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Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

What is Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)?

Fresh Ginger (sheng jiang, 生姜) is the fresh rhizome and roots of the perennial herbaceous plant Zingiber officinale Rosc. that belongs to the family Zingiberaceae. Fresh Ginger has a potent, perspiration-inducing action that helps cleanse toxins from the body.  It is commonly found in detoxing programs as it can stimulate digestion and promote circulation and sweating.

Many cultures have benefited from using this herb. For example, ancient Egyptians believed that Ginger is a diluter, desiccator and emollient for treating sore throats. During the Middle Ages, Ginger was often traded at high prices on the SIlk Road. In Ayurvedic Medicine, Fresh Ginger was used to treat pain, arthritis and blood platelet clumping.

In Chinese culture, Ginger is a symbol of good health and longevity. It is also often found in Korean New Year beverages and candies served in the ‘Tray of Togetherness’. Ginger is also often used with honey to help mask the flavour of other herbs that are either very bitter or distasteful.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Fresh Ginger falls under the category of ‘Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior’. Such herbs release the Exterior to treat early stages of diseases that affect the upper respiratory tract, eyes, ears, nose, throat or skin. It is believed that these herbs can induce sweating by increasing the flow of sweat to our capillary pores, which then expel the disease from the body and prevent it from invading further.

Warm in nature, Fresh Ginger can help individuals with too much Cold in their body, such as those experiencing a Yin Excess or a Yang Deficiency, to restore a harmonious yin-yang balance. Pungent in taste, Fresh Ginger can help to promote the circulations of qi and body fluids. In particular, Fresh Ginger targets the Lungs, the Spleen and the stomach.

Functions and Benefits of Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Fresh Ginger has the following health benefits.

Fresh Ginger can disperse Wind-Cold from the body, and it has a mild effect in promoting sweating and releasing the Exterior. The herb can be used singly or decocted with shallot and brown sugar to relieve Wind-Cold syndromes. More often than not, Fresh Ginger is used as a supplementary herb and can be combined with other Exterior-releasing herbs to strengthen its effects in promoting sweating.

As Fresh Ginger can warm the middle energizer and expel Cold, the herb can treat symptoms caused by the invasion of Cold in the middle energizer. For example, Fresh Ginger can help to relieve poor appetite, stomachache, pain and vomiting due to Deficiency and Cold in the Spleen or Stomach. In fact, it is often regarded as one of the best choices in treating vomiting. 

Because of its Lung-warming and cough-relieving effects, Fresh Ginger is also used to treat diseases caused by External Wind-Cold, such as cough caused by External Wind-Cold. In the case of cough with profuse phlegm without external pathogens, Fresh Ginger can be combined with other phlegm-resolving and cough-relieving herbs such as Tangerine Peel (Ju Pi) to enhance its effectiveness.

In addition, Fresh Ginger can reduce the toxic effects of unprocessed Pinellia ternata (ban xia) and food poisoning caused by fish and crab. Many people also use ginger to help recover from a cold or flu, as it is believed to support one’s immune system.

Modern studies have suggested that Fresh Ginger can help to reduce gas, improve digestion and prevent constipation. Research has also shown that Ginger may help to alleviate morning sickness and relieve nausea following cancer treatment. Some studies have suggested that Fresh Ginger may help to ease pain through anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of its gingerol compounds, which include antioxidant properties and reduce inflammatory enzymes. In particular, the herb is especially useful in relieving menstrual cramps and arthritis-based conditions. 

There is also some evidence that Ginger extract may prevent cardiovascular diseases. It may help to prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and fatty liver disease, among other chronic conditions. The American Cancer Society also promoted ginger as a treatment to prevent cancer tumours from developing.

Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)
Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) can ease early symptoms of influenza.

How to Use Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

The recommended daily dosage of Fresh Ginger is 3 – 10g, when used as a decoction. In the case of sudden syncope, a heavier dose of 10 – 20g should be used to make Fresh Ginger juice. 

As Fresh Ginger juice is good at relieving vomiting and acting as first-aid for syncope, in the case of serious vomiting and syncope, you can take it with water or drop 3 – 10 drops of it into the nose. To warm one’s middle energizer to relieve vomiting, Fresh Ginger can also be used in its roasted form. 

Ginger is also a popular ingredient that is used in dishes. For example, pickled ginger is served with Japanese sushi dishes to counteract any potential toxicity from eating raw fish. The creation of the soft drink Ginger ale actually sprang from the folklore tradition of using Ginger to treat upset stomachs. Fresh Ginger is also often used to make Fresh Ginger Tea.

Fresh Ginger can be found in many supermarkets and grocery stores. Fresh Ginger supplements can also be found in herbal stores and Asian specialty markets.

Cautions and Side Effects of Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Fresh Ginger should not be used by individuals experiencing spontaneous sweating, excess Heat in Lungs, Stomach Heat with vomiting or Yin Deficiency with Heat signs. It is also not advisable for those who keep frequent late nights to take Fresh Ginger.

Do note that Fresh Ginger should not be used together with the blood-thinning drug Warfarin as it may enhance the risk of bleeding. Consuming too much Fresh Ginger may cause nausea and gastric reflux too.

Some side effects associated with the consumption of Fresh Ginger include diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, heartburn and irritation in one’s mouth and throat. We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Fresh Ginger to your healthcare routine!


Here is a summary for Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang):

  • Herb name (Chinese): 生姜
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): shēng jiāng
  • Herb name (English): Fresh Ginger
  • Herb name (Botanical): Rhizoma Zingerberis Recens
  • Origin of species: Zingiber officinale Rosc.
  • Part(s) of herb used: Rhizome
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): All parts of China
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Pungent; Warm; Administrates the Lung, Spleen and Stomach Meridians
  • Actions: Eases early symptoms of influenza or related respiratory ailments; Eases nausea or vomiting symptoms, and coughs with clear or watery oral discharge

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