Ginger Root
Ginger: The Spice of Life

Ginger  Zingiber officinale; Zingiberaceae (Ginger family) 

Remarkably well-known, people use ginger around the globe for adding a spicy flavor to dishes and as a medicinal remedy for many ailments. Here at Lake Missoula Tea Company, we revere ginger and its medicinal properties. We incorporate it in many of our small batch tea blends. Learn more about this popular plant, its medicinal uses, and our favorite tea blends that include ginger!


Known for its bulbous appearance, ginger “root” is actually a rhizome, a continually growing underground stem. The ginger family (Zingiberaceae) also includes turmeric, cardamom, and galangal. Galangal is another rhizome often referred to as “Thai ginger” because of its similarities to true ginger. There are nearly 1600 species in this family, widely cultivated in South Asia and throughout tropical Africa, Asia and the Americas. Primary countries that cultivate ginger include Nigeria, India, Thailand, and Indonesia. 

Ginger is a tropical plant that rarely blooms. Instead, it produces green, reedy stalks 3-4 feet tall with wide leaves. Growing, harvesting and storing ginger has a huge influence on its flavor. As such, cultivators grow several dozens of varieties for the spice trade, each with their own distinct reputations.

Historical View

Due to its spicy nature, people have used ginger medicinally for thousands of years. In cultures using Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are records incorporating medicinal uses of ginger as early as 2000 BCE. In Ayurveda (a whole-body, natural system of medicine), ginger is regarded highly as it works on all tissues of the body, but primarily the digestive and respiratory systems. Because of its wide-reaching potency, it was called vishwabhesaj, “the universal medicine.” Ginger infusions were the base of the widely popular Chai tea and were adopted for medicinal use in Europe after arriving via the earliest trading routes (along with nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon). Beer brewers have used ginger to flavor beer since the Middle Ages. It also adds heat and spiciness to herbal liqueurs, bitters, and vermouth. Eaten as a food, ginger promotes digestive and general health. 

Medicinal Uses

Ginger’s taste is pungent, to say the least! Energetics of this plant are warming and drying, and as such, ginger supports gastrointestinal function, reduces inflammation, and aids circulation. It is also useful for nausea, motion sickness, heartburn, bloating, dyspepsia, constipation, and colic. Ginger breaks down blood clots, and may help prevent heart attacks. Dried ginger root powder is significantly more warming than fresh juice. Dried ginger powder, rehydrated into a paste, is a good external plaster for pain and headaches. For muscle or joint injury, add ginger powder to the bath with baking soda and Epsom salt.

Fresh ginger is a potent antiviral and antibacterial. It is helpful for treating influenza, the common cold, and both bacterial and viral gastroenteritis. For those wishing to use herbal sources, ginger is a good domestic remedy for the common cough, cold, and breathlessness. To create a powerful healing drink, mix 4 oz fresh ginger juice with equal parts hot water. Add honey and lemon to taste, and drink up to 3 times per day. You can freeze the fresh juice in ice cube trays for later use.

One area where consumers of ginger should be wary is when they have intense stomach issues. Ginger promotes the production of bile, so people with gallstones or ulcers should use ginger cautiously.

Tea Blends Featuring Ginger

We LOVE adding ginger to our tea blends! We use it for its fun spicy pop of flavor and medicinal qualities. One of our blends featuring this rhizome is Spicy Ginger Snap. This tea is perfect for ginger lovers of all kinds, and is a great base to create a cold-busting remedy of your own. Our Jurassic Ginger Green and Ginger Orange Puerh are caffeinated blends that promote digestion and anti-nausea, while our Zen Cleanse and Joint Peace herbal blends utilize ginger for its cleansing properties. Last but not least, our popular Sunshine Daydream black tea is a ginger peach blend, formulated simply for good taste and a zesty ginger zing of afternoon fun! 

Read more herbalism blogs by Greta de la Montagne here on our blog page, and watch for new quarterly herbalism blogs. 

Written by: Greta de la Montagne

Edited by: Boo Curry & Heather Kreilick

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

136 E Broadway St, Missoula
Judy Hogg
Best store in Montana possibly in all of the United States. I don't know. This is the first Gong Fu tea shop I've ever been to. I came in for a matcha whisk because I donated mine to a museum. Before I left a random customer who was introduced to me as a regular bought me tea. I hugged him which isn't something I normally do. But I was incredibly thankful. Then the man behind the counter gave me a free sample. I went in looking for a simple tool and left with tea and a happy spirit. I am looking forward to making it back as soon as possible! I loved it. I think it will always hold a special place in my blood pumping organ.
Sari Barnes
This atmosphere of this shop is so wonderfully cozy and pleasant. The menu has such a nice selection of to-go options and the loose teas to purchase for home brewing are phenomenal and in vast selection. The service was quick and friendly. I came here with my family and we bought many of the different teas to try, as well as some to-go teas. My sister and I really enjoyed their house Chai. It was the perfect amount of spice and tea, like a spicy hug for your soul. I will be recommending this shop to others in the future.
Brooke Blackler
I've been going to Lake Missoula Tea Company for years, and recently have had the privilege of putting some of their tea in my store. The quality of the tea is fantastic, and the blends are delightful. I have also attended one of their tasting / learning events and it was great. I highly recommend their downtown store for meeting with friends, family or even just for a nice place to go and have a cup of perfectly brewed tea.
Tim Specht
Amazing variety great prices and they'll brew top shelf teas you may be reluctant to buy before trying for a dollar more. Great selection for Missoula. Friendly knowledgeable staff and beautiful tea sets and accessories
Ashley Nelson
The atmosphere was so relaxing and pleasant I could stay there all day! The staff are super helpful and polite and helped me with all my questions (not to mention some helpful tips from patrons as well). The tea they have is top notch and all the selection you could ask for