refresh it and neutralize the ginger's heat by adding lime or peppermint.

You can even soak your feet in fresh ginger or ginger powder itself, or with a mix of herbs and various ingredients. For soaking your feet in the winter time, a mixture of ginger and bai jiu (white alcoholic spirit) is recommended.

Cook ginger slices (50g) for some minutes and add 50ml of bai jiu (or any white spirit which contains more then 38 percent alcohol). Put the mixture into a basin of warm water and soak your feet - making sure the water covers your ankles - for at least 15 minutes.

Afterward dry your feet and rest. It helps to unblock energy channels (qi), dispels pathogenic cold energy (yin qi) and reinforces the hot energy (yang qi).

(Doris Rathgeber, founder of Body & Soul Medical Clinics)


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