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 feel chilled warms the interior, and can prevent you from getting sick. Make it strong enough and hot enough to make you sweat. 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 tastes great chilled also, but should be served hot 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. Bone broths build up our deeper energy protecting our brain and nervous systems in times of crisis.
Cover two cut up chickens in a large stock pot. Add 1/4 cup apple cider or rice vinegar, a large quartered onion (no need to peel), a handful of garlic cloves, two carrots broken up by hand, and sage or bay leafs. You can also add celery or fennel if you like. Cover with about 2 quarts of water or about 3 inches above the ingredients.Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for at least 6- 8 hours. Let cool and strain in a colander, discarding everything solid. Do not skim the fat -it’s good for your brain and nervous system. You should have about a half gallon of rich, comforting, gelatinous broth. I just add salt or 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.
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