Friday, June 10, 2011

30 Days of Creativity - Day 10 Herbal Concoction: Ginger Syrup

I haven't featured one of my herbal concoctions here in a while...

I love ginger.  Not only is it delicious, but it's also an amazingly beneficial herb.  Ginger is antibacterial, an antiviral, a circulatory stimulate, anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, antiemetic, antifungal, anti-clotting, carminative, antiarthritic, analgesic and antitussive.  Ginger is active against several food-borne pathogens, including E. coli, salmonella and shigella.  It helps us feel warm when we're chilled and will help prevent colds and flu.  It helps with coughs, is an expectorant, and helps with respiratory infections.  Ginger relieves pain, stimulates immune activity, reduces inflammation and stimulates sweating (which is how it helps with fever).  It's been known to help topically with burns as well as arthritis relief.  Internally it destroys parasites, stimulates white blood cells, aids digestions, helps with gas, and more.  I personally love to use ginger to prevent motion sickness.

All of the amazing attributes of ginger aside, I simply love the taste and wanted to make my own ginger ale.  A while ago, I used a recipe from Aquarian Bath and loved it.  I decided to try something a little different this time. I have a soda maker from Sodastream, which is really just a system of getting carbonated water, and use it all the time.  You can buy syrups for it that taste like commercially sold sodas, are less expensive, and have lower calories.  My brainstorm was to make my own syrup!

I decocted a cup of chopped ginger root in two cups of water and let it sit overnight.  
Ginger Decocting

In the past, I've used sugar to make my syrups but I thought I'd give honey a go this time to increase the medicinal benefits of the syrup.  After straining the ginger decoction and returning it to the pot, I added a cup of honey and simmered for 5 minutes.  
Honey and Ginger Decoction Simmering

I let it cool and then put it in an air tight bottle and stored it in the fridge.  
Ginger Syrup

1-2 tablespoon of syrup per cup should be all you need; garnish with mint sprigs and/or lemon.  By the way, if you don't have a soda machine, just use club soda or seltzer.  Enjoy!
Ginger Ale

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