Keep Warm With Ginger
Cozy Up With Ginger
Fresh ginger root is a warm and pungunt herb, used widely both medicinally and as a food herb. It’s a great item to keep in the fridge during the winter months. Ginger root is easily available in the produce section of almost any grocery. As a tea, it’s warm nature can keep you warm from the inside out. Simmered with a little more strength and in a stronger dose, it can help prevent a winter chill from turning into a cold. And for those achy body parts that flare up in cold, damp weather, a ginger compress may be just the ticket. Have some handy the next time you shovel your driveway!
To make a tea, slice a few pieces of fresh ginger and pierce them a few times. You can also chop or grate it. Place the ginger into your mug, pour hot water over it and let it steep for about five minutes. Add lemon or honey to taste for a delightful winter cuppa.
To make a medicinal tea, chop up about an inch or more of ginger and place it in a pot with a quart of water. Bring it to a boil and then immediately lower the flame to simmer for 20 minutes or so. The time is not exact. Add honey or lemon to taste. Drink this and keep well covered and rest.
This ginger tea can be taken when you have been exposed to cold damp weather and feel sniffles and aches coming on. It can also be used any time you feel the symptoms of a beginning cold. The ginger is slightly diaphoretic, i.e. it induces a slight sweat. You will “sweat the cold out”. You must keep well covered and warm. The added warmth will help the ginger do its job of making you sweat. It will also protect you while your pores are open and sweating. It is very important not to go out or near a draft. The best thing to do is drink the tea, and when you are done, go off to bed to cuddle under the warm blankets and sleep. You should feel much better in the morning. When you wake up, make another pot and drink it throughout the day.
To make a ginger compress you will need ginger, cheese cloth or a light weight fabric such as a handkerchief, a rubber band or string, and small terrycloth towel or two linen towels.
In a saucepan bring a quart of water to a boil, then turn it down to simmer. Meanwhile, grate a golf ball size piece of ginger up. wrap it in the cheesecloth and secure it with the rubber band or string. Squeeze the ginger juice out into the water, and then drop the entire cheesecloth package in. Simmer for 20 minutes.
To apply: You can apply this to cold, achy joints, shoulders, low back or neck.
The easiest is to soak the terrycloth towel in the liquid and then wring it well. When it is a comfortable hot temperature, place it across your neck or shoulders, low back or joints. Leave it until it is cool and then repeat the process. Your skin will turn a nice pink. Be careful not to cause a burn by applying it too hot.
Another way to treat cold achy joints is to take the ginger cheesecloth bag out of the pot, hold it over the pot and squeeze the excess water out. Flatten it out a bit. Place a dry linen towel over your joint, mold the ginger compress over it, and cover it with another towel. Keep checking it to make sure it isn’t too hot! The ginger itself is a hot herb and can be uncomfortable if left on too long. When I was in China this treatment was standard procedure in many foot rub parlors. I always enjoyed having my knees ‘gingered’ as I sat with my friends in the community room, waiting for our foot rubs or cupping sessions.