Ginger is one of the most important herbs in the Chinese pharmacopeia. It has magical results for any abdominal cramps. Drinking a large hot cup when you’re chilled warms the interior, taking away the chill in winter. If made strong and served hot it will make you sweat and prevent you from getting sick after a chill. It’s great for nausea and digestion, but it can increase acid reflux. It works better than medications to increase appetite, but if you’re dieting it can make you hungry.
Bring a quart or two of water to a boil and remove from the heat . Add an inch to an inch and a half of peeled, roughly grated ginger with some honey and let steep for five minutes or more. The longer it steeps, the more spicy it will be. Strain and serve hot.
Ginger tea is good chilled also, but needs to be served warm to be effective.
In the west we speak of herbal teas or decoctions to use herbs medicinally, but in China “prescriptions for tea” translate better as “recipes for soup.” Frequently these recipes, especially for debilitated people, start out by making bone broth, then adding the correct vegetables, and lastly the appropriate herbs for the patient’s illness. Bone broth has the advantage of being nutrient rich while being easy to digest and comforting. All bone broths are made by adding vinegar to the broth and boiling the bones for at least five to six hours which leaches all of the nutrients out of the bones and meat. It’s a lot of work, but so satisfying and comforting and nutrient rich that for me it’s worth the work.
Cover two cut up chickens in a large stock pot -about two quarts of water. Add 1/4 cup apple cider or rice vinegar, a large peeled, quartered onion, a handful of garlic cloves, carrots broken up by hand, and bay leafs. You can also add celery or fennel if you like. Cover and bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for at least six hours. Let cool and strain, discarding everything solid. Do not skim the fat -it’s good for you. You should have about a half gallon of gelatinous broth. I just add tamari sauce and scallions when I re-heat it, as a low calorie diet strategy, but you could add anything you like to turn it into a real meal - noodles, baked sweet potato, greens, ginger etc.