Welcome to the Herb of the week! Here you can find short presentations of favorite herbs, common uses and some extra information related to Chinese and Greek herbal medicine.
We are in winter, the season of water according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (T.C.M.)!
Let’s start with some herbs that we find and use mainly this season either in decoction or in cooking, as is done with our favorite ginger!
Ginger can be used to eliminate Wind-Cold-Dampness.
Spicy/acrid and aromatic herbs are considered to move stagnant Phlegm. Such herbs are also considered garlic, onion, ginger, mint, and basil. In case we use ginger to eliminate cold, wind and dampness, cold and raw foods such as salads and fruits or those that produce Dampness (dairy products, fats) should be avoided.
It helps to better blood circulation, so it is more common to be consumed during the winter, and for the common cold as a decoction. It stimulates digestion because its main action is on the stomach, spleen and lungs.
In T.C.M. it is used:
- To heat and regulate qi in the middle jiao, i.e. stomach, spleen and gallbladder.
- For food poisoning by fish.
- For morning sickness during pregnancy.
- To improve blood circulation.
- In cases of chronic cough that we need to warm the Lung.
- In people who have a very cold.
- In cases of dysmenorrhea.
In western herbal medicine, it is widely used as an active anti-inflammatory herb for joints, nausea, morning sickness, distention, flatulence, indigestion, and the common cold.
Ways to consume this wonderful and delicious herb are either in a decoction on its own (ginger-water) or in combination with other herbs, or in food to give a more special aroma, an oriental taste!
Some common combinations for decoction are
- Ginger with goji berries. This combination greatly moves qi but also nourishes the liver and kidneys. Boil for 5 minutes, consume it lukewarm.
- Ginger with cinnamon and cardamom. This combination moves the qi and warms it, very good for menstrual cramps and colds. Boil for 5 minutes, consume it lukewarm.
- Ginger with fennel seeds and honey. This combination is soothing and emollient, helps in cases of indigestion and bloating or pain in the intestine. Boil for 5 minutes, when the temperature drops a little, add good quality organic honey and it is consumed lukewarm.
Caution! It is generally a common and safe herb, but should not be consumed by people who can not stand the heat, or have frequent sweating. It can greatly increase blood circulation. It needs to be stopped before and after surgery. If someone has heart disease it is best to consult their doctor.
All the information provided is informative, if someone has health problems or wants to follow a specific treatment, it is good to refer to an herbalist and even with the supervision of his doctor in cases of prescription medicine. In cases of herbal therapy, an herb is rarely used by itself and is needed to be monitored by a trained herbalist for the right combination.