Plantidote of the Day 2012-12-19, Plus Bonus Cold Remedy!
Next time you feel like you're coming down with something, you might want to try a Hot Ginger Not-a-Toddy. Chop up about 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger. Put it in a cup, add the juice from a big wedge of lemon, and a spoonful of honey. Fill the cup with hot water. (You may want to add whiskey and make a real toddy, but I don't know if that has the same cold-killing effect, so you're on your own.) Drink a few of these throughout the day. I haven't had a cold or flu for years thanks to ginger. (Could it be a placebo effect? Sure. Do I care? Heck, no -- it works, that's all that matters.)
Here's another cool thing you can do with ginger -- grow it! Buy a fresh root at the store in spring. Ideally, the piece you use for a plant should be at least 2" long. Let the cut end dry, then tuck it into a pot with good quality potting soil. It will sprout small buds that turn into stems with green leaves (see below). Or you can place one end of a fresh ginger root in a glass of water; in a week or so you'll notice little "buds" starting to develop above the water line. At that point, you can transplant the entire root to soil. Water sparingly until the buds turn into stems, then water regularly and feed once per month. Here's a picture of an approximately 2-month-old ginger plant I grew this way.
Ginger goes dormant in winter, but in summer your plant may produce small purple flowers. Just one more reason to love this it!