Show Me The Spice!

Six ways to use ginger outside the kitchen. This piece also ran in the Spring 2009 issue.

By Caitlin Donnelly

Upset stomach?  Aching head?  Even though you may be miles from home, Grandma’s home remedies can still be used to tackle some of the common ailments that accompany the long, busy days of the college lifestyle.

Instead of heading to the drug store to purchase the usual brand name, over-the-counter medications, try picking up a natural remedy, like ginger.  The spice, native to India and China, comes from the underground stem (or rhizome) of the ginger plant.  It has been used in cooking and for medicinal purposes for centuries.  Today, ginger is sold fresh and in powdered, crystallized and capsule forms, which are available at most grocery stores.  When used correctly, ginger is helpful in curing a number of illnesses that the typical college student encounters.

The easiest way to use ginger as a remedy is to make ginger tea.  Seep some fresh ginger in boiling water and then add some honey to sweeten the taste.  For the summer, ginger ale can be substituted.

Ginger can be used in the following instances:

Cold & Flu:
Forgot to get the flu shot your mother kept pestering you about?  Drinking ginger tea or inhaling its vapors will have you feeling better before your mother can say, “I told you so.”  So the next time you find yourself under the weather, go “au natural” and use ginger to set yourself on the road to recovery.

Upset Stomach, Indigestion or Gas:
Eat too much take-out for dinner last night?  A cup of ginger tea will help keep your stomach calm for the night.

Athlete’s Foot:
Forget to wear your flip-flops in the dorm showers?  Place your feet in a bath of cool ginger tea, which is sure to relieve the itchy, burning sensation.

Sweating & Bad Breath:
Hot date this weekend?  Ginger tea also reduces excessive perspiration, bad breath and acts as an aphrodisiac, which will help seal the deal on that kiss at the end of the night.

Motion Sickness:
Planning on flying or driving a long distance over spring break?  A cup of ginger tea will keep your stomach settled during your trip.

Menstrual Cramps:
Ladies, is it that time of the month again?  Ginger tea eases cramps that leave you in pain and send your boyfriends running for cover.

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