Ginger: Cheers to Your Health

By Monica Swanson

It’s that time of the year again…freezing cold temperatures in many places, and the cold and flu season hitting hard!

Now I don’t know if I’ll get any sympathy, but even here in Hawaii, we’ve had some really cool nights! In case you’re wondering what a “cool night” is in Hawaii, we hit the mid-to-upper 50’s this time of year, and if you don’t have a heater or a fireplace, that feels very cold!

(Did you just roll your eyes?)

Well, while we’re dealing with our version of “cold” here in Hawaii, my husband and I have found a new favorite hot beverage. It is zesty and sweet, and has all kinds of health benefits. I’m calling this my winter of Hot Ginger Tonic.

Hot Ginger Tonic

It all started when I got a nasty head cold in December, and visited our local coffee shop where I decided to try something on their menu called a “ginger tonic.” I had seen it before, but wasn’t brave enough to try it. It turned out to be such a soothing treat that I went back to get another ginger tonic again three more times the next week–sometimes hot, sometimes iced. And I was hooked.

Fresh Ginger

Since we love to juice the tropical fruits that we grow on our property, I decided that I needed to try juicing some ginger to make my own version of a ginger tonic! I found a bulk supply of Hawaiian ginger at our local Costco, and it wasn’t long before I created what I think is the perfect balance of sweet, tart, and a bit of that ginger zing!

Ginger Tonic with lime and straw

Before I give the recipe, here is a snippet from the WebMD site with a reminder of the health benefits of ginger:

Ginger (an herb) is commonly used to treat various types of “stomach problems,” including motion sickness, morning sickness, colic, upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, nausea caused by cancer treatment, nausea and vomiting after surgery, as well as loss of appetite.

Other uses include pain relief from arthritis or muscle soreness, menstrual pain, upper respiratory tract infections, cough, and bronchitis. Ginger is also sometimes used for chest pain, low back pain, and stomach pain.

I found other sources that suggest using ginger for boosting your immune system, improving circulation, and more. If you haven’t tried it, I think you should give it a shot!

Ginger Tonic with cinnamon stick

How to make your own ginger tonic:

-Using a juicer, juice approximately one 5-6 inch piece of cleaned and peeled ginger. (This should make 1/3 to 1/2 cup of juice.)

-Add to large pitcher (2 quart) filled with filtered water.

-Add the juice from one lemon or lime, and between 1/3 and 1/2 cup honey. I suggest starting with less ginger and honey, and add more to your taste!

-Combine well, and refrigerate. (I always keep mine in a Mason Jar so I can shake it up before I pour each cup.)

Mason Jar and Ginger

Cold Ginger Tonic

If you do not have a juicer, you can make homemade ginger tea! Simply cut an inch-long piece of fresh ginger, clean it well (peel it if you like, but not necessary,) and add the ginger and a cinnamon stick to one cup of water. Heat on the stove top for about ten minutes. Pour the liquid into a cup and enjoy a hot ginger tea!

So whether you’re cold or warm, sick or healthy, I think you’ll enjoy this recipe!

Swanson Family

Monica Swanson lives with her very active family on two acres in the country on Oahu, Hawaii. You can read more about Monica and her discussions on parenting, healthy marriage and recipes at her blog: www.monicaswanson.com.

 

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