Also called candied ginger, crystallized ginger is made from sugar, water, and ginger root. Crystallized ginger can be made at home or bought in the spice section of most grocery stores. It is used for cooking, as a healthy snack, or as an herbal remedy. When used as an herbal remedy, ginger most often treats many varieties of upset stomach, but also has anti-inflammatory and anti-biotic properties.
Although any kind of ginger works for medicinal uses, crystallized ginger may be an appealing alternative because it tastes sweeter than raw ginger. Ginger is a hard, light tan root native to Asia. It naturally has a sweetly spicy taste and a very distinctive aroma.
Creating crystallized ginger is just a matter of simmering small cubes of ginger root in sugar and water, then tossing with more sugar until the cooked ginger is coated. Once dry, the candied ginger is ready to eat. Crystallized ginger is usually chewed, and a ¼ ounce (7 gram) piece is the general desired dosage when using crystallized ginger as a herbal remedy.
Ginger relieves many types of upset stomach, from general nausea to motion sickness. It also has been shown to reduce morning sickness and to help nausea in chemotherapy patients. The reason that ginger helps to treat stomach troubles is because it works to remove intestinal gas which causes the upset.
Additionally, ginger may have anti-oxidant properties. It also may help sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis, since it acts as an anti-inflammatory. Some studies have shown it works as well as many prescription non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications but lacks the usual side effects.
As with any herbal remedy, ginger may take up to two months for the user to begin to see results. A doctor should always be consulted when taking an herbal remedy just as with taking a prescription. Too much ginger can result in bile being released from the gall bladder, causing irritation. Additionally, ginger can thin the blood, so clotting can become an issue.
Pregnant women are especially encouraged to consult their doctors when taking ginger for morning sickness. It is generally recommended they do not take any type of ginger supplements for an extended period — possibly not longer than four days. Since ginger is just an herb, it does not go through the same FDA testing or approval as manufactured medications do. This lack of testing means that the effects of many herbs, such as ginger, on unborn fetuses is unknown.