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The Health Benefits of Ginger- Recipes and Remedies for Everyday Living - Natural Cold and Flu Remedies - Green Tip #23
Today’s topic is brought to you by Kismet. As you know by now, many times my intended topic is diverted by the “best laid plans of mice and men”. However, this week, upon learning many of my co-workers are suffering with unseasonable colds, I set out to bring you my home remedy to ease, if not erase, the symptoms. When reading the Sunday paper this morning, the Chamberlain’s food flyer happened to feature the very component of my home remedy. Awesome! Kismet has reinforced my best laid plans!
Initially, I had intended to address this topic when the cold and flu season officially hit, but obviously (as I well know!) Mother Nature has plans of her own and cannot be second-guessed. Also, what sense does it make for me to wait until we are all suffering from colds and flu? Why not arm yourself ahead of time for the impending plight!? So, here we go, folks. I hope you find the following tips useful…
Go Green with your health!
Natural alternatives to medicine
Many, many years ago a very dear friend of mine, who happens to be a vegetarian and refuses to take any kind of medication, including aspirin, turned me on to this trick. (Thank you, Guy!). I have since shared the recipe with many, over the years. It really does work to ease the symptoms of the common cold, aches and pains of the flu and the resultant general discomfort and congestion. First, I’ll give you the recipe, then I’ll go into the science and history of the main component, ginger root. Afterwards, I’ll share some other remedies, along with natural practices to help build your immune system, in hopes of reducing the frequency and/or severity of this common attack on good health.
First, understand that the over-the-counter cold and flu remedies available do nothing but mask the symptoms. They do not build your immune system, nor do they push the “bad means” , as I and my mother call them, out of your body. The following simple remedy helps your body fight the invasion, thus helping to rid your continental self of the enemy, through elimination and sweat. It also helps to alleviate nausea that so often accompanies flu symptoms. Are you ready? It’s very simple, very inexpensive and doesn’t introduce foreign substances or chemicals into your body!
Ginger root tea
Slice fresh ginger root (available at the grocery store, produce stand or health food store for about $3.99/lb.). about ¼” thick, with outer skin on. 10 -15 slices ought to do for each batch. Place the slices in a small pot (2 qt. works fine) and fill the pot about ½ to ¾ full. Bring to a rolling boil, cover and take off the heat. Let the tea steep for about 15 – 20 minutes. Remove the lid and pour tea thru fine strainer to catch any of the skin that’s become dislodged. Put any ginger slices caught in the strainer back into the pot. Ginger tea is very potent. In order to make the flavor more palatable, and to fortify it with a bacteria fighting component, add a teaspoon of honey. I use raw, organic honey. Mix well until the honey is absorbed. Raw honey is thicker than what you buy in the bear bottle, so be sure to mix thoroughly in order to incorporate. Drink the tea as hot as you can stand it. Do this several times a day. You can re-use your ginger slices (simply add more water to the pot) until they take on a brownish color. At this point, they’ve lost their strength and need to be replenished. Simple, huh?!
Properties of ginger root
Ginger is a rhizome, meaning it is “a somewhat elongated, usually horizontal subterranean plant stem that is often thickened by deposits of reserve food material, producing shoots above and roots below, and is distinguished from a true root in possessing buds, nodes and usually scale-like leaves”, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary. Ginger is one of the oldest, most widely used plants in the world. Native to Asia, ginger has been used as a culinary spice for over 4,000 years! The Chinese discovered it also has medicinal properties. It aids in digestion, nausea, upset stomach, diarrhea, motion sickness, morning sickness, constipation, colic and even nausea from chemotherapy. Preliminary studies have also shown that nine compounds found in ginger may bind to human serotonin receptors, possible helping to affect anxiety. Ginger compounds are active against a form of diarrhea, which is a leading cause of infant death in developing countries. Wow! Additionally, ginger works in the body as a natural anti-inflammatory and can be helpful with arthritis, headaches and menstrual cramps. Newer studies have shown ginger can be helpful in lowering cholesterol, preventing blood clotting and contains anti-cancer agents. Mother Nature knows what she’s doing, folks!
When we had upset stomachs as kids, Mom would always have us drink room temperature ginger ale and eat saltine crackers. I always thought it was just a Missouri thing, but it worked and now I know why! (As we grow older, we realize Mother really does know best!)
Adding 'heat' to your diet
Many weight loss articles I’ve read recommend adding “heat” to your diet in the form of cayenne pepper, paprika, cinnamon and – you guessed it! – ginger, in order to boost your body’s metabolism and fat burning properties. Calories are determined by how much “heat” is required to convert the food consumption to energy. Another benefit!
Back to the point
As you can see, ginger has many beneficial properties and deserves a place in everyday living. Consider it as necessary to your pantry as salt and pepper. Utilizing the foods, herbs, roots and plants Mother Nature has put on this earth will help to maintain a healthy body. My mother always says, “if you color-coordinate your meals, you’re getting all the nutrition, vitamins and minerals your body requires.” Of course, eating healthy and limiting, if not eliminating, processed foods, chemicals and preservatives from your diet, won’t keep you from getting sick. Especially if you have young children who are exposed to those who do not choose to employ a healthy lifestyle, or co-workers who refuse to stay home when ill. But eating as Mother Nature intended, will build your body’s immune system and hopefully reduce the frequency and severity of the ills that do attack.
Listen to your body
Keep in mind that many times our bodies shut down, by making us ill, when we refuse to give ourselves a break from stress, obligations and deadlines, as a way to force us to take care of our minds and souls. Leave work at work. Give work the 40 hours for which you are paid. Considering drive time, sleep and household chores, we don’t have 40 hours a week for ourselves or family, so give them a quality “you”. Eat healthy, live healthy and share yourself with family and friends. Don’t live for work. You work, unfortunately, to live because we no longer live off the land. We no longer barter goods or services. We are forced to make money to justify our existence. So, keep yourself healthy in order to combat the 8 -5 stresses, eat simply and organically, and make the vessel of your being as outstanding as it can be. Give forth of yourself! Someone needs and loves you!
Ok, I’ve done it again. I’ve gone off on a tangent. But that’s OK. The other cold and flu remedies I promised you earlier in this blither (what is a blog, anyway??), will give me something to talk about next week!
Until then, keep a smile in your heart and never, ever let the music fade!
Shauna L Bowling
Refining, Defining or Rhyming
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