Monday, 18 May 2009

Gingerly, gingerly...

I have been suffering from the most rotten cold over the last week or so. I thought I might be going to escape the plague that was sweeping my work area, but alas, it was not to be. I’m through the worst of it now, but up to probably the most annoying stage – where you’re clogged and coughing but, unfortunately, unable to dislodge anything useful by blowing your nose. Very irritating – but fear not, I shan’t continue with any more detailed dissection of my symptoms, it is quite safe to read on.

So needless to say my sense of taste is rather shot at present, which means that only the strongest flavoured teas are of any use to me… I’ve been having quite a bit of peppermint (indeed, I am drinking some greedily as I type), but my current favourite morning tipple is ginger tea with lemon and honey, guaranteed to soothe my throat and refresh me after a night of sniffle-interrupted sleep. I am normally quite a fan of just lemon-juice-in-water first thing in the morning (that’s my inner naturopath for you), but it’s 2 degrees or less in Canberra when we get up at the moment so something rather more warming is called for, and ginger tea hits the spot.

Ginger is a very therapeutic herb, whether as tea or as part of the diet. It reduces nausea, soothes the digestion, warms the stomach (promoting better digestion that way as well), and improves circulation to all parts of the body, particularly the hands and feet. It also appears to have strong benefits for the other parts of the circulatory system, helping to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as being anti-inflammatory.

Ginger tea is a funny thing for me, though. It has to be plain, or combined only with other spices – I cannot bear it mixed with lemongrass, which is a very common combination and it is almost impossible to find ginger tea bags that are unadulterated with lemongrass. (Don’t get me wrong; lemongrass is delicious on its own or with other citrusy-flavoured herbs, but add it in with ginger and it makes me sick. I believe I am rather unique in this respect.)

Fortunately, at the health food shop where I used to work in Melbourne, Health Reflections ‘Just Ginger’ tea bags are available (this is one case where I prefer tea bags, as I think dried ginger makes better-tasting tea than fresh, but the powdered stuff you use for cooking is too fine to be much use). I bought myself a couple of packets in the early stages of my pregnancy, during a trip back to Melbourne, to help with the nausea – ironically, as it turned out, the very idea of ginger tea made me even MORE nauseous, so I never drank any (should’ve got the capsules instead). However, I’m super-glad that I had it on hand because it has been terrific for helping with my cold.

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