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Herb Library

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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.



GINGER
(Zingiber officinale)
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Also see: Wild Ginger

PROPAGATION: Tropical plant propagated by root division. Possible to grow in pots in the north.
NEEDS: Diffuse light. As a house plant give it plenty of warmth, moisture, and humidity. Move to semi-shade outside in summer.
HARVEST: When 8 to 12 months old, pull from pot; cut off leaf stalks and remove root; cut as much root as can be used and replant the rest.

USES

MEDICINAL:
Mild stimulant; promotes circulation; soothes digestion; improves digestion which contributes to migraine; antihistimine and anti-inflammatory action.
Has been used for prevention of colds (tea), bronchitis or laryngitis (with chamomile tea, honey and lemon), low sex drive, fevers, migraines, gastritis, sluggish liver, hay fever, stomachache; aids nausea and motion sickness (a pinch of powdered ginger in tea).

CULINARY:
Many uses for fresh, dried and powdered forms. Important ingredient of stir-fries.
Also: gingerale, lozenges, candied.
Keep fresh root refrigerated; wrap loosely in paper towel, then plastic. Will keep several months.

COMMENT:
Tea on a cold day is warming.



RECIPES

TEA

Pour 1 pint boiling water over 1 oz. of root and steep 5-20 minutes; drink hot or warm. OR: grate 2 Tbsp fresh root into 4 C. water; add half a lemon, sliced; bring to boil and continue boiling uncovered for 15-20 minutes; strain into cups; add honey to taste; add cinnamon stick for added flavor if desired.

CANDIED GINGER
Cut ginger into slices; boil about 15 minutes, then drain. For each 1 lb of ginger, make a syrup by heating 3 cups sugar with 2 cups water. (You can substitute 2 cups of honey for the sugar-water.) Combine slices and syrup and simmer till translucent and most of the liquid is gone (about 40 to 60 minutes). Keep careful watch on this so as not to burn it. Spread on a baking sheet at 200ºF till dry.
(It is very important not to become impatient with the cooking. Keep watching it during the entire time and be ready to lower the heat if it appears to be turning brown in a hurry. The product will last a long time so is worth the trouble.)



GINGER, WILD
(Asarum canadense)
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PROPAGATION:By division of rootstock. Perennial.
NEEDS: Shade. Rich, moist soil.
PART USED Rhizome

AVOID if PREGNANT!

MEDICINAL USES:
Bitter, pungent, aromatic; antibiotic; diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, decongestant; affects digestive and respiratory systems and stimulates uterus. (AVOID if pregnant!)
Has been used internally for coughs, asthma, chills, and rheumatism.
Was used by the Pomo tribe as a contraceptive.
Has been used to regulate menstruation
Has been used as a stimulant during childbirth to facilitate a difficult labor.
The Ojibwe combined it with Aralia racemosa for use as a poultice for fractures.




©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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