The amazing properties of ginger! I've been a remedial therapist for many years, and this sweet and humble root has my deepest respect. Yes, I make ginger tea - for topical applications. Kim has covered the benefits of drinking this illustrious conconction (and yes, you may burp out some unnecessary gasses), and I'm here to follow up with a simple remedy using warm, moist ginger compresses that not only help relieve pain from arthritis and sciatica etc, but actually keep my clients away for months!
A story first ... last year, a friend rang to tell me her husband couldn't get out of bed (sciatic nerve screaming). Being too busy to drive the three hours to their farm, I suggested the Ginger Treatment. She rang an hour later to tell me he was busy out in the garden. He had suffered chronic pain for years, I haven't heard back for months, and knowing her, she's probably out there with her tea and face cloth and wheatbag getting a few other husbands in working order. My Ma is happy with her W.O. hubby - his hands started freezing up and numbing out and tingling - we did the ginger thing ... and found a big knot in his back that needed de-crumpling ...
Best to keep the ginger root sealed in a container in the freezer. Don't peel it. Easy to grate a huge, heaped tablespoon into a china bowl (put the ginger root straight back into the freezer), and put a plate on top and let it infuse for 15-20 minutes. When the water is bearable heat, soak a face cloth in it(I leave the ginger bits in), and put a wheat bag in the microwave for 2-3 minutes (or make a hot water bottle). Wring out the face cloth, place it on offending pain, and wrap the bag/bottle in a hand towel and sit it on top for 20 minutes maximum. The remaining tea will last in a sealed glass jar for a week in the fridge.
Ginger is an extraordinary anti-inflammatory, as well as a 'blood warmer'. I also use ginger oil in my massage conconctions - it loves mixing with rosemary oil too.
As far as arthritic conditions are concerned, I like to use this compress after moxibustion/before massage. This is a technique using a 'moxa stick': a big cigar of Chinese herbs (mainly artemis vulgaris) that stimulates acupressure points and acts as an anti-inflammatory as well. Add some loving hands and a soothing voice ... (I should have called this How To Lose Happy Clients).