Excerpt from Dr. Susan Lark’s Healing Herbs for Women
Ginger is a pungent, spicy herb native to southern Asia. For thousands of years, ginger has been an important herb used in traditional Asian medicine. It is now cultivated throughout the tropics in countries as diverse as Jamaica, India, and China. It is used as a spice in many cuisines and as a flavoring agent for beverages such as ginger ale and in many baked goods.
Ginger has thick, underground stems (tuberous rhizomes), and it is these knotted and branched rhizomes, commonly called the “root,” which are used in cooking and for medicinal purposes. Records of its use in China date to the fourth century B.C. It has definite digestive benefits. As an antispasmodic, ginger is effective in relieving the nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness and morning sickness in pregnancy. The most pharmacologically active compounds in ginger are the various “pungent” principles, aromatic ketones known collectively as gingerols.
As for its effects on stress management, the ginger root helps stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing the mood swings that erratic highs and lows of blood glucose can trigger. Ginger also increases the efficiency of the digestive processes and thereby the availability of essential nutrients needed for proper maintenance of blood glucose.
I also have many patients who drink coffee in the morning for a quick energy boost. However, this boost is only temporary; after an hour or two, my patients report that they have difficulty staying alert enough to focus on work and meet deadlines without drinking additional cups of coffee. Ginger and peppermint teas are made from mildly stimulating herbs and can produce more subtle but sustained increases in energy.
Suggested Dosage: Mix 1/2 tsp. ground ginger or 1 to 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger with 1 tsp. honey. Add one cup of boiling water to make a cup of ginger tea. You can also make a larger pot of brewed ginger tea and sip on it throughout the day. I recommend 2-3 tbsp chopped ginger added to 5 cups boiling water. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
Dry, powdered ginger root can be used in dosages of 500 to 1000 mg per day. Tripling or quadrupling this dosage may provide more rapid relief. However, dosages should not be used beyond this level.