TCM Food Therapy Spotlight: Ginger
Updated: Apr 26, 2022
Fresh Ginger, known as Sheng Jiang in Chinese, has many health benefits and was first used medicinally in China around 500 CE by Tao Hong-Jing, as documented in his writings from Miscellaneous Records of Famous Physicians.
So what can fresh ginger be used for?
Nausea & Vomiting
When the Spleen and Stomach (known as the Middle Jiao) are out of balance due to a number of different causes, there can be GI discomfort, nausea and vomiting. This can be brought back into balance with some ginger tea. To prepare the tea, simply use 2-3 thin slices of ginger root steeped in hot water for 8-10 minutes, then let cool before enjoying. Preferably use a tea pot or stovetop to boil the water and not the microwave.
Ever noticed how your sushi that you order from the restaurant always comes with a side of pickled ginger? Well, this is intended to be food therapy! The detoxifying properties of ginger can kill parasites that may happen to be in raw seafood, staving off food poisoning. Additionally, cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy can use ginger before and during treatments to help protect their body from the negative side effects of these types of treatments.
Cold & Flu
Fresh ginger is a natural antibiotic and some ginger tea can be taken to “release the exterior” to prevent or stave off the beginning stage of a cold.
Coughing & Phlegm
The warming property of ginger is highly effective at strengthening Lung Qi, dispelling a cold and resolving phlegm.
The warming energy of ginger can increase heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. That being said, those with high blood pressure should use caution when consuming too much of this herb.
Ginger Congee Recipe (vegetariantimes.com)
Carrot Ginger Soup Recipe (simplyrecipes.com)
Talk to a qualified herbalist or acupuncture physician about how ginger can help you, or if you should avoid it due to certain underlying conditions. There are certain precautions that should be taken when taking any medication or herb. Due to its hot, acrid nature, ginger should not be used for patients with yin deficiency, excess heat, or qi deficiency with spontaneous sweating.
Source Cited: Chen & Chen. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. Art of Medicine Press, 2001.