The Project Rheum

Healthy with Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Health Benefits of Ginger and Doing Nothing

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Even though spring is here and everything outside seems to be coming alive with new energy, the pain in my left hip has stopped me in my tracks. I had hoped to walk to the beach today with our dog Lola where she could run along the shore with her face to the sun chasing a stick. I love to watch Lola run, an effortless movement where all her muscles engage to push her forward in leaps and bounds. It seems as if her body is so finely built for this very reason.

But for now I’ll have to listen to my own body and hold back on our plans. For now Lola’s leash will remain in its place, hanging on the coat rack in the hallway. I have guilt when I deprive her of exercise, even though it doesn’t look like she minds. I think dogs and children are very forgiving this way. “Soon,” I tell Lola as she makes herself comfortable at my feet in the living room. She is forever my patient companion.

In recent years I may have cried over such forced stagnation and all that it implied. But today there won’t be any tears as I’m okay with the stillness that RA sometimes demands of me. It’s okay to do nothing. Nothing, what? Society has certainly lost touch with the notion of nothingness, don’t you think? But to keep life in balance it’s essential that we while away an afternoon or two (or more) every so often. After all, healing takes time and a certain amount of tranquility where there’s no pressing commitments, no deadlines, no rushing around. Just peace.

I’m giving myself permission today to stay inside and do what I can to look after myself and to help ease my pain. I’ll rest, sleep, take an Epsom salt bath, and use both hot and cold packs for my hip. And of course I’ll make homemade tea with ginger, a squeeze of lemon, and a drop of honey. It’s my go-to staple for times like these.

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Do you know that ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory? The special compounds contained in ginger known as gingerols provide relief for many people with muscular discomfort, pain, and/or swelling, especially symptoms associated with arthritis. Ginger has also been known over the centuries to alleviate gastrointestinal distress by soothing and relaxing the stomach and relieving nausea.

Today as I’m sipping my tea, I’ll reach out to family and friends to talk about everything and anything other than my own health. Distraction is sometimes the best medicine. Who knows, maybe I’ll hear a knock on my door and someone I adore will be there holding in her hands something bright and colourful, just like spring.

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Homemade Ginger Tea

¼ cup fresh ginger, peeled (unless organic) and thinly sliced
3 cups filtered water
Fresh lemon juice, a squeeze or two
Raw honey to taste

Let the water with sliced ginger come to a boil then turn down to simmer for 15 minutes. Take the water/ginger mix off the heat and let stand to cool for 5 minutes, then disregard the ginger slices. Pour into your favourite cup and add a splash of lemon and raw honey to taste. Drink when cooled to your liking.

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Health Benefits of:

Ginger: Besides being a concentrated source of heart-healthy magnesium, vitamin B6, potassium, and free-radical scavenging manganese and copper, Ginger provides powerful anti-inflammatory protection.

Raw Honey: This unrefined source of sweetness is packed with natural antibiotic, antifungal and antiyeast compounds, plus enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and plant antioxidants. The peroxide content in raw honey is beneficial in healing ulcers.

Lemons: An excellent source of Vitamin C, lemons help protect our bodies against the oxidative damage caused by free-radicals. Although they’re an acidic food, they have the effect of increasing the pH balance in the body.

Cheers to doing nothing when our bodies need it and hooray to never feeling guilty about it!

In Health,

Zuzu

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