As we head deeper into the season of autumn, and transition to a festive time of year in the Western world, one medicinal that is an incredibly supportive ally for digestive health, and often makes an appearance in our seasonal baked goods, is Ginger.
Ginger is a flowering plant that originated in Southeast Asia. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, and it’s closely related to Turmeric, Cardamom, and Galangal. The rhizome, or underground part of the stem, is the part commonly used as a spice and medicinal. It’s often called Ginger Root or, simply, Ginger.
A remedy that has been used for many, many years as quintessential food as medicine, Ginger, or Zingiber officinale, features over 500 active constituents, and is one of the most versatile herbal stimulants available.
Ginger is frequently used to soothe nausea and upset stomach, including motion and morning sickness, as well as reduce gas and bloating. For this reason, it is often included in many blends and elixirs geared toward healing digestive woes, such as our Stomach Soother and Happy Tummy Kids Tea Blend, and makes an excellent spice to keep on hand for cooking and baking.
Additionally, Ginger is often used to increase circulation and to reduce menstrual or exercise-induced muscle pain and inflammation. It's also commonly used to loosen sinus or chest congestion and decongest the liver, among other things. It is a good choice anytime there is need for a warming, stimulating, and moving action, and many herbalists include Ginger in blends for nearly any condition in order to rouse the body’s life force and jump-start the medicine’s effect. Ginger is also used externally as a fomentation for pain, inflammation, uterine congestion, and stiff joints, as found in our Moontime Oil Blend.
I like to keep some Candied Ginger on hand throughout the holidays for tummy upset or nausea, and throughout the year for things such as motion sickness. This sweet and spicy candy can be easily made at home!
Candied Ginger Recipe
- 1 pound peeled and sliced Ginger, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups white granulated sugar
- Extra sugar for coating
Place the sliced Ginger in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the Ginger slices, reserving 1/2 cup of the Ginger water for this recipe, and the rest for another cooking project (delicious for cooking rice with)!
Place the sliced Ginger back in the pot with the reserved 1/2 cup of Ginger water, sugar and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 35-40 minutes, stirring often. Cook until Ginger is transparent and the liquid has almost evaporated, or until the temperature on a candy thermometer reads 225 degrees F.
Drain the Ginger in a colander over a bowl to catch the Ginger Simple Syrup - use in cocktails or add a teaspoon to some sparkling water for a delicious zing!
Lay out the Ginger slices on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet, separating the slices the best you can. Let cool for 2 hours.
Toss the Ginger slices in sugar to coat. Allow them to continue to dry overnight on the rack before storing.
Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool place for up to 3 months.