Monday, November 24, 2014

Best Earl Grey Tea


Ever since I went to Iceland this past spring I have been obsessed with finding the best earl grey tea. 



You may not have previously associated earl grey and Iceland, but you also may not have had the good fortune of spending time with herbalist Anna Rósa grasalæknir. She was an incredible hostess and she also kindled my appreciation for a good cup of earl grey tea. 

Anna Rósa in a field of angelica.  


My obsession with the best earl grey tea has led me to try several different companies in search of that perfect cup. 

But one day I got to thinking… could I make my own earl grey tea? 

What is earl grey tea? 

Earl grey tea is black tea that has been flavored with the citrus fruit bergamot (Citrus bergamia) that comes to us from Italy and other mediterranean areas. Originally the tea may have been mixed with the actual bergamot peels. 

These days most earl grey is made by mixing the essential oil of bergamot with black tea

Sounded easy enough to me! 

It took a few experiments but I was finally able to make what I consider to be the best earl grey tea. By making my own I can create one that is strong enough to suit my tastes. Keep in mind that if you try this recipe you could make it more or less strong depending on the amount of bergamot essential oil you use. 

Making your own earl grey from scratch certainly isn’t as simple as asking the food replicator for tea; earl grey, hot. 

However, it does mean that you can source the highest quality ingredients from fair trade sources to make your own amazing cup of tea. 

Below I have two recipes so that you can make the best earl grey tea. 



Recipe #1
DIY: The Best Earl Grey Tea
This is a simple way to make your own earl grey tea. By buying high quality ingredients and being able to choose the strength of your bergamot flavor, you'll be able to create your favorite earl grey tea. 

What you’ll need…

1 cup of loose leaf black tea 
10-15 drops of bergamot essential oil
pint jar

Pour 10-15 drops of the bergamot essential oil into a pint jar. Put a lid on the jar and shake well to distribute the essential oil all over the inside of the glass. 

Pour in the tea leaves. Shake well for several minutes. This tea blend can be made into tea immediately but I like to let mine cure for a couple of days to let the essential oils be absorbed. (This probably isn’t necessary. Remember, I am just making this whole thing up.) 

Over time the essential oils will fade and the tea will degrade. I recommend drinking this within six months, but it won't spoil or go bad, it will just weaken. 


Recipe #2
Rosalee's Earl Grey Tea Blend
The above recipe is for your standard earl grey. The following recipe is how I personally like to make my earl grey tea. The vanilla and the smokey lapsong souchong add a more complex flavor while the cornflowers make it look pretty. 

What you’ll need…

1 cup loose leaf black tea 
10-15 drops of bergamot essential oil
1/4 cup lapsong souchong tea
1/4 cup of cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus)
1 tablespoon of vanilla bean powder
pint jar

Pour 10-15 drops of the bergamot essential oil into a pint jar. Put a lid on the jar and shake well to distribute the essential oil all over the inside of the glass. 

Pour in the teas, cornflowers and vanilla. Shake well for several minutes. This tea blend can be made into tea immediately but I like to let mine cure for three days to let the essential oils be absorbed.

Over time the essential oils will fade and the tea will degrade. I recommend drinking this within six months, but it won't spoil or go bad, it will just weaken. 

Tips on brewing your earl grey loose tea

When brewing a single cup of tea I use a metal tea strainer that I bought from Mountain Rose Herbs. You can also use specialty tea cups with strainers, bamboo strainers or even paper strainers. Check out a bunch of different tea accessories from Mountain Rose Herbs here. Using the links found on my site to purchase products from Mountain Rose Herbs supports the free information on this site. Thank you! 

To brew: Use a rounded teaspoon of your earl grey mixture to every 8 oz of water. Steep covered for 3-5 minutes depending on how strong you prefer your tea. When done, strain off the tea and add milk, cream or honey or sugar as preferred. 

A word on using essential oils internally

I know a few people are going to comment that it is unsafe to use essential oils internally. This simply isn’t true. In fact you probably consume essential oils in foods (with no ill effects) without even knowing it. 

That being said, I recommend a lot of caution when using essential oils internally. Here are some guidelines. 

1. You want to use pure essential oils from a reputable company. I buy mine from Mountain Rose Herbs. There are other great companies out there too but you’ll need to do some research if you branch out to other companies. At all costs avoid buying essential oils from unethical MLM companies. Besides making me cringe at their horrible marketing practices their oils have been shown to have synthetic ingredients. (See more about this here.) 

2. Do not put essential oils into water and then drink that water. Oils and water don’t mix, which means instead of getting a diluted mixture of essential oils you’ll get pure essential oils on your sensitive mucus membranes. This can cause serious problems. 

When searching on the internet to see if people made their own earl grey teas I found numerous articles with instructions to make your black tea then add bergamot essential oil to the water. Yikes! Don’t do this. 

3. If you are still uncomfortable using essential oils internally then this is not the recipe for you. I would also caution you to avoid earl grey tea since most earl grey on the market is made using essential oils.

Further Resources

There’s lots to know about using essential oils internally and this article is in no way a tutorial on this vast and complex subject. For more information I recommend the following sources. 

Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals, Second Edition by Robert Tisserand







Monday, November 17, 2014

Giving Credit and Citing Sources


Lately I’ve been asked by several people about the correct way to cite sources or provide references within herbal articles. 

While I don’t feel like I am the most qualified person to answer this I thought I would take a stab at it. I would love to hear other’s comments below or in their own blog posts. 









First I would like to break this up into two different categories. 

1. Citing sources when writing a book or a professional article (such as for the JAHG)
2. Citing sources in more informal circumstances such as blog posts, class materials/handouts, etc. 

The method of citations in professional circumstances is usually determined by the publication itself. They will provide you with citation guidelines such as which citation format to use. In these types of publications citations will be more frequent. You’ll need to provide citations for any claims you make, any studies you reference or any material that is not strictly your own. 

For the purposes of this article I am going to focus on more informal circumstances since this is what most commonly effects the herbalists I work with. 

Here are four things that need to be cited. 

  • Ideas and concepts learned from other sources. 
  • Quotes
  • Recipes
  • Any claims about herbs. (For example, instead of merely writing “studies show,” provide citations to specific studies.)

Why should you provide citations at all? 

If you look around at the majority of herbal articles written by grassroots herbalists you’ll see that citations and references are few and far between. Is it even necessary? 

YES! 

Here are some important reasons why citations are important. 

1. Honoring and respecting other herbalists

Citing or referencing the original source who inspired you or who you have learned from is a way to honor and respect that source of information. 

Sometimes people may feel that saying they learned something from somewhere else puts them in a bad light. Not at all! First of all we all learned everything somewhere. None of us were born knowing any facts about herbalism or any recipes or any diagnostics. We all had to learn this from somewhere, whether that be another herbalist, a medical researcher or a plant! 

Taking the time to acknowledge our teachers is a way to honor and respect them. I love to remember my teachers while I am teaching and writing. It gives me a sense of purpose and helps remind me that I am part of a greater whole. I don’t stand alone, I am standing on the shoulders of my own teachers. 

2. You’ll be taken more seriously. 

Are you trying to change people’s opinions? To help them see the value of medicinal herbs? 

Writing an article with a lot of claims about medicinal herbs, but without supporting evidence, will make people question the validity of what you are saying. 

3. Not citing materials reflects poorly on your integrity

Whether you are doing it out of ignorance or maliciousness, repeating information that you learned from someone else or using other people’s recipes without referencing that original source makes you look dishonest and unethical. 

4. It helps prevent “herban legends”

The act of questioning long held-assumptions by looking for proof can help prevent herbal myths. 

It has been a common occurrence that myths about herbs get repeated over and over because no one has stepped in to question the validity of the statement. An example of this is goldenseal. You will commonly hear that goldenseal is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is good for colds and the flu. Yikes! 

In his stellar book on Echinacea and Goldenseal Paul Bergner writes extensively about why goldenseal is not an antibiotic. He cites traditional sources as well as modern day studies to prove his point. I wonder, would goldenseal have been as unethically over-harvested if it hadn’t been wrongly portrayed as a “broad-spectrum antibiotic?” 

5. Using copyrighted information without citations can violate copyright laws. 

Up until now I’ve focused on why you may choose to cite something based on your integrity and respect for other herbalists. But the fact of the matter is that a lot of information is copyrighted. Using copyrighted information as your own is against the law. This most often refers to printed materials such as books and magazine articles as well as electronic information, including ebooks and even blog posts. 

How do you know you need to cite another herbalist or source? 

Knowing when it is necessary to provide citations can be somewhat of a judgement call. 

Some knowledge is considered general knowledge that wouldn’t need to be attributed to one single person. For example, you might say in an article that rose hips are high in vitamin C. If this were an informal article you probably wouldn’t need to cite that since that information is readily found anywhere. If this were a more scientific or professional article you may want to cite a study showing this to be true. 

I cite herbalists when I know I learned that specific piece of information from them whether that is an idea or concept. I also attribute direct quotes and give credit for recipes…

What about recipes? 

Basic recipes such as how to make a syrup, an elixir or tincture don’t need to be cited. 

If you are using someone’s specific recipe then you need to give credit and you may possibly need permission. 

There’s a general rule of thumb that if you dramatically change a recipe in three ways then it can become “yours” and no citation is needed. However, if you are highly inspired by someone’s herbal recipe then it’s just good manners to say “This was inspired by…”

How do you cite sources? 

Specific formats
As a reminder, there are specific sets of guidelines for citations in every profession. The APA format is specifically for behavioral sciences but is a popular and easy to follow format. You can see a tutorial of the APA format here.  

Another popular style is the MLA. This is commonly used in the liberal arts and humanities. You can read more about this style here

Need help with formatting your citation? Herbalist and friend Victoria Debra Bray told me about this citation machine which helps you generate citations within a certain format.  

Informal
I cite sources informally by citing the person and, if applicable, the article, book, study or course where that specific information is included. I generally cite this within the article as well as at the end in a resources section. Keep in mind that this is truly informal and is not up to professional standards. 

Attribution of Quotes
If you are quoting someone word for word then you’ll need to attribute that quote. This applies whether or not the quote comes from an article or book or from a personal conversation. Here’s a guide on quote attribution in the MLA style. 

Can you copy and paste entire articles or blog posts onto your own website as long as you give credit? 

No. 

There are two reasons why you should never copy and paste entire blog posts and put them on your own blog or website. 

The first reason is that it is illegal to take an entire article and copy and paste it somewhere else, even if you provide a link back to the original source. It violates copyright law. 

The second reason is that this really doesn’t help you and can actually hinder you as far as search engines go. Search engines have little bots running around to determine how far up sites should rank in their search engines. If you have duplicated content on your site then search engines will penalize you by putting your site lower on the search engine rankings. Unfortunately, if you steal my entire articles/blog posts for your own site we both get penalized. 

If you really want to share someone’s article on your own website the best thing to do is include a paragraph to introduce the article along with a link back to the entire original article. 

Summary

Providing citations and resources within your herbal articles is a way to show respect to your teachers and substantiate any claims you make. Besides showing personal integrity, citations also mean that you can avoid plagiarism of copyrighted materials, which can become a legal matter. 

For most grassroots herbalists, using informal citations will probably suffice; however, I could see a good argument for adopting professional standards, especially for those who want to be seen as professionals. 


Resources and citations

Echinacea and Goldenseal by Paul Bergner




Monday, November 10, 2014

Orange Elecampane Bitters Recipe


Half of my kitchen counter is covered in all sorts of bitter concoctions. 

It's official, I am obsessed! 

Bitters are the new black in the herbal world and the creative recipes coming from herbalists are creative and complex! 

What are bitters anyway? 

The bitter taste, while often scorned, is making a comeback! 

While the standard western diet has done its best to remove all bitter flavor, we now know that tasting bitter foods and substances has a range of health benefits ranging from supporting digestion to boosting immunity. 

And, once you acquire a taste for bitter there is no going back! Meals lacking bitter tastes become bland and too one-dimensional. 

Check out the resources section at the end of this article for more information about the health benefits of bitters. 

Bitter Digestive Aid with Inulin

Besides boasting bitters, this recipe also includes inulin - a starchy substance that is food to the healthy flora in your gut. 

Both elecampane root and dandelion roots are high in inulin.

Fermented foods, pro-biotics and general microbiome research is all the rage these days. Inulin, sometimes called a pre-biotic, is a powerful way to fuel your healthy gut flora. 

Using fresh roots harvested in the fall will probably get you more inulin. You'll notice it as a thick white substance in the bottom of your jar. Don't filter this out! 

Some people may experience increased gas and bloating when taking inulin, though I doubt there's enough in this particular blend to cause many people problems. 






Orange Elecampane Bitters
I've been inspired to make bitters featuring only local plants or with only tropical plants and everything in between. 


This is one of my favorite bitter concoctions. The orange blends well with the pungent bitterness of the elecampane root while the ginger and pepper give it a little spice. 


20 grams elecampane (dried or fresh)
10 grams roasted dandelion root (dried or fresh)
10 grams fresh minced ginger 
5 grams licorice root
1 orange 
brandy or vodka

Place the roots, minced ginger, licorice, cloves and pepper in a quart sized jar. 

Cut up a whole orange and add it to the jar. 

Slice open the vanilla bean pod and then mince it finely and add to the jar. 

Fill the jar with brandy or vodka. Cover and shake well. 

Keep this on your counter, shaking occasionally. Taste it from time to time and strain when desired. I thought mine was best after about two weeks. 

This will keep indefinitely. 

Click here to download a pdf copy of this recipe which you can easily save and/or print for your own use. 

click here to download a pdf of these labels

How to use your Orange Elecampane Bitters

These bitters can be consumed before meals. You could take drops straight from the tincture bottle or dilute it a bit in water. 

I like to add a spoonful or two to sparkling water. 

Dosage is highly variable here. The most important thing is to taste the bitters. 15-30 drops or a 1/2 to one full teaspoon should do it. 



Bitters FAQ 

In anticipation of the questions I frequently get about bitters...


Will I be able to leap buildings in a single bound the day I start taking bitters? 

Bitters can help with acute digestive problems such as bloating. However, the magic of bitters is best experienced by taking them daily over a period of time. Consider this a lifetime habit! 


Do I have to drink alcohol to get the benefits of bitters? 

Bitter is bitter is bitter. Alcohol is not a necessary part of bitters. Eating bitter foods or trying a recipe like this can all be ways to get more bitters in your life. 


Can I take bitters after a meal? 

Yep!


Where can I get the herbs in the recipe? 

I buy most of my herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs. Using links in this article supports this blog. Thank you! 


Where can I get your cute corked bottle? 

I bought this from Mountain Rose Herbs. I noticed they have a case sale going on for the month of November. 

You make the cutest labels, can you share yours with me? 

Well, you know what they say about flattery... click here to download a pdf of labels to fit 1-2 ounce Boston round tincture bottles. 


I don't have ______ herb. Can I substitute _______? 

Sure. Bitters recipes can be fun experiments. If you are new to making your own formulas you might want to make smaller batches to get the hang of things. 


How do I measure in grams? 

You get a relatively inexpensive kitchen scale. Read more about why I measure in grams here. 

This bitter recipe doesn't need to be exact. You'll probably make a great recipe just eyeballing it. 


Will licorice root give me high blood pressure and destroy my kidneys? 

Taking licorice frequently in high amounts can cause some people to temporarily have high blood pressure. Most severe issues with licorice actually come from people eating large amounts of black licorice candy. 

The amount of licorice in this recipe should not be a problem for most people. 



References and Additional Resources

Blessed Bitters by jim mcdonald
Bitters recipe by Rebecca Altman


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ginger Tea Benefits


Ginger Tea Benefits


Is there anything ginger can't do?

Seriously! The health benefits of ginger are amazing.

But while ginger may seemingly do everything, to get the most benefits of ginger root, you'll need to understand how to match ginger's warming and spicy qualities with a specific person. 

But first, here's the ginger monograph quick view: 

Scientific name: Zingiber officinale

Family: Zingiberaceae

Parts Used: rhizome (commonly called a root)

Plant Energetics: fresh rhizome (warming, drying), dried rhizome (hot, drying)

Plant Properties: anti-inflammatory, diffusive, stimulating diaphoretic, stimulating expectorant, carminative, anodyne, antimicrobial, blood moving

Plant Uses: arthritis, migraines, colds and flu, nausea, dysbiosis, menstrual cramps (due to stagnation), ear infections, heart health, inflammation, stomach bugs

Plant Preparations: culinary, decoction, powder, tincture, candied, fresh juice


Introduction

It probably wont surprise you that Ayurveda calls ginger the universal medicine. It has been used for centuries and is still one of the most popular herbs of our time. It has been widely studied with positive results for a variety of issues, making it one of the more accepted herbs in Western medicine. 

This article will look at the many ginger tea benefits. I will pay special attention to the energetic qualities of ginger so that we can move away from thinking of it as a simple substitute for pharmaceuticals and towards a clearer understanding of the myriad health benefits of ginger. By understanding energetics of herbs, we can better match the herbs to the person, making them more effective. 


Energetics of Ginger: Benefits of Ginger Root

Before we discuss the ginger tea benefits, lets look at its energetic qualities. 

Ginger is a warm to hot herb with a tendency towards dryness. Fresh ginger is considered to be warm while dried ginger is considered to be hot. 

What does it mean for an herb to be heating and drying? 

Ginger is a great herb to experience energetics firsthand. If you sip a hot ginger tea, youll feel the heat from the tea warm up your core. An interesting experiment is to try a tea made with fresh ginger and one made with dried ginger. Notice any difference? 

You could skip the tea altogether and munch on a slice of fresh ginger. Youll notice its spicy heat. 

Ginger is not only warming; it is also aromatic and dispersing. Youll notice fairly quickly after sipping your hot ginger tea that the heat in your core is spreading to your limbs. If you drink a really strong ginger tea, you may even feel the heat escape through your skin. This is a great reminder that energetics are often circular. In this case, excess heat creates a secondary coolness. 

Ginger also stimulates fluid loss through various body secretions such as sweat or mucus. Because of this, ginger is considered drying.

Lets now take a look at how gingers energetics play a role in how it can be used for your health. 

Ginger Tea Benefits For Pain

Ginger is a strong ally for various types of pain. A lot of times the herbs we use for pain have very specific mechanisms of action. Because of this, we have to carefully choose which herb for specific types of pain. For example, if there is pain due to muscle tension, we use an antispasmodic herb like valerian or kava. 

Ginger relieves pain through its anti-inflammatory actions, blood-dispersing actions, and by relieving pain caused by coldness. It can also relieve the cramping pain experienced with diarrhea or with menstrual cramps. 

Ginger for Inflammatory Pain
Ginger is widely used for inflammatory pain such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Numerous studies have shown ginger to be effective and safe at relieving arthritic pain both through topical application and taking it internally. Ginger has also been shown to relieve muscle pain after workouts. 

Ginger Moves Stagnancy
In Chinese medicine pain is often seen as a symptom of stagnant blood. Symptoms of stagnant blood include pain that is fixed, stabbing, or boring. A bruise or contusion is an example of stagnant blood that we can easily see. Ginger can be applied topically to relieve blood stagnation. Ginger can also be used for a series of symptoms that herbalists see as stagnant blood in the pelvis. Symptoms of this include painful menstruation, delayed menstruation, clots, and fibroids. Ginger works exceptionally well for menstrual pain with signs of coldness and stagnancy. 

Ginger for Pain with Coldness
When using ginger for pain, it works especially well for people with signs of coldness. These people may have a pale face or tongue. They typically feel colder than others. They may have slow digestion or problems with bloating. They may tend towards lethargy or slowness. Ginger may not work well for those with signs of heat.

Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, herbalist and president of the American Herbalists Guild,  recommends ginger for stopping a migraine: 

In my observation, ginger is absolute best thing for treating a migraine at the time that it develops, one of the few things that will work at the time. Stir two tablespoons of ginger powder into water and drink it at the onset of visual disturbances — the “aura” — before the pain starts. Usually that will knock it cold. The migraine may try to restart in about four hours, in which case you have to do this again.
Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa
Culinary Herbalism Course


Benefits of Ginger Tea: For Colds and the Flu

Ginger can be used for many different complaints during an upper respiratory system infection. In fact, if you only had one herb to choose from during a cold or the flu, ginger may be the one, especially when there are signs of coldness and dampness. 

Sore Throats
Sipping ginger tea, sucking on ginger pastilles or having a spoonful of ginger-infused honey can bring relief to a sore throat. Its also antimicrobial, helping to prevent further infection. I prefer fresh ginger for this. 

Congestion
Ginger is diffusive and stimulating and is perfect for getting stuck mucus flowing again. A strong ginger tea can relieve congested coughs and stuffy sinuses. Ginger can also be used externally over the chest to relieve congestion. 

Warming Up/Fever
Feeling cold? A strong cup of ginger tea can warm you up from the inside. This is helpful for the onset of a cold or flu, especially when someone feels chilled and is shivering. 


Benefits of Ginger Root: For Digestive Issues

Ginger is one of our best herbs for digestion. 

It is warming, carminative, aromatic, and dispersing, and can help with stagnant and cold digestion. 

Symptoms of cold, stagnant digestion include: 

  • bloating
  • gas
  • feeling heavy after meals (bowling ball stomach)
  • constipation
  • scallops on the tongue
  • white coating on the tongue
  • people with stagnant digestion may also have cold hands and feet

Ginger is famously used for all kinds of nausea. It is used in small amounts for nausea during pregnancy and used freely for nausea caused by motion sickness. I keep candied ginger in the car for passengers who made need it on our winding rural back roads. Ginger is also used to decrease nausea after chemotherapy and surgeries. 

Ginger has long been be used for food poisoning caused by bugs like Shigella, E. coli, and Salmonella. It helps to relieve painful cramping and is also strongly antimicrobial against these pathogens. 

Health Benefits of Ginger For Heart Health

Ginger supports heart health in several different ways. 

A lot of heart disease in the US is a symptom of an underlying metabolic problem such as insulin resistance or diabetes. While a holistic approach needs to be taken for these imbalances (personalized diet, interval exercise/functional weight training, healthy sleep cycles, etc.), ginger has been shown to reduce blood glucose and inhibit the inflammation associated with these metabolic imbalances. 

Ginger has also been shown to modulate cholesterol to healthy levels. (A lot of peoples highcholesterol problems also stem from inflammation and metabolic disorders.) 

Researchers studied 95 people with blood fat problems (high “bad” LDL cholesterol, high total cholesterol, high triglycerides, and low “good” HDL cholesterol). They divided them into two groups: one group took 1,000 mg of ginger, three times a day; the other group took a placebo. After 45 days, those taking ginger had a greater drop in LDL and a greater increase in HDL.

Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD, and Debora Yost
Healing Spices



Benefits of Ginger Root For Infections

Ginger is strongly antimicrobial and inhibits a variety of infections. 

Ear Infections: Use ginger juice
Use fresh ginger juice in drops in congested or infected ears. Avoid putting anything in ears if the eardrum is perforated. 

Fungal Infections
Fresh ginger juice or a poultice of the freshly grated roots can be used topically on a variety of external fungal infections. Avoid using it on sensitive skin.

Stomach Bugs
Ginger has long been used for all sorts of intestinal parasites causing digestive upset and diarrhea. 

Benefits of Ginger Root As a Synergist

Ginger is commonly added in small amounts to larger formulas. By increasing circulation through dilating blood vessels, it helps to deliver the herbs throughout the body more quickly. It is estimated that over half of Chinese formulas include ginger in them. 

Ginger increases the potency of herbs and pharmaceuticals if added to a protocol, inhibits bacterial resistance mechanisms in pathogens, stimulates circulation, and reduces the toxicity of endotoxins and pollutants. it dilates blood vessels and increases circulation, helping the blood, and the constituents in the blood from other herbs, to achieve faster and more effective distribution in the body.
Stephen Harrod Buhner
Herbal Antibiotics

Botanically Speaking

There are about 52 genera and 1300 species of ginger around the world. 

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a perennial plant native to the tropics. It has been cultivated for thousands of years and prefers soil that is warm and moist. 

The flowers grow as spikes. 








How to Make Ginger Tea and Other Ginger Preparations


Ginger is most commonly used as a culinary spice in both savory and sweet dishes. Fresh ginger is readily found in grocery stores in North America. When picking out ginger at the store, look for plump pieces with smooth skin. If the ginger looks dried out or has a wrinkly skin, you might ask for a fresher choice; however, to be honest, its still going to work. 

If using dried ginger, be sure to get it from a good source. (I buy all of my dried ginger from Mountain Rose Herbs.) Dried ginger should be zesty and hot. If it lacks this, it may be too old. 

Ginger is very aromatic with a strong taste. When using it in cooking, small amounts are used. You do not have to peel the rhizome before using it, but if you prefer to do so, use a spoon to gently scrape away the thin outer coat. 

Dried powdered ginger is also commonly used in cooking. 

Dosage Suggestions for Ginger:
Fresh root: 1-15 grams
Dried root: 3-12 grams
Fresh tincture: 1:2, 60% alcohol, 1-2 mL in water three times a day (Winston/Kuhn)

Wondering how to make ginger tea? Here are instructions for how to make both fresh ginger tea and dried ginger tea. 

Fresh Ginger Tea Recipe
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger
  • Squirt of lemon
  • Dash of honey
  • Just-boiled water

Grate or mince the fresh ginger. No need to peel it first, but if you really want to peel it, try using a spoon to gently scrape away that outer layer.

Put the ginger, lemon, and honey in a cup or jar. Fill the cup with just boiled water. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes.

The amount of water you use will determine how strong the tea is. Start with about 8 ounces and then make adjustments on more or less from there.

Voila enjoy your fresh ginger tea! 

Dried Ginger Tea Recipe
  • 6 grams dried ginger (or about 2 teaspoons cut and sifted dried ginger)
  • 10 ounces water
  • Dash of honey
  • Squirt of lemon

Place the ginger in a small saucepan along with the water. Cover and simmer for 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and strain. Add the honey and lemon.

Special Considerations

Ginger is generally regarded as safe for all with no reports of toxicity. 

It is very warming and somewhat drying and is therefore not a good match with someone already showing signs of heat and/or dryness. It should not be used in large amounts during pregnancy. Patients taking blood-thinning medication should consult with their doctor before taking large amounts of ginger regularly. 

Photo Credit

Ginger Tea Benefits Summary

Ginger is one of our best polycrest herbs in that it can be used in a variety of ways for a variety of conditions. Because of its heating and drying qualities, it is best used for people with signs of coldness and dampness. Ginger especially affects the respiratory system, digestive system, and circulatory system. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory shown to decrease pain for those with chronic inflammatory pain such as arthritis. 

Resources

Online:

Books
  • The Yoga of Herbs by David Frawley and Vasant Lad
  • Healing Spices by Bharat B. Aggarwal and Debora Yost
  • Herbal Therapy and Supplements by Merrily A. Kuhn and David Winston


Photo Credit

Many of the photos in this article were bought at Fotalia.com. 



This article was originally written for the 
Herbal Cold Care course.