What do you do if your digestion just feels “off?” Maybe you’ve had too much cold water or you went a little frozen-yogurt happy at the new self-serve joint. Or maybe you have a sniffle and cough that won’t go away or you’ve been a little too friendly with the latrine of late. Think about ginger. Ginger, known in Chinese medicine as Sheng Jiang, is something that everyone should have in his or her pantry or fridge. And nowadays, with the tubes of already crushed, fresh ginger, there is no reason not to! Ginger increases your immunity, helps reduce colds and the flu, relieves abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, and can put a stop to nasal congestion and post-nasal drip-induced coughing. So, throw a little crushed ginger in hot water to make a tea or try my favorite recipe to prevent the common cold:
Grab a large pot. Throw these ingredients in: a “hand” of ginger, lightly scrubbed, then sliced into thin “coins.” 2 large scallions, including the roots. Finally, throw in a handful of cinnamon bark. If you’re using the thicker rolled cinnamon, you’ll need 2 rolls. An optional ingredient is an Asian pear. The pear provides a very mild sweetness and may be eaten separately to soothe a cough (wait until it cools off before eating).
Add at least 4 quarts of fresh water to the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer. After 30 minutes, remove the scallions and continue simmering for another 30 minutes.
After simmering for a full hour, use a ladle to serve yourself some tea and enjoy while hot. This beverage is strong and full of energy, with only a hint of both sweetness (cinnamon) and earthiness (scallions). It is most beneficial if consumed in the earlier part of the day and with no added sweeteners.