Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Herbs 201 ~ Mod 4, Option 4 ~ Herb Uses (Part I)

Choose two of the emmenagogue herbs we studied and make use of them for medicinal or culinary purposes. Discuss your experience. Be sure to check any contraindications before use.

...It is of an heating and digesting qualitie, and is profitable for the stomacke.
~John Gerald, 1597

Herb: Ginger
Latin Name: Zingiber officinale
Parts Used: Rhizomes, oils
Properties: Is a sweet, pungent, aromatic herb. It can raise perspiration, improve digestion, liver function and ease nausea, vomiting, and coughing. It is a stimulate that can help circulation. A antispasmodic and pain reliever.

Medicinal: Ginger is very popular internally for easing morning sickness, indigestion, colds, coughs and a host of other symptoms. Externally it is commonly used as a antispasmodic to relieve menstrual cramps, spasmodic pain and rheumatism. There is tons of uses within Chinese medicine as well, but my focus is Western medicine right now. I don't want to spread myself out to far yet. Focus on becoming adept at one system first, though I have every intention of delving into both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine at a later date.

Preparation: I love Ginger tea and I tend to have digestion problems quite often. So I drink ginger to settle my stomach. Here is how I prepare it. I take about 3oz of sliced Ginger and put it in a teapot and pour 2 cups of boiling water over it and cover the pot. I let it steep for 15 to 20 minutes then strain it through a small square of cheese cloth over a mug. Kick back and relax and ya! Yum!!!

Two of my friends are pregnant right now and I have recommend it to them to combat morning sickness.

Contraindications: Ginger has no known toxic side effects, but some may experience heart burn and too much could cause a reverse effect of what it was intended for, and make the stomach upset. Some folks are sensitive to it's strong tangy taste. There are no known ill effect for pregnant mamas. But I would still suggest staying on the side of caution and using in small doses.
History and Folklore: The Romans brought Ginger west from Asia. It can be found in the Koran and Hindu writings and Confucius mentions it. So it's oldest documented use is dated around 650 BCE. It was brought to Europe by the Roman soldiers where it became second to the pepper in popularity. In the Roman Empire it was used more as a medicinal than culinary herb. The use of Ginger as a medicinal is actually older than it's use as a culinary spice and is one of the few herbs to have almost everyone of it's medicinal claims verified scientifically.

Note:This paper continues in next post.

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