Ginger Monograph

Since I am doing a course from Commonwealth Herbs, I am trying to do my herb of the month in the order that I am learning the herbs. Which is going to be challenging because I am learning about so many herbs so fast! So I figure that from here on out, I will be doing herbs that stand out as personal herb allies.

I learned a lot about ginger before even doing the research for this monograph because I started to get sick the week before doing this research. One of the things that I have loved about the classes I am taking with Commonwealth Herbs is that I got some actionable herbal information very quickly. Apparently a tea made with dried ginger and thyme is great for heading off a cold that is trying to come on. My daughter got sick a week ago and of course I almost immediately felt like I was getting sick as well. I made the ginger and thyme tea and drank it throughout two days. I also did several thyme steams, another thing that they swear by. And wouldn’t you know it – now I am typing this with no cold symptoms whatsoever. I was able to talk both of my daughters into trying the thyme steam, and both of them said that they felt that it helped their cold symptoms.


Scientific Name: Zingiber Officinales

Family: Zingiberaceae

Parts Used: Rhizome/Root

Native To: Southeast Asia

Botanical Description: A reedy, leafy stemmed perennial (having a cycle lasting longer than two years) that grows up to two feet, ginger shoots up a tall stem in the spring and has lanceolate leaves. The flower stalk grows from the root and at the tip, develops an oblong and scalloped spike from which white or yellow flowers blossom. It has become so widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of the world that it is rarely found growing wild. Cultivated propagation has been done by root cuttings for so long that many cultivars no longer produce seeds. Z. officinales prefers warm, sunny, humid, low altitude locations and medium loamy, well drained, highly fertile soil. 

Taste: Pungent, bittersweet; warm, moist; diffusive, stimulating

Energetic Properties: Warming, Drying

Tissue State: depression, constriction, atrophy

Actions: stimulant, carminative, rubefacient, diffusive, relaxant, antispasmodic, antiemetic, anodyne, emmenagogue, diaphoretic

Affinities: digestive, circulatory, and reproductive systems

Notable Constituents: volatiles, 1-3% (zingiberene 20-30%), oleoresin 4-7.5% (gingerol, shogaols), sesquiterpenoids, lipids

Medicinal Applications: 

  • Archetypal carminative – warming remedy to support healthy gastrointestinal function and increase digestive fire. Indicated for cold conditions in the GI tract manifesting as indigestion or sluggish, incomplete digestion. Relieves pain by warming and reducing spasms and constrictions. Improves digestion, bile secretion, fat digestion, and movement of food through the digestive tract, reducing stagnation, irritation, and gas. Can help relieve colic, abdominal pain, distension, flatulence, and the griping pain associated with diarrhea. 
  • Antiemetic – for all forms of nausea, including those from food poisoning, medications (including chemotherapy), morning sickness, and motion sickness. Also prevents and expels worms and parasites. 
  • Diaphoretic – helpful for encouraging healthy fever response to infection. This can lead to sweating, which can then cool the body. Increases arterial circulation, which can lead to warming of extremities. Helpful during cold or flu as it raises body temperature, making the body inhospitable for pathogens.
  • Emmenagogue – warming and soothing for uterine cramping. Encourages blood flow when experiencing slow, scant menstrual flow. 
  • Circulatory Stimulant – thins the blood, improves circulation, nourishing tissues and clearing away stagnant fluids. 

In Practice: 

  • Commonly used in tea blends for gut health/support of digestion. Commonly used in tea blends for painful menstruation cycles with scant bleeding, or when someone does not experience heavy bleeding. 
  • As a tincture, helpful for severe nausea, when someone can’t keep anything down. Candied ginger is helpful for nausea as well. 
  • Anodyne (relieves pain) – for cold, constriction-type headaches such as tension headaches, migraines, cluster headaches. Form the powdered ginger into a plaster with water, apply on paper or cloth to the forehead.
  • Fresh ginger is diffusive, moving blood and warmth outwards toward the surface and periphery. This method is good for colds and flus.
  • Dried ginger is more centrally warming, heating the core. This works well for digestion and reproductive systems. 

Preparations: Z. officinales can be prepared as an infusion, decoction, tincture, extract, glycerite, honey, oil, salve, compress, ginger beer, ginger wine, and food.

Cautions: Ginger has a blood thinning effect. Use caution if taking blood-thinning medications. Ginger’s emmenagogue action will increase the menstrual flow of those with already heavy cycles. Can be too warming for some people. Dried ginger in a bath can cause severe irritation to sensitive tissues. 

Friends: turmeric, galangal, cardamom, chamomile, fennel, garlic, calamus


Commonwealth Holistic Herbalism Course Work

Ginger Monograph. Maxine Hughston, Herbalist, Massage Therapist. Sept 18. Accessed Oct 17, 2021

Zinziber – Ginger. Henriette’s Herbal Homepage. . Accessed Oct 17, 2021.

Wood, Matthew. The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants. Berkeley, CA. North Atlantic Books, 2009. Pgs 533 – 537 Print.

Ginger Monograph. The Herbarium by The Herbal Academy. . Accessed Oct 17, 2021.

Disclaimer: The above information is for education purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The Rough Week

This past week was ROUGH! I’m not sure if it was after-affects of my body’s sugar tantrum, or if my body was just getting used to my new lifestyle, but I was so amazingly tired all week long. I had to drag myself – sometimes kicking and screaming – through the entire week. Whenever I am tired I crave carbs, so when I smelled anything like bread or sugar, I wanted it – but I didn’t give in.

And it was worth it, too! All day on Friday I could think of nothing but going to bed extremely early and sleeping for at least ten hours! But then, around four o’clock, something happened. I got my energy back. It happened slowly – I felt myself gradually being able to handle more and more activity – until I was a fireball by the time I got home. I was able to handle my daughters, whereas before I felt totally overwhelmed. I was able to do things around the house and homework and dinner, and all kinds of stuff.

The energy has carried over to today, which translated to packing the entire family up in the van and heading to the farmer’s market. It was very windy, overcast, and drippy when we got there, but we trudged through and I got to show my youngest some herbs and vegetables. She was more interested in the flowers, but as the weather improved slightly while we were there, both girls became a little more lively and seemed to take an interest in what was going on. It was a good first experience, and I look forward to taking them back frequently. I also found a vendor who was selling herbs to plant, which is good to know since I want to start my own herb garden.

We came back with an entire refrigerator worth of vegetables, and I think my fiance has doubts as to whether or not we will cook them all this week. After assuring him that we will, I’d better make sure that we do! I got a great head start this evening, when he grilled up two rib eyes and I sauteed up a whole skillet full of vegetables. We both agreed that it was a fine meal, and it was a wonderful way to end this rough week.