Ginger (zingiber officinale) is reported to have arrived in Mexico first in Cuernavaca with the Spanish in the 1500s. Cultivation commenced and ginger exports back to Europe began shortly thereafter. Mexico remains one of the top 30 ginger exporters in the world. Ginger is known as jengibre in my area of Mexico but it is also called ajenjibre in other areas and has a variant spelling of jenjibre.
Jengibre is most often used for gastrointestinal complaints in Mexico. A pinch of powdered root in your cup of yerba buena (spearmint) or manzanilla (chamomile) will help with nausea. This anti-queasy effect occurs because ginger’s active principles work directly on the intestinal tract by stimulating saliva production, digestion activity and food absorption thereby relieving nausea, constipation and flatulence. Along the same lines, ginger improves kidney function and lowers blood glucose.
Ginger is also effective as an anti-inflammatory compound, a warming agent, a pain remedy, antidepressant and useful in lowering cholesterol. Ginger has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It works as a warming agent by improving blood circulation through stimulating the heart muscle and diluting the blood. It is also effective in treating migraine headaches.
When we all had a particularly bad case of a dry cough that lingered earlier this year, we found that ginger works well as a natural cough suppressant. That anti-inflammatory action mentioned earlier relaxes membranes in the airways, reducing the cough reflex. To brew yourself some ginger tea, add 20 to 40 grams of fresh ginger root slices to hot water and sweeten with honey (another natural cough suppressant).
Curious about other Mexican herbal remedies?