Monday, October 6, 2014

Ginger Tincture

 Fall is now upon us which means it is, again, that magical time of year that involves loads and loads of celebrations with friends and family, comfort foods that remind us of our childhoods and holidays past, mulled drinks to keep us warm and, inevitably, upset stomachs from overindulging.

Ginger Tincture is our go-to for all stomach related issues.  

Here's how you make it -- 

Ingredients - Fresh Ginger Root, 100 Proof Vodka, Quart Size Mason Jar
Use a spoon to scrap the skin off of your ginger root.  If you've never worked with ginger before, the skin is paper thin and will come off with little to no effort.  After your ginger root is peeled, slice it up and place it in your mason jar.  I fill my jar about 3/4 way full with ginger slices and cover with with your vodka.  NOTE - You could throw the vodka and ginger in a Vitamix or food processor if you wanted.  I have never done so because fresh ginger is relatively soft and peeling and slicing provide plenty of surface area. 


All jarred up!

Do not forget to leave about an inch of head space!

Don't forget to label your tincture!!!!

Store your tincture in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks.  Be sure to shake the jar everyday for the first week and check that the ginger is covered by the vodka.

When your 4-6 weeks is up, strain your tincture through cheesecloth or unbleached muslin and store in a dropper bottle such as this....

Eric and I usually take two droppers full as needed either straight or mixed in tea or water.  For the kids, we use 1 dropper full.

How it works -- 

According to The Herbal Drugstore by Linda B. White, M.D. and Steven Foster, "Ginger stimulates digestions and dispels gas.  It also helps move food through the intestinal tract and reduces irritation."  Ginger is able to do this due to two chemical constituents, gingerols and shogaols.  

The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook by James A. Duke, Ph.D says the following about the actions of gingerols and shogaols, "It's gingerols and shogaols quell stomach upset and gently but effectively encourage the muscle contractions that move food through your intestines.  At the same time, oddly enough, they inhibit spasms, curb diarrhea and deter the urge to vomit." 

While most resources list ginger are being safe for consumption, the University of Maryland Medical Center list the following precautions and possible interactions:


The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine. 
It's rare to have side effects from ginger. In high doses it may cause mild heartburn, diarrhea, and irritation of the mouth. You may be able to avoid some of the mild stomach side effects, such as belching, heartburn, or stomach upset, by taking ginger supplements in capsules or taking ginger with meals. 
People with gallstones should ask their doctor before taking ginger. Make sure to tell your doctor if you are taking ginger before having surgery or being placed under anesthesia for any reason. 
Pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with heart conditions and people with diabetes should not take ginger without asking their doctors. 
Do not take ginger if you have a bleeding disorder or if you are taking blood-thinning medications, including aspirin.

Possible Interactions 

Ginger may interact with prescription and nonprescription medications. If you take any of the following medications, you should not use ginger without first talking to your health care provider. 
Blood-thinning medications -- Ginger may increase the risk of bleeding. Talk to your doctor before taking ginger if you take blood-thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin. 
Diabetes medications -- Ginger may lower blood sugar. That can raise the risk of developing hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. 
High blood pressure medications -- Ginger may lower blood pressure, raising the risk of low blood pressure or irregular heartbeat.

Source: Ginger | University of Maryland Medical Center
University of Maryland Medical Center
As always - I am sharing with you things that have worked for my family and friends. While I am passionate about herbalism, natural health and aromatherapy, I am NOT a trained professional.  I am not here to diagnose or as a substitute for your primary care provider (PCP).  You should discuss all natural treatments with your PCP.  

Are you going to make a ginger tincture for your family?  Do you already use it?  If so, how does it work for you?  Let me know in the comments below!


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