There are thousands of herbs in this world, but the knowledge of thirty to sixty plants is sufficient to help many, many people. It can be beneficial to use the plants that are native to one’s own region, but herbs from other parts of the world can also bring benefit to us.
Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale) is native to Asia, but is now used and cultivated all over the world. The raw, fresh root, which you can purchase in the produce section of most grocery stores, is a powerful diaphoretic.
A diaphoretic opens the pores of the skin and promotes sweating – an important therapy for those at the beginning stages of the common cold.
A tea made from a piece of raw, fresh ginger root is used for any condition in which the cold wind or cold weather in general, has penetrated into the body surface. The cold becomes internalized into the neck muscles, or upper back region, and later into the lungs or stomach or joints.
One may experience a stiff neck, an aching in the upper shoulders, the start of a sore throat, or a runny nose after being exposed to a level of cold and windy weather that is beyond one’s healthy resistance.
The diaphoretic action of Ginger – expels the external invasion of cold carried by wind – back out of the body.
Preparation of Ginger Root Tea :
Chop up 1/2 inch to 1 inch of fresh raw ginger root and place it in 3 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil in a stainless steel or glass pot. Then turn the heat to low and let the tea simmer (low boil) for 10 to 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat. Pour out 1/2 to 1 cup into a cup and add honey and lemon as desired for your taste.
You may reheat the rest of the tea and drink it thru the day. But, for acute conditions, such as the onset of the common cold, drink most of the dose in one sitting. Your pores will open and you will sweat – keep your body covered and lay down and rest. Sweat out the cold. People often fall asleep and wake up feeling much better. When you wake, you can brew another dose. You drink the tea until you feel very well and then you sleep for a long time.
Do not go outside for several hours because with the pores open, the cold wind will blow back into your body and you will be back to where you started!
The diaphoresis or sweating does consume body fluid and body energy, so it is a good idea to drink fluids and rest for some time.
Using a Ginger Compress :
The same tea preparation, but without honey and lemon, can be used as a compress for neck and shoulder stiffness, numbness and pain caused by invasion of cold-wind. A compress can also help relieve a head cold.
Dip a terry cloth – with both hands on each side of the cloth-into the hot tea after it has cooled sufficiently as to not cause burning but is still quite warm enough for a compress- have caution here.
Twist the cloth with both hands and run the liquid out. Then place the cloth on the skin behind the neck and at the upper shoulder region. To increase efficiency, cover the cloth with a dry towel. When the compress has cooled, repeat several times until the skin is pink and relief is felt.
This compress will open the pores, expel the cold, increase circulation and warm the area.
This compress can also be used for sinus and frontal headache pain. It can also be used for joint pain and muscular pain – always if caused by cold.
Side Effects : Ginger root tea, prepared from either the fresh or dried root can irritate or burn the stomach for some people. In these cases, either a small dose should be tried first or other alternatives, such as moxa treatment, should be considered.
The above article has examples of herbal therapy. Please consult with a qualified health care provider before using herbs for health care purposes.