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Warm Up to Ginger

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Anyone who has ever soothed an upset stomach with a glass of ginger ale knows that ginger is also a helpful digestive. Sipping ginger tea or chewing on fresh ginger helps digest heavy foods or hearty meals, and children may chew on ginger to ease a stomachache or to relieve motion sickness. In fact, a study reported in the British medical journal The Lancet in 1982 found that ginger was more effective than dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) in reducing motion sickness. "The easiest way to prevent motion sickness is to carry candied ginger in your pocket and suck on it throughout your trip," notes Ms. Griffin. Depending on your weight and size, more candy may be nibbled on every 45 minutes.

Ginger compresses may be used to treat headaches and relieve arthritic aches and pains. Keep a batch of ginger-tea ice cubes in your freezer for making the compresses -- this way, both hot and cold ginger remedies are readily available. For a tension headache, soak a clean washcloth in melted -- but still cold -- ginger-tea ice cubes. Place the cold compress on the back of the neck or the shoulders for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat with fresh, cool tea as necessary. For an arthritis ache, soak a washcloth in warmed tea and apply to the site of the pain. Again, repeat as necessary.

Healing Ginger Recipes

Ginger tea: Grate 2 teaspoons of fresh gingerroot in 1 1/2 cups of room-temperature water. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes, then drink.

Candied ginger: Slice fresh gingerroot into 1/2-inch-thick pieces and dip the slices in honey. In a skillet over low heat, cook in a little butter for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer ginger slices to a cookie sheet and allow them to cool and harden (30 to 40 minutes).

From A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year (Destiny Books; 1995; $12.95), by Ellen Evert Hopman:

To clear the sinuses: In a blender, mix to taste vegetable juice (such as V8), grated ginger, powdered cayenne pepper, garlic, horseradish, and lemon. Drink.

For the flu: Grate a few teaspoons of fresh gingerroot. In a tightly covered nonaluminum pan, simmer in water (2 teaspoons ginger per cup) for 20 minutes. Add lemon juice and honey. Drink until mucus becomes thin and clear. For stubborn congestion, add a pinch of cayenne pepper.

CAUTION: Lactating or pregnant women, chemotherapy patients, or those suffering from hypertension should not ingest large quantities of ginger.

 

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