Lana Farson, M.S., L.Ac., Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist

Stay Warm and Healthy with Ginger

Ginger is a spicy, warming herb that focuses on the digestive system and on the lungs.  The warming temperature of this herb is important, especially when using ginger alone.  When used alone it should be used for cases where there are no heat signs, but in which the body primarily shows cold signs.

Although fresh ginger and dried ginger are very similar in nature, there is a slight difference between the two in temperature and in functions.  Fresh ginger is slightly warm, whereas dried ginger is hot in nature. 

Fresh Ginger

Fresh ginger is cut directly from the root, in slices or by grating, and is useful for:

  • dispersing the energy of the lung (common cold with chills, no fever and no sorethroat)
  • warming the lung & transforming phlegm (cough, white or clear phlegm only, no yellow phlegm)
  • warming & awakening the digestive system (poor digestion with coldness or loose stool)
  • calming the belly (nausea with cold signs, pregnancy nausea)
  • relieves poisoning (food poisoning, especially seafood poisoning)

To make a cup of tea from fresh ginger, cut 3-4 slices (about 1/4″ thick) from the root and boil them in 1-2 cups of water for 15-20 minutes.  Strain and let cool before drinking.

Dried Ginger

Dried ginger usually comes in the form of a powdered herb for cooking or in teabags.

Dried ginger can:

  • warm the belly and expel cold (belly pain and cramping from coldness)
  • warm the lungs & transform phlegm (cough, white or clear phlegm only, no yellow phlegm)
  • restore devastated yang energy (hypothermia – I always bring dried ginger tea with me when I go snow camping!)
  • warms the channels and stops bleeding (“cold-to-the-bone” arthritis,  bleeding from total coldness)

Caution: since dried ginger is hot in nature, it is too warming for some cases.  For example, tea bags of dried ginger are not the best for pregnancy nausea.  Fresh ginger however is wonderful for pregnancy nausea, as long as the mother does not have too much heat (red face, high blood pressure, feeling sweaty).

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