Baby its cold out side....
Time for some Honey, Lemon and Ginger & Clove. If you are really feeling like something sinister is taking hold of your respiratory system you could add a little dram of whiskey to cheer the blues away! Don't worry. The science backs it up!
If all else fails you can try some of our Defense or Wellness Teas. They are wonderful teas designed to heat up the body. I don't like the cold. I long for some heat - and ginger is one of those wonderful little herbs that help me feel like summer is but a few sleeps away!
Herbalists talk about herbs being Warming, Cooling, Drying and Astringent - to name a few. Knowing this separates the great herbalists from the mediocre. A mediocre herbalist might have a client come to them with a disease. Thinking of that disease they remember something about a herb which is meant to be good it. This method however doesn't take into account how the herb acts nor the person it is being used to treat. Knowing the person you are treating and the symptoms expressed leads to a variety of different possibilities. A good herbalist will recognised that a warming herb may be good for a cool person and a cool herb for a cool person. They will want to bring balance to the patient they are treating.
Doing so is an artform and its something that only in practice you begin to realise its full usefulness. I've had a number of conversations with people lately that were suffering from irritating rashes and itches. Medications just were not cutting it and there was nothing really worth looking at from an allopathic perspective.
One visit to a Kineseologist for one client and another to a herbalist led to an easy diagnosis in both cases. They were too hot! They needed to be cooled down with cooling herbs and avoid herbs that were warming. That is really important when then thinking about treating the rash. There are lots of different herbs that can be taken internally and externally but choosing the right ones becomes a really interesting process. You must aim to ensure that you use cooling herbs to detox the kidneys, cleanse the liver, and bloods. Whilst also cool the skin topically. Do it this way and all of a sudden you have a multi-system approach that can be really effective. All because you understand the temperment of the person, the action of the herbs and how the bodily systems function.
Its old medicine. Humoral medicine. It can be and is extremely useful for herbal practicioners and especially when treating chronic conditions.
This may make perfect sense to you - or, you may need a little convincing... So, I wish to make the case with Ginger.
We all know Ginger. It was one of the first oriental speices to arrive in Europe and can appreciate its effect the moment we eat it. It is warming, bitter and aromatic. You can almost instantly feel the heat pulsate through your body and move out to your extremeties. It makes you sweat - but not overly so! It would be impossible to take some ginger and say that you think its cooling; just as no one could ever take a bite of cucumber and convince anyone that it is warm. The foods may have exactly the same core temperature but the action it has on the body is very different.
Some people love ginger. Some can't handle its heat. That can often tell you something about the person. Some people, myself included, need a bit of heat in our lives. I tend to be cold and struggle in the winter. Herbs such as ginger and st. Johns wort encourage me to hold on for spring! Others find taking ginger really difficult. They are hot enough without the need of consuming more heat.
Ginger is great for at helping to warm people up and increase the circulation whilst thinning the blood a little and helping in the absorption of other medicines.
Now, lots of people might know that ginger is good for morning sickness and nausea but completely forget that in the middle of summer a pregnant a women with a hot temperment might find ginger completely unsuitable. Perhaps a cooler herb could be suggested instead; peppermint, spearmint or chamomile should spring to mind instead?
Understanding a herbs actions also brings an understanding as to why that specific herb is useful in certain cases. Ginger is used in instances of osteoarthritis or methabolic syndromes and hyperglycaemia. By stimulating the blood circulation it drives oxygenated blood to the peripheries and clears out the inflammation. You can follow that logic. It makes obvious sense.
That ginger is bitter makes it an unusual combination within the herb world, but this factor aids its carminative, anti-infective and anti-inflmmatory properties; aiding digestion, circulation and assimilation.