An Ode to Ginger

2min read
By Lily Canetty Clarke, 
  • Ginger's scientific name is Zingiber Officinale
  • It has been used as a medicine for over 2,500 years
  • More recently it's efficacy has been recognised with properties including carminative and an anti-inflammatory.

Zingiber Officinale, the “spice of life”, or Ginger as it is more commonly known is one of the most widely used food spices in the world and has been used as a medicine for 2,500 years. Despite its ancient roots, it has undergone rigorous scientific study over the past 50 years and is officially endorsed in Germany by Commission E for the treatment of dyspepsia and to prevent motion sickness. In England, ginger was such a prized commodity that just 1lb of ginger was worth the same as a sheep. Here are a few of the key indications that you need more ginger in your life...

Anti-emetic: Ginger is perhaps most commonly known as a treatment for nausea and sickness. It has found to be effective for nausea caused by motion, pregnancy, surgery and chemotherapy. A simple infusion, sipped in small amounts throughout the day, chewing the fresh root or sucking on ginger sweets can lessen nausea.

Carminative: Ginger is both useful at relaxing and easing spasms in the gut that can cause pain and bloating but it also stimulates the flow of saliva, bile and gastric secretions to promote better digestion. As a warming herb, ginger is particularly useful for those with weak digestion, helping to fire it up. Eating fresh ginger or drinking ginger drinks before food will best promote its digestive action.

Circulatory stimulant & anti-inflammatory: I use ginger a lot in my clinical practice, often adding a small dose to tinctures to encourage better circulation of the medicine around the body. It stimulates circulation, improving blood supply to extremities, warming cold hands and feet. It is also an anti-inflammatory herb helping to reduce pain, swelling and muscle and joint discomfort, especially for those suffering from osteo or rheumatoid arthritis. Diluting the essential oil in carrier oils to massage painful spots can be really effective.

Diaphoretic: As well as being a warming herb so naturally one we turn for when ill with colds. It is also a diaphoretic, which means it induces sweating to clear a fever. Make a brew with honey and lemon and a dash of apple cider vinegar when you are next feeling groggy to uplift and help relieve congestion & colds.

Analgesic: A constituent in ginger, the gingerols, have a similar effect to the capsaicin in chillies. On repeated exposure, the irritant nature causes desensitization and thus a sense of pain relief. Chew fresh ginger to relieve toothache and headaches.


Lily graduated from the University of Westminster with a first class honours degree in Herbal Medicine in 2019. She also has a diploma in Nutritional Health Science and a degree in Experimental Psychology. She is a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, established in 1864 to ensure the efficacy and safe use of herbal medicine. Lily is passionate about education and providing valuable knowledge which will support sustainable solutions, empowering clients to take back control of their health and wellbeing. Her main areas of interest include women’s health and stress management.
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